But if out in the country a man happens to meet a girl pledged
to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die.
Do nothing to the girl; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is
like that of someone who attacks and murders his neighbor, for the man
found the girl out in the country, and though the betrothed girl screamed, there
was no one to rescue her.
Rape is to sexually violate
somebody by force. It is against the victim's will. The victim has
no choice in the matter.
To put it another way, rape means
to disrespect the boundaries of another person and to force something upon them,
particularly with regard to sexual relations.
Even before the Law was given
through Moses, rape was considered one of the most detestable acts. (Genesis 34)
It was punishable by death.
If a person is a willing
participant in a sexual act, they have not been raped.
"If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps
with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. If
her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the
bride-price for virgins.
If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes
her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of
silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce
her as long as he lives.
When going out on a
date, it is important to establish the boundaries of the relationship.
If you don't tell your
date how far you are willing to go, they may violate your boundaries without
knowing it. This is particularly true if you are dating somebody who has
not been taught good values as they have grown up.
The Bible teaches us
not to be yoked with unbelievers. Unbelievers may believe it is OK to have
sex before marriage and think nothing of initiating sexual activity with
somebody who has agreed to go out with them.
Unless you tell
somebody what your wishes are, they cannot be held guilty of deliberately
Unless you make some
attempt to enforce your boundaries when they are violated, then the other party
has not forcefully violated them.
If you have grown up
as a Christian, you should know that sex before marriage is wrong. To
engage in such an activity would be to violate your own spiritual values
(conscience). As a result, you will loose your peace and find that it is
difficult to have fellowship with God until such sin is dealt with by confession
Date Rape is the
forceful violation of somebody's wishes whilst on a date. It is hard to do
this accidentally for a long time. It would imply very poor communication
or perhaps loss of self control due to addiction or intoxication.
The Bible says that we
should not get drunk with wine (or intoxicated with other drugs). Being
drunk is not an excuse. Rape is still rape, whether it was a
deliberate or an unintentional violation of somebody's boundaries; it has the
Repeated violation of
a person's boundaries may lead to a sense of helplessness.
People need to learn
how to enforce their boundaries in order to prevent themselves being raped.
One of the first steps
is to communicate your boundaries to your partner and ensure that they are
understood as soon as possible.
As soon as somebody
oversteps your boundaries, tell them to stop. If they won't listen, then
Try not to put
yourself in a situation where this might happen and try not to give out
misleading messages as to what you want.
DELIBERATE RAPE BY STRANGER(S)
Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob,
went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor
the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and violated her.
His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke
tenderly to her. And Shechem said to his father Hamor, "Get me this
girl as my wife." When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been
defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he kept quiet about
it until they came home. Then Shechem's father Hamor went out to
talk with Jacob. Now Jacob's sons had come in from the fields as
soon as they heard what had happened. They were filled with grief and fury,
because Shechem had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob's
daughter--a thing that should not be done. But Hamor said to them,
"My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as
his wife. Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our
daughters for yourselves. You can settle among us; the land is open to
you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it." Then Shechem
said to Dinah's father and brothers, "Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will
give you whatever you ask. Make the price for the bride and the gift I am
to bring as great as you like, and I'll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me
the girl as my wife." Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob's
sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor.
They said to them, "We can't do such a thing; we can't give our sister to a man
who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. We will give our
consent to you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising
all your males. Then we will give you our daughters and take your
daughters for ourselves. We'll settle among you and become one people with you.
But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we'll take our sister and go."
Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. The young
man, who was the most honored of all his father's household, lost no time in
doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob's daughter. So
Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to their
fellow townsmen. "These men are friendly toward us," they said. "Let them
live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can
marry their daughters and they can marry ours. But the men will consent to
live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised,
as they themselves are. Won't their livestock, their property and all
their other animals become ours? So let us give our consent to them, and they
will settle among us." All the men who went out of the city gate agreed
with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.
Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob's sons,
Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and attacked the
unsuspecting city, killing every male. They put Hamor and his son Shechem
to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem's house and left. The sons of
Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been
defiled. They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything
else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. They carried off all
their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in
the houses. Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have brought
trouble on me by making me a stench to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people
living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me
and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed." But they replied, "Should he have treated our sister like
The Hivites were descendants of
Canaan the fourth son of Ham. They were not circumcised and did not
walk in God's ways. They were living in the land of Canaan which was
the land that was promised to Abraham by God. Jacob was had considerable
wealth in the form of livestock and property. The Hivites thought that if
they married one of Jacob's daughters, Jacob's property would become theirs.
