New English Translation
The Rape of Tamar
1 Now David's son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. In the course of time David's son Amnon fell madly in love with her. 2 But Amnon became frustrated because he was so lovesick over his sister Tamar. For she was a virgin, and to Amnon it seemed out of the question to do anything to her.
3 Now Amnon had a friend named Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah. Jonadab was a very crafty man. 4 He asked Amnon, "Why are you, the king's son, so depressed every morning? Can't you tell me?" So Amnon said to him, "I'm in love with Tamar the sister of my brother Absalom." 5 Jonadab replied to him, "Lie down on your bed and pretend to be sick. When your father comes in to see you, say to him, 'Please let my sister Tamar come in so she can fix some food for me. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I can watch. Then I will eat from her hand.'"
6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. When the king came in to see him, Amnon said to the king, "Please let my sister Tamar come in so she can make a couple of cakes in my sight. Then I will eat from her hand."
7 So David sent Tamar to the house saying, "Please go to the house of Amnon your brother and prepare some food for him." 8 So Tamar went to the house of Amnon her brother, who was lying down. She took the dough, kneaded it, made some cakes while he watched, and baked them. 9 But when she took the pan and set it before him, he refused to eat. Instead Amnon said, "Get everyone out of here!" So everyone left.
10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the cakes into the bedroom; then I will eat from your hand." So Tamar took the cakes that she had prepared and brought them to her brother Amnon in the bedroom. 11 As she brought them to him to eat, he grabbed her and said to her, "Come on! Get in bed with me, my sister!"
12 But she said to him, "No, my brother! Don't humiliate me! This just isn't done in Israel! Don't do this foolish thing! 13 How could I ever be rid of my humiliation? And you would be considered one of the fools in Israel! Just speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you." 14 But he refused to listen to her. He overpowered her and humiliated her by raping her. 15 Then Amnon greatly despised her. His disdain toward her surpassed the love he had previously felt toward her. Amnon said to her, "Get up and leave!"
16 But she said to him, "No I won't, for sending me away now would be worse than what you did to me earlier!" But he refused to listen to her. 17 He called his personal attendant and said to him, "Take this woman out of my sight and lock the door behind her!" 18 (Now she was wearing a long robe, for this is what the king's virgin daughters used to wear.) So Amnon's attendant removed her and bolted the door behind her. 19 Then Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went on her way, wailing as she went.
20 Her brother Absalom said to her, "Was Amnon your brother with you? Now be quiet, my sister. He is your brother. Don't take it so seriously!" Tamar, devastated, lived in the house of her brother Absalom.
21 Now King David heard about all these things and was very angry. 22 But Absalom said nothing to Amnon, either bad or good, yet Absalom hated Amnon because he had humiliated his sister Tamar.
Absalom Has Amnon Put to Death
23 Two years later Absalom's sheepshearers were in Baal Hazor, near Ephraim. Absalom invited all the king's sons. 24 Then Absalom went to the king and said, "My shearers have begun their work. Let the king and his servants go with me."
25 But the king said to Absalom, "No, my son. We shouldn't all go. We shouldn't burden you in that way." Though Absalom pressed him, the king was not willing to go. Instead, David blessed him.
26 Then Absalom said, "If you will not go, then let my brother Amnon go with us." The king replied to him, "Why should he go with you?" 27 But when Absalom pressed him, he sent Amnon and all the king's sons along with him.
28 Absalom instructed his servants, "Look! When Amnon is drunk and I say to you, 'Strike Amnon down,' kill him then and there. Don't fear! Is it not I who have given you these instructions? Be strong and courageous!" 29 So Absalom's servants did to Amnon exactly what Absalom had instructed. Then all the king's sons got up; each one rode away on his mule and fled.
30 While they were still on their way, the following report reached David: "Absalom has killed all the king's sons; not one of them is left!" 31 Then the king stood up and tore his garments and lay down on the ground. All his servants were standing there with torn garments as well.
32 Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah, said, "My LORD should not say, 'They have killed all the young men who are the king's sons.' For only Amnon is dead. This is what Absalom has talked about from the day that Amnon humiliated his sister Tamar. 33 Now don't let my LORD the king be concerned about the report that has come saying, 'All the king's sons are dead.' It is only Amnon who is dead."
34 In the meantime Absalom fled. When the servant who was the watchman looked up, he saw many people coming from the west on a road beside the hill. 35 Jonadab said to the king, "Look! The king's sons have come! It's just as I said!"
36 Just as he finished speaking, the king's sons arrived, wailing and weeping. The king and all his servants wept loudly as well. 37 But Absalom fled and went to King Talmai son of Ammihud of Geshur. And David grieved over his son every day.
38 After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he remained there for three years. 39 The king longed to go to Absalom, for he had since been consoled over the death of Amnon.
King James Version
1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.
2 And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.
3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.
4 And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king's son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister.
5 And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.
6 ¶ So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.
7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon's house, and dress him meat.
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.
9 And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.
10 And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
11 And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.
12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.
13 And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.
14 Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.
15 ¶ Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.
16 And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.
17 Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.
18 And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king's daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.
19 ¶ And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.
20 And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom's house.
21 ¶ But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.
22 And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.
23 ¶ And it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal-hazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king's sons.
24 And Absalom came to the king, and said, Behold now, thy servant hath sheepshearers; let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants go with thy servant.
25 And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us not all now go, lest we be chargeable unto thee. And he pressed him: howbeit he would not go, but blessed him.
26 Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee?
27 But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him.
28 ¶ Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.
29 And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.
30 ¶ And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king's sons, and there is not one of them left.
31 Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent.
32 And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king's sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.
33 Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king's sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.
34 But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came much people by the way of the hill side behind him.
35 And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king's sons come: as thy servant said, so it is.
36 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that, behold, the king's sons came, and lifted up their voice and wept: and the king also and all his servants wept very sore.
37 ¶ But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day.
38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.
39 And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.