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John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible

Search This Resource
 Chapter 12
Chapter 14
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Chapter 13

Chapter Overview

Amnon ravishes Tamar, verse 1-20.
Absalom kills him, verse 21-29.
David mourns: Absalom flees to Geshur, verse 30-39.

Verse 1
A sister - His sister by father and mother.

Verse 2
A virgin - And therefore diligently kept, so he could not get private converse with her.

Verse 5
My sister - So he calls her, to prevent the suspicion of any dishonest design upon so near a relation. At her hand - Pretending, his stomach was so nice, that he could eat nothing but what he saw dressed, and that by a person whom he much esteemed.

Verse 9
Out - Out of the frying-pan into the dish.

Verse 10
Chamber - Amnon lying upon his couch in one chamber where the company were with him, where also she made the cakes before him, first sends all out of that room, and then rises from his couch, and, upon some pretence, goes into another secret chamber.

Verse 12
Brother - Whom nature both teaches to abhor such thoughts and obliges to defend me from such a mischief with thy utmost hazard, if another should attempt it. Force - Thou shouldst abhor it, if I were willing; but to add violence, is abominable. Israel - Among God's people who are taught better things; who also will be infinitely reproached for such a base action.

Verse 13
Shame - How can I either endure or avoid the shame? Fools - That is, contemptible to all the people, whereas now thou art heir apparent of the crown. Withhold - This she spoke, because she thought her royal father would dispense with it, upon this extraordinary occasion, to save his first-born son's life:

Verse 15
Hated her - By the just judgment of God both upon Amnon and David, that so the sin might be made publick, and way for the succeeding tragedies.

Verse 16
No cause - For me to go. Greater thou the other - This she might truly say, because though the other was in itself a greater sin, yet this was an act of greater cruelty, and a greater calamity to her because it exposed her to publick infamy and contempt, and besides, it turned a private offence into a publick scandal, to the great dishonour of God and of his people, and especially of all the royal family.

Verse 18
Garment - Of embroidered work.

Verse 19
Put ashes - To signify her grief for some calamity which had befallen her, and what that was, concurring circumstances easily discovered. Head - In token of grief and shame, as if she were unable and ashamed to shew her face. Crying - To manifest her abhorrency of the fact, and that it was not done by her consent.

Verse 20
Been with thee - Behold, and imitate the modesty of scripture expressions. Brother - Wherefore thou must forgive and forgot the injury; therefore thy disgracing of him will be a blot to us all; therefore thou wilt not get right from David against him, because he is as near and dear to him as thou; therefore thy dishonour is the less, because thou wast not abused by any mean person, but by a king's son; therefore this evil must be borne, because it cannot be revenged: and thus he covers his design of taking vengeance upon him at the first opportunity. Regard not - So as to torment thyself. Desolate - Through shame and dejection of mind, giving her self up to solitude and retirement.

Verse 21
Wroth - With Amnon: whom yet he did not punish, at least so severely as he should either from the consciousness of his own guilt in the like kind; or, from that foolish indulgence which he often shewed to his children.

Verse 22
Spake - That is, he said nothing at all to him, about that business. He neither debated it with him, nor threatened him for it; but seemed willing to pass it by with brotherly kindness. If he had wholly forborne all discourse with him, it would have raised jealousies in Amnon and David.

Verse 23
Two years - This circumstance of time is noted, as an aggravation of Absalom's malice, which was so implacable: and as an act of policy, that both Amnon and David might more securely comply with his desires.

Verse 26
Let Amnon - For the king designed (as the following words shew) to keep him at home with him, as being his eldest son, and heir of his kingdom: otherwise Absalom would never have made particular mention of him; which now he was forced to do. Nor did this desire of Amnon's presence want specious pretences, as that seeing the king would not, he who was next to him might, honour him with his company; and that this might be a publick token of friendship between him and his brother, notwithstanding the former occasion of difference.

Verse 27
Pressed him - It is strange that his urgent desire of Amnon's company raised no suspicion in so wise a king; but God suffered him to be blinded that he might execute his judgments upon David, and bring upon Amnon the just punishment of his lewdness.

Verse 28
Merry - When he least suspects, and will be most unable to prevent the evil. I - I who am the king's son, and, when Amnon is gone, his heir: who therefore shall easily obtain pardon for you, and will liberally reward you.

Verse 29
Commanded - Now the threatened sword is drawn in David's house, which will not depart from it. His eldest son falls by it, thro' his own wickedness, and his father by his connivance is accessory to it.

Verse 37
Talmai - His mother's father, that he might have present protection and sustenance from him; and that by his mediation he might obtain his father's pardon.

Verse 39
Go forth - And could not he recalled, to visit him, or to send for him. What amazing weakness was this! At first he could not find in his heart, to do justice to the ravisher of his sister! And now he can almost find in his heart to receive into favour the murderer of his brother? How can we excuse David from the sin of Eli; who honoured his sons more than God?

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible". <>. 1765.  


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