2 Samuel 13

Trouble In Camelot.

“When King David heard what had happened, he was very angry.” ­– 2 Samuel 13:21 NLT

Camelot was the famous, yet fictional kingdom of King Arthur and his court. It has come to symbolize hope for the future and an idyllic setting in which the just and kind king rules over his subjects. And in many ways, David’s reign has been cast in that light. If we are not careful, we can end up putting David on a pedestal and painting him as this perfect king who reigned wisely and flawlessly over the people of Israel. But there’s only one problem with that picture: the Bible. The Word of God gives us a graphic and sometimes shocking view of David and his life. And 2 Samuel gives us a glimpse of David that is both sad and disappointing. It reveals the character flaws of this man of God and shows us that even a man after God’s own heart can sometimes live his life in a way that is less-than-pleasing to God.

In this chapter, we read about events in the life of David and his family not long after the events of chapter 12 – where David had committed his sin with Bathsheba. If you recall, God had warned David that there would be consequences because of what he had done. Not only would he suffer personally, but so would his family.

“Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah and stolen his wife. From this time on, the sword will be a constant threat to your family, because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. Because of what you have done, I, the LORD, will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man, and he will go to bed with them in public view.” – 2 Samuel 12:9-11 NLT

In this chapter we have the sad story of Amnon, Absalom and Tamar. Amnon is David’s first-born son, born to David’s wife, Ahinoam. Absalom was David’s third-born son, born to his wife, Maacah. Tamar was Absalom’s sister. Recorded for us is a startling, black and white picture of lust, rape, and murder – all within David’s own household. Amnon lusted after his half-sister Tamar. In keeping with James 1, Amnon’s lust was not satisfied to remain lust. It craved to be fulfilled. “Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death” (James 1:14-15 NLT). Amnon’s evil desires produced evil actions, which resulted in death – his own.

As bad as the rape or Tamar and the murder of Amnon were, the saddest part of this story is the inaction of David. Sure, he got angry over what Amnon did, but he did nothing about it. He took no action. The penalty for rape was death, but David did nothing to punish Amnon. So Absalom was forced to take matters into his own hands. To avenge the rape and degradation of his sister, he plotted and carried out the murder of Amnon. And once again, other than mourn the death of his son, David did nothing. Absalom fled and David did not pursue him. He allowed him to leave and did not seek to bring him back for punishment. Once again, the penalty for Absalom’s actions should have been death. But David allowed him to escape and three years would go by before David would see his son Absalom again. David missed Absalom, but did not seek him out, either for punishment or restoration. He did nothing.

David’s world had been rocked. He had lost the baby born to Bathsheba as a result of their affair. His daughter Tamar had lost her virginity at the hands of her lust-filled half-brother. Amnon had lost his life at the hands of his revenge-filled brother. And David had lost control over his family. Things were falling apart fast and were about to get even worse. Much of this was the fulfillment of God’s words against David for his disobedience and disregard for God’s law. But David complicated matters by refusing to act. While he scores high points as a military leader and king, David has a less-than-stellar track record as a father. Maybe he was too busy building a kingdom and fighting battles. Maybe he was spread too thin, with too many wives, too many kids, and too may responsibilities. Whatever the cause, David’s inaction would result in continued heartache for himself, and confusion for his kingdom. When David needed to be strong, he was weak. When he needed to lead, he remained silent. When his family needed him most, he was nowhere to be found. Can this be said of some of us as dad’s today? May God give us the strength to take our role as fathers seriously. May we lead our families with integrity and guide our homes with Spirit-filled wisdom. May inaction never be our only reaction.

Father, too often it is too easy to do nothing. When difficulties come into my family, I can either find myself with no reaction at all or overreacting – getting angry or sad, but not doing what really needs to be done. Give me the strength to be the father You have called me to be. Help me do what You have called me to do – to lead my family with integrity, wisdom, love, and strength.  Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men