Shechem fancied Jacob's daughter
Dinah. He violated her (raped her) and then asked his father to get
her as his wife. Because he was uncircumcised, he also defiled her.
Hamor, (Shechem's father) and the Hivites did not rebuke Shechem for this but
carried out his wishes. As a consequence, the whole Hivite people became guilty
of disrespecting the boundaries of Jacob.
Dinah's brothers went along with
the Hivites who were greater in number and pursuaded them to be circumcised.
While the Hivites were incapacitated by the pain of circumcision, Dinah's
brothers put the men to death and carried of their women and children as slaves.
This represented God's judgment on
the Hivites for raping and defiling Dinah. This was before the Law of
Moses was even given.
In those days Israel had no king. Now a Levite who lived in a
remote area in the hill country of Ephraim took a concubine from Bethlehem in
But she was unfaithful to him. She left him and went back to
her father's house in Bethlehem, Judah. After she had been there four months,
her husband went to her to persuade her to return. He had with him his servant
and two donkeys. She took him into her father's house, and when her father saw
him, he gladly welcomed him.
His father-in-law, the girl's father, prevailed upon him to
stay; so he remained with him three days, eating and drinking, and sleeping
there. On the fourth day they got up early and he prepared to leave, but
the girl's father said to his son-in-law, "Refresh yourself with something to
eat; then you can go." So the two of them sat down to eat and drink
together. Afterward the girl's father said, "Please stay tonight and enjoy
yourself." And when the man got up to go, his father-in-law persuaded him,
so he stayed there that night. On the morning of the fifth day, when he
rose to go, the girl's father said, "Refresh yourself. Wait till afternoon!" So
the two of them ate together.
Then when the man, with his concubine and his servant, got up
to leave, his father-in-law, the girl's father, said, "Now look, it's almost
evening. Spend the night here; the day is nearly over. Stay and enjoy yourself.
Early tomorrow morning you can get up and be on your way home." But,
unwilling to stay another night, the man left and went toward Jebus (that is,
Jerusalem), with his two saddled donkeys and his concubine.
When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the
servant said to his master, "Come, let's stop at this city of the Jebusites and
spend the night." His master replied, "No. We won't go into an alien city,
whose people are not Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah."
He added, "Come, let's try to reach Gibeah or Ramah and spend
the night in one of those places."
So they went on, and the sun set as they neared Gibeah in
There they stopped to spend the night. They went and sat in
the city square, but no one took them into his home for the night.
That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who
was living in Gibeah (the men of the place were Benjamites), came in from his
work in the fields.When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the
old man asked, "Where are you going? Where did you come from?"
He answered, "We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a
remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to
Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the LORD. No one has taken
me into his house. We have both straw and fodder for our donkeys and bread
and wine for ourselves your servants--me, your maidservant, and the young man
with us. We don't need anything."
"You are welcome at my house," the old man said. "Let me
supply whatever you need. Only don't spend the night in the square." So he
took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet,
they had something to eat and drink.
While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men
of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old
man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can
have sex with him."
The owner of the house went outside and said to them, "No,
my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this
Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will
bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you
wish. But to this man, don't do such a disgraceful thing."
But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his
concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her
throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go.
At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her
master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.
When her master got up in the morning and opened the door
of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine,
fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold.
He said to her, "Get up; let's go." But there was no
answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his
concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of
Everyone who saw it said, "Such a thing has never been seen
or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it!
Consider it! Tell us what to do!"
Then all the Israelites from Dan to Beersheba and from the
land of Gilead came out as one man and assembled before the LORD in Mizpah.
The leaders of all the people of the tribes of Israel took
their places in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand
soldiers armed with swords.
(The Benjamites heard that the Israelites had gone up to
Mizpah.) Then the Israelites said, "Tell us how this awful thing happened."
So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, said, "I
and my concubine came to Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night.
During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and
surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she
I took my concubine, cut her into pieces and sent one piece
to each region of Israel's inheritance, because they committed this lewd and
disgraceful act in Israel.
Now, all you Israelites, speak up and give your verdict."
All the people rose as one man, saying, "None of us will go
home. No, not one of us will return to his house.
But now this is what we'll do to Gibeah: We'll go up against
it as the lot directs.
We'll take ten men out of every hundred from all the tribes of
Israel, and a hundred from a thousand, and a thousand from ten thousand, to get
provisions for the army. Then, when the army arrives at Gibeah in Benjamin, it
can give them what they deserve for all this vileness done in Israel."
So all the men of Israel got together and united as one man
against the city.
The tribes of Israel sent men throughout the tribe of
Benjamin, saying, "What about this awful crime that was committed among you?
