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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 13

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

The history here, down to the end of 2 Samuel 23:0 (excepting a few particulars), is omitted in the Book of Chronicles.

Verse 3

Shimeah - Called Shamma (marginal reference), was Jesse’s third son.

Subtil - literally, wise. The word is generally used in a good sense, but here, and in Job 5:13, it means crafty.

Verse 5

Make thyself sick - “Feign thyself to be ill.” (Compare 2 Samuel 14:2.)

That I may see it - He was to feign that he could not fancy anything that came from the kitchen, but that if he saw it cooked he should be able to eat it.

Verses 6-9

Make me cakes ... a pan - The words here used occur nowhere else, and the etymology is doubtful. Some particular kind of cake or pudding is meant 2 Samuel 13:8, called a לביבה lābı̂ybâh; according to some, it was, from its etymology, shaped like a heart.

2 Samuel 13:9

The dish into which she poured the לביבה lābı̂ybâh was doubtless borne to him by one of the servants into the chamber where he lay, and from which, the doors being open, he could see the outer room where Tamar prepared the meat.

Verse 12

Tamar’s words are a verbal quotation from Genesis 34:7. The natural inference is that Tamar knew the passage in Genesis, and wished to profit by the warning that it contained. (Compare also 2 Samuel 13:13.)

Verse 13

My shame - Better, “my reproach.” Compare Genesis 30:23; Gen 34:14; 1 Samuel 11:2.

Speak unto the king ... - It cannot be inferred with certainty from this that marriages were usual among half brothers and sisters in the time of David. The Levitical law forbade them (marginal reference), and Tamar may have merely wished to temporize. On the other hand, the debasing and unhumanizing institution of the harem, itself contrary to the law of Moses Deuteronomy 17:17, may well have led to other deviations from its precepts, and the precedent of Abraham Genesis 20:12 may have seemed to give some sanction to this particular breach of it.

Verse 16

The sense of the passage probably is, “And she spake with him on account of this great wrong in sending me away, greater than the other wrong which thou hast done me (said she), but he hearkened not unto her.” The Hebrew text is probably corrupt, and the writer blends Tamar’s words with his own narrative.

Verse 18

A garment of divers colors - See Genesis 37:3. Some prefer here (and there) “a tunic with sleeves,” a tunic reaching to the extremities, i. e. the hands and feet, and worn over the common tunic, in room of a robe.

Verse 19

Laid her hand on her head - To hold on the ashes (see the marginal references).

Went on crying - i. e. “went away, crying out as she went.”

Verse 21

The Septuagint adds, what is a good explanation, “but he did not vex the spirit of Amnon his son, because he loved him, because he was his first-born.” This want of justice in David’s conduct, and favoritism to Amnon, probably rankled in Absalom’s heart, and was the first seed of his after rebellion.

Verse 23

Sheepshearing was always a time of feasting (marginal references). Baal-hazor is not known.

Verse 26

He mentions Amnon as being the king’s first-born. If he could not have the king’s company, let him at least have that of the heir apparent, and the king’s other sons.

Verse 29

Upon his mule - So in 1 Kings 1:33, 1 Kings 1:38 the mule is the royal animal on which David himself rides. In 2 Samuel 18:9 Absalom rides upon a mule.

Verse 32

The history supplies another (compare 2 Samuel 13:3) instance of Jonadab’s subtlety and sagacity. He at once gave the true explanation of the catastrophe at Baal-hazor, in spite of the false rumour.

By the appointment of Absalom ... - Meaning that Absalom’s resolution to slay Amnon had been formed at the time, and only waited an opportunity to give expression to it.

Verse 34

Absalom fled - This is the sequel to 2 Samuel 13:29. The king’s sons rose from table and fled, and Absalom taking advantage of the confusion, also escaped and fled. This information is inserted here to account for the king’s sons returning unmolested.

Verse 35

The watchman, as his duty was, had sent immediate notice to the king that he saw a crowd approaching (see 2 Kings 9:17-20). Jonadab, who was with the king, was prompt to give the explanation.

Verse 37

See the marginal reference.

Ammihur (see the margin) is found as a Punic name.

Verse 39

Longed to go forth - Rather, “longed after Absalom,” literally, was consumed in going forth, with a sense of disappointed hope.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/2-samuel-13.html. 1870.
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