Who was Amnon in the Bible?


By BibleAsk Team


Amnon was King David’s firstborn son. His mother was Ahinoam. He was an immoral son. The Bible tells us that he lusted after his beautiful half-sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:1) but it was improper for him to do anything to her (verse 2). Unfortunately, Jonadab, his crafty friend, advised him to pretend to be sick. And when the king would go to see him, Amnon would ask that Tamar would visit him and prepare a meal for him.

So, King David consented and asked Tamar to go to visit her brother. Tamar went to her brother and baked cakes for him, but he refused to eat. Then, he took hold of her and asked her to lie with him (2 Samuel 13:11). Tamar first tried to reason with him, speaking of the sinfulness of such an act and of its folly (verse 12). Then she tried to bring her brother to his senses by pointing out that by doing such an act he would disgrace her for life.

But Amnon was selfish, lustful, and decided to have his own way regardless of the outcome. The requirements of God, the purity of his sister, and the dignity of his own name meant nothing to him. For these characteristics, David was in part to blame. He didn’t raise his children with discipline when they did wrong and allowed them to have their own way. Now they were beyond restraint.

After the rape, Amnon kicked his sister out if his quarters (1 Samuel 13: 15). In grief, Tamar put ashes on her head and tore her robe of many colors and went away crying bitterly (1 Samuel 13:19). Thus, she prevented Amnon from making up a story that she had been guilty toward him and for this reason she had been expelled from his presence. Tamar was clearly honest. Had she kept quiet, she might have been considered a party to the crime.

Then, Absalom, her brother, comforted her, and she stayed in his house. When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. But it seemed because he remembered his own sin with Bathsheba, he failed to see that justice must be carried out. Consequently, he manifested toward his children a leniency that encouraged their misbehavior.

His Death

After two years, Absalom intending revenge against Amnon, planned a celebration at the time of the sheepshearers in Baal Hazor and he invited all the king’s sons. And he obtained the king’s consent for that. At the feast, Absalom ordered his servants to kill Amnon when he got drunk (1 Samuel 13: 29). When the sons of the king saw that their brother was killed, they fled. And a false report reached the king that all of his children had been killed. So, King David was struck with grief and tore his cloths (verse 31).

But Jonadab told the king that it was only Amnon that was killed for his sin towards Tamar. Then, Absalom fled to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshu, to escape punishment (1 Samuel 13: 37). After several years, King David and Absalom reconciled (2 Samuel 14). But when Absalom, in pride and deceit, tried to seize the throne from his father, Joab, David’s high commander, killed him (2 Samuel 18:14).

King David mourned the death of Absalom greatly (1 Samuel 18:33) for he felt responsible for the course of actions that had led to this terrible tragedy. Absalom had murdered his brother after Amnon had violated his sister, Tamar, and now he in turn was killed in battle against his own father. All this followed in natural consequence of David’s sin.

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