Now surrender those wicked men of Gibeah so that we may put
them to death and purge the evil from Israel." But the Benjamites would not
listen to their fellow Israelites.
From their towns they came together at Gibeah to fight against
At once the Benjamites mobilized twenty-six thousand
swordsmen from their towns, in addition to seven hundred chosen men from those
living in Gibeah.
Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred chosen men
who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.
Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand
swordsmen, all of them fighting men.
The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God. They
said, "Who of us shall go first to fight against the Benjamites?" The LORD
replied, "Judah shall go first."
The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near
The men of Israel went out to fight the Benjamites and took up
battle positions against them at Gibeah.
The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two
thousand Israelites on the battlefield that day.
But the men of Israel encouraged one another and again took up
their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day.
The Israelites went up and wept before the LORD until evening,
and they inquired of the LORD. They said, "Shall we go up again to battle
against the Benjamites, our brothers?" The LORD answered, "Go up against them."
Then the Israelites drew near to Benjamin the second day.
This time, when the Benjamites came out from Gibeah to
oppose them, they cut down another eighteen thousand Israelites, all of them
armed with swords.
Then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel, and
there they sat weeping before the LORD. They fasted that day until evening and
presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the LORD.
And the Israelites inquired of the LORD. (In those days the
ark of the covenant of God was there, with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of
Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, "Shall we go up again to battle with
Benjamin our brother, or not?" The LORD responded, "Go, for tomorrow I will give
them into your hands."
Then Israel set an ambush around Gibeah.
They went up against the Benjamites on the third day and took
up positions against Gibeah as they had done before.
The Benjamites came out to meet them and were drawn away from
the city. They began to inflict casualties on the Israelites as before, so that
about thirty men fell in the open field and on the roads--the one leading to
Bethel and the other to Gibeah.
While the Benjamites were saying, "We are defeating them as
before," the Israelites were saying, "Let's retreat and draw them away from the
city to the roads."
All the men of Israel moved from their places and took up
positions at Baal Tamar, and the Israelite ambush charged out of its place on
the west of Gibeah.
Then ten thousand of Israel's finest men made a frontal attack
on Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that the Benjamites did not realize how
near disaster was.
The LORD defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day
the Israelites struck down 25,100 Benjamites, all armed with swords.
Then the Benjamites saw that they were beaten. Now the men of
Israel had given way before Benjamin, because they relied on the ambush they had
set near Gibeah.
The men who had been in ambush made a sudden dash into
Gibeah, spread out and put the whole city to the sword.
The men of Israel had arranged with the ambush that they
should send up a great cloud of smoke from the city, and then the men of Israel
would turn in the battle. The Benjamites had begun to inflict casualties on the
men of Israel (about thirty), and they said, "We are defeating them as in the
But when the column of smoke began to rise from the city, the
Benjamites turned and saw the smoke of the whole city going up into the sky.
Then the men of Israel turned on them, and the men of Benjamin
were terrified, because they realized that disaster had come upon them.
So they fled before the Israelites in the direction of the
desert, but they could not escape the battle. And the men of Israel who came out
of the towns cut them down there.
They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and easily overran
them in the vicinity of Gibeah on the east.
Eighteen thousand Benjamites fell, all of them valiant
As they turned and fled toward the desert to the rock of
Rimmon, the Israelites cut down five thousand men along the roads. They kept
pressing after the Benjamites as far as Gidom and struck down two thousand more.
On that day twenty-five thousand Benjamite swordsmen fell,
all of them valiant fighters.
But six hundred men turned and fled into the desert to the
rock of Rimmon, where they stayed four months.
The men of Israel went back to Benjamin and put all the towns
to the sword, including the animals and everything else they found. All the
towns they came across they set on fire.
The men of Israel had taken an oath at Mizpah: "Not one of us
will give his daughter in marriage to a Benjamite."
The people went to Bethel, where they sat before God until
evening, raising their voices and weeping bitterly.
"O LORD, the God of Israel," they cried, "why has this
happened to Israel? Why should one tribe be missing from Israel today?"
Early the next day the people built an altar and presented
burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.
Then the Israelites asked, "Who from all the tribes of Israel
has failed to assemble before the LORD?" For they had taken a solemn oath that
anyone who failed to assemble before the LORD at Mizpah should certainly be put
Now the Israelites grieved for their brothers, the Benjamites.
"Today one tribe is cut off from Israel," they said.
"How can we provide wives for those who are left, since we
have taken an oath by the LORD not to give them any of our daughters in
Then they asked, "Which one of the tribes of Israel failed to
assemble before the LORD at Mizpah?" They discovered that no one from Jabesh
Gilead had come to the camp for the assembly.
