This chapter is a sordid tale of lust and rape between David’s children that sets the stage for the coming chapters dealing with Absalom’s rebellion against Second king of Israel, David united the northern and southern kingdoms. More.
While we might assume Amnon and Tamar are the protagonists here, the Hebrew text subordinates them to The son of King David who tried to usurp David's throne. More, literally: “Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister named Tamar, and Amnon, David’s son, loved her” (v. 1). The same form of Absalom’s name (the form recognizable only in Hebrew) closes chapter 14 (14:39), providing an overall Inclusio is a literary device in which a writer places similar material at the beginning and ending of a work or section of a work. For example, Mark's gospel contains an inclusio in which Jesus is recognized (at his baptism and crucifixion) as God's Son. More for these two chapters that set the stage for chapters 15-20, “Absalom’s Rebellion.” Nevertheless, Amnon and Tamar have their parts to play in this sordid tale of rape.
- Amnon, obsessed with lust, not his purported “love” of Tamar, lets his lust rule his reason, as had his father with Wife of David and mother of Solomon. More. He plots his sexual encounter by feigning illness and enlisting the unwitting cooperation of his hapless father. He eventually forces himself upon his half-sister.
- Tamar, unlike the silent Bathsheba, argues her case, proposes alternatives, and clearly refuses (“do not”) Amnon’s advances–all to no avail.
- David, displaying his weakness as a father, fails to discipline Amnon and leaves Tamar alone, without consolation, in dust and ashes, tearing the long robe that signified her virginity, and placing her hands on her head, signifying her grief or rejection (compare Prophet who condemned Judah's infidelity to God, warned of Babylonian conquest, and promised a new covenant More 2:37).
- Absalom, however, provided some consolation for his sister as he quietly seethed because of Amnon. In the next story, Absalom’s hatred will blossom into the murder of his half-brother, just as David had plotted the murder of One of King David's military heroes and the husband of Bathsheba More.