We see television programs that trick unsuspecting bystanders and are amused when someone else is “punked”.  Entrapment grabs modern sexual predators, and David too is caught by the prophet of God.

And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.  The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:  But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.  And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.  2 Samuel 12:1-4

The local news stations love to help citizens who have been cheated by shady contractors.  We are quick to be angry at the neglect or abuse of animals.  Nathan knows that David will be proactive in this case.

And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:  And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.  And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;  And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.  Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.  Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.  Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.  For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.  2 Samuel 12:5-12

David was living large in victory before this temptation brought him down.  How many men of God of our day have also fallen in the temptations of life?  I know some are good men who resist, but even they cannot be your perfect answer for everything.  God would not allow any man to take his place in your relationship with him.  No flesh can take his place, so you need to maintain your own prayer, study, and godly fellowship.  A wise pastor will send you to the source of the answers rather than give you his own answers.

And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.  Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.  And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.  2 Samuel 12:13-15

Even David proposed death for this transgressor, so how does he escape the death penalty?  The sins of the father are visited on the son though.  Many generations will reflect the sin here too, as we will see.  Public sin is a weapon that prevents the salvation of many.  The enemy has claimed a victory after the pattern of the temptations of Balaam.  Israel is destroyed by temptation and lust more than any enemy.

David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.  And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.  And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?  But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.  Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.  2 Samuel 12:16-20

David worshipped; he acknowledged the sovereignty of God and praised him for his decisions and for his mercy.  He didn’t go into hysteria, but sought God for some hope until the word of the prophet is confirmed.  David understands that God is merciful, but just.

Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.  And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?  But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.  2 Samuel 12:21-23

David is able to hold his faith enough to ask God to repent of his words against the child.  Now he returns to life seemingly unscathed by all this.  Is God a fair judge to allow him to do all this and just walk away? 

And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.  And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.  2 Samuel 12:24-25

God blesses David and Bathsheba with another son, and he is favored by God.  As God gave Jacob another name of Israel, so Solomon has another name also, being Jedidiah.  The name means “beloved of the Lord”.  Solomon will go on to become king, and to have power and fame.  God does show favoritism but he will also extract a price for sin.  Solomon’s wisdom will be tainted by the sins of David.  

And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.  And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters.  Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I take the city, and it be called after my name.  And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it.  And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.  And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.  2 Samuel 12:26-31

Outwardly David seems to prosper in spite of his transgression.  But the words of the prophet are already beginning to ferment into the bitter wine of sin and death among David’s family.


And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.  And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do anything to her.  But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.  And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.  2 Samuel 13:1-4

With so many wives, David has many half brothers and sisters.  One son lusts for his half sister, and his cousin encourages him to act on the sin.  And cousin Jonadab is subtle, like another spirit we met earlier;

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  Genesis 3:1

Indeed Jonadab shows Amnon how to eat of the forbidden fruit.

And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.  So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.  Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house, and dress him meat.  So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.  2 Samuel 13:5-8

Amnon is indeed one sick puppy, and the story follows the script so far.  When he starts changing the program things go bad in a hurry.

And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.  And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.  And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.  And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.  And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.  2 Samuel 13:9-13

Tamar suggests that Amnon could get permission for this foolishness from David.  She may have thought to escape the madness if he considered trying this.  I think he knows better, and still doesn’t give caution a chance.  As I write this, we are experiencing a thunderstorm here in Arizona.  The atmosphere is fitting for the direction brewing in this story of Israel.

Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.  Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.  And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.  Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.  2 Samuel 13:14-17

Amnon’s sin convicts him and now he hates the one he lusted after.  She is taking the blame for his misdeed, and cannot have compassion from anyone.  She is wounded and insulted in one stroke.  He has her forced out of the room.  She is not defenseless though.

And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.  And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.  And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.  2 Samuel 13:18-20

The beautiful garment of a virgin is torn and covered with ashes and tears.  Her brother is sure to notice that something is wrong.  It seems he noticed the interest of Amnon before too, and he identifies the problem quickly.  He tells her to forget about it, but he has his own plans.

But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.  And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.  2 Samuel 13:21-22

Under the Law Amnon should be killed, but David does not act against his oldest son.  David was angry, but Absalom was speechless.  He has ideas of enforcing the law himself, a vigilante.  Beware if your enemy has nothing to say, because he probably has something to do…when you don’t expect it.

And it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baalhazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king’s sons.  And Absalom came to the king, and said, Behold now, thy servant hath sheepshearers; let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants go with thy servant.  And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us not all now go, lest we be chargeable unto thee. And he pressed him: howbeit he would not go, but blessed him.  Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee?  But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.  2 Samuel 13:23-27

Absalom invites everyone to a party for the successful harvest of wool.  David doesn’t want to be indebted and begs off.  But he allows Amnon to join the party.  David wonders why Abasalom would want his old enemy, but misses the warning.

Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.  And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.  And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left.  Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent.  2 Samuel 13:28-31

Absalom gets his brother drunk, then has him slain.  The other brothers get out of Dodge on the express stage.  Still the story comes to David that all his sons were slain, not just Amnon.  Our subtle cousin speaks up.

And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.  Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.  But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came much people by the way of the hill side behind him.  And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king’s sons come: as thy servant said, so it is.   2 Samuel 13:32-35

The rest of the brothers are alive, but not happy with the event of the day.  Now it was time for Absalom to get out of Dodge. 

And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that, behold, the king’s sons came, and lifted up their voice and wept: and the king also and all his servants wept very sore.  But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day.  So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.  And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead. 2 Samuel 13:36-39

David mourned for his son; but it doesn’t specify which son.  It seems the fate of Amnon could have been expected as it was called for by the law.  In time David longed for Absalom, and the loss of Amnon faded from immediate grief.  This storm is not over though, and there will be more grief to come.