For when they counted the people, they found that none of the
people of Jabesh Gilead were there.
So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with
instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there,
including the women and children.
"This is what you are to do," they said. "Kill every male
and every woman who is not a virgin."
They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four
hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the
camp at Shiloh in Canaan.
Then the whole assembly sent an offer of peace to the
Benjamites at the rock of Rimmon.
So the Benjamites returned at that time and were given the
women of Jabesh Gilead who had been spared. But there were not enough for all of
The people grieved for Benjamin, because the LORD had made a
gap in the tribes of Israel.
And the elders of the assembly said, "With the women of
Benjamin destroyed, how shall we provide wives for the men who are left?
The Benjamite survivors must have heirs," they said, "so that
a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out.
We can't give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites
have taken this oath: 'Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite.'
But look, there is the annual festival of the LORD in Shiloh,
to the north of Bethel, and east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem,
and to the south of Lebonah."
So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, "Go and hide in the
vineyards and watch. When the girls of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing,
then rush from the vineyards and each of you seize a wife from the girls of
Shiloh and go to the land of Benjamin.
When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to
them, 'Do us a kindness by helping them, because we did not get wives for them
during the war, and you are innocent, since you did not give your daughters to
So that is what the Benjamites did. While the girls were
dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they
returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them.
At that time the Israelites left that place and went home to
their tribes and clans, each to his own inheritance.
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
This passage is
notable for several reasons:
It shows God's
abhorrence of rape and sexual immorality.
Women of Benjamin were held just as responsible as the Men.
It has many parallels
with Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah
God punished the
people of Jabesh Gilead because they turned a blind eye.
Here, Israel was aware
of God's Law and was responsible for it's execution. (In Lot's time,
Angels revealed God's law and were responsible for it's execution).
Benjamin and Levi were
tribes of Israel.
Here, a Levite was
traveling back to his home in Ephraim from Bethlehem in Judah. They found
lodging in Gibeah, a city of the Benjamites.
As with Lot in Sodom,
evil men surrounded the house and wanted to rape the visitor who, in this case,
was an Israelite from the tribe of Levi.
As with Lot in Sodom,
the owner of the house tried to protect the visitors and offered his daughter to
Unlike Sodom and
Gomorrah, the Levite handed his concubine to them and the men of Benjamin
mercilessly raped the Levite's concubine and she died. This showed what
horrible people they were.
The Levite broadcast
to all Israel what a terrible thing had happened. If Israel had stood back
and done nothing, God would have held them guilty too and they would not have
fulfilled their destiny.
Israel had to purge
themselves of this evil. So did the tribe of Benjamin. If Israel had not
done what they did to the Benjamites, God would have had to destroy them.
(This happened much later in their history: Babylon and Assyria took them into
assembled and marched against the city of Gibeah and demanded they give up the
men who did this. When Benjamin decided to protect them, they became
guilty of their sin too.
Benjamin in it's pride
could not see the wrong that it had done.
In order to purge
itself, Israel had to stand up to Benjamin.
Israel lost 40,000 men
before they started to overcome the Benjamites.
If they had not
persevered, these wicked men would have grown stronger and corrupted all of
Israel persevered and
set an ambush for the Benjamites. Benjamin fell in one day and it's army
of 26,000 was destroyed leaving only 600 survivors who fled to the mountains.
All the towns of
Benjamin were put to the sword. Their women and children were completely
destroyed. Even their animals were put to the sword.
All of Israel were
grieved that one of Jacob's sons would be cut off.
afterwards and found that the town of Jabesh Gilead had not attended to help
Because Jabesh Gilead
had turned a blind eye to the Benjamites, God told the Israelites to kill every
man women and child in the city except the virgins who numbered about 400.
These were given to
the surviving Benjamites as wives.
200 women from Shiloh
were also given to the Benjamites so that they would continue to have
descendants and not be cut off from Israel.
In a way, God was
merciful to them and gave them a second chance.
RAPE BY A BROTHER
David, the king of Judah, the grandson of Ruth
(a Moabite), had been fighting the Ammonites.
He had committed adultery with Bathsheba and
sent her husband, Uriah (a Hittite) to fight on the frontline where he died.
He had taken Bathsheba as his wife but the son
she was pregnant with died. She got pregnant again and had given
birth to Solomon who had found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
The battle ended with the defeat of the
2 Samuel 12:7-12 Then Nathan said to David, "You are the
man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'I anointed you
king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.
I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your
arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been
too little, I would have given you even more.
Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in
his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his
wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.
Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because
you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.'
"This is what the LORD says: 'Out of your own household I am going
to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives
and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives
in broad daylight.
You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight
before all Israel.'"
In the course of time, Amnon son of
David fell in love with
beautiful sister of Absalom son of David.
Amnon became frustrated to the point of illness on account of his sister
Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do
anything to her.
Now Amnon had a friend named Jonadab son of Shimeah,
David's brother. Jonadab
was a very shrewd man.
He asked Amnon, "Why do you, the king's son, look so haggard morning after
morning? Won't you tell me?" Amnon said to him, "I'm in love with Tamar, my
brother Absalom's sister."
"Go to bed and pretend to be ill," Jonadab said. "When your father comes to
see you, say to him, 'I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something
to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it
from her hand.'"
So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him,
Amnon said to him, "I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some special
bread in my sight, so I may eat from her hand."
David sent word to Tamar at the palace: "Go to the house of your brother
Amnon and prepare some food for him."
So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took
some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it.
Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat. "Send
everyone out of here," Amnon said. So everyone left him.
Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat
from your hand." And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her
brother Amnon in his bedroom.
But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, "Come to bed
with me, my sister."
"Don't, my brother!" she said to him. "Don't force me. Such a thing should
not be done in Israel! Don't do this wicked thing.
What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You
would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he
will not keep me from being married to you."
But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped
Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he
had loved her. Amnon said to her, "Get up and get out!"
"No!" she said to him. "Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what
you have already done to me." But he refused to listen to her.
He called his personal servant and said, "Get this woman out of here and bolt
the door after her."
So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. She was wearing a
richly ornamented robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin
daughters of the king wore.
Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing. She
put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.
Her brother Absalom said to her, "Has that Amnon, your brother, been with
you? Be quiet now, my sister; he is your brother. Don't take this thing to
heart." And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom's house, a desolate woman.
When King David heard all this, he was furious.
Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon
because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.
Two years later, when Absalom's sheepshearers were at Baal Hazor near the
border of Ephraim, he invited all the king's sons to come there.
Absalom went to the king and said, "Your servant has had shearers come. Will
the king and his officials please join me?"
"No, my son," the king replied. "All of us should not go; we would only be a
burden to you." Although Absalom urged him, he still refused to go, but gave him
Then Absalom said, "If not, please let my brother Amnon come with us." The
king asked him, "Why should he go with you?"
But Absalom urged him, so he sent with him Amnon and the rest of the king's
Absalom ordered his men, "Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking
wine and I say to you, 'Strike Amnon down,' then kill him. Don't be afraid. Have
not I given you this order? Be strong and brave."
So Absalom's men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the king's
sons got up, mounted their mules and fled.
While they were on their way, the report came to David: "Absalom has struck
down all the king's sons; not one of them is left."
The king stood up, tore his clothes and lay down on the ground; and all his
servants stood by with their clothes torn.
But Jonadab son of Shimeah, David's brother, said, "My lord should not think
that they killed all the princes; only Amnon is dead. This has been Absalom's
expressed intention ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar.
My lord the king should not be concerned about the report that all the king's
sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead."
Meanwhile, Absalom had fled. Now the man standing watch looked up and saw
many people on the road west of him, coming down the side of the hill. The
watchman went and told the king, "I see men in the direction of Horonaim, on the
side of the hill."
Jonadab said to the king, "See, the king's sons are here; it has happened
just as your servant said."
As he finished speaking, the king's sons came in, wailing loudly. The king,
too, and all his servants wept very bitterly.
Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. But King
David mourned for his son every day.
After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he stayed there three years.
And the spirit of the king longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled
concerning Amnon's death.
Joab son of Zeruiah knew that the king's heart longed for Absalom.
So Joab sent someone to Tekoa and had a wise woman brought from there. He
said to her, "Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in mourning clothes, and don't
use any cosmetic lotions. Act like a woman who has spent many days grieving for
Then go to the king and speak these words to him." And Joab put the words in
When the woman from Tekoa went to the king, she fell with her face to the
ground to pay him honor, and she said, "Help me, O king!"
The king asked her, "What is troubling you?" She said, "I am indeed a widow;
my husband is dead.
I your servant had two sons. They got into a fight with each other in the
field, and no one was there to separate them. One struck the other and killed
Now the whole clan has risen up against your servant; they say, 'Hand over
the one who struck his brother down, so that we may put him to death for the
life of his brother whom he killed; then we will get rid of the heir as well.'
They would put out the only burning coal I have left, leaving my husband neither
name nor descendant on the face of the earth."
The king said to the woman, "Go home, and I will issue an order in your
But the woman from Tekoa said to him, "My lord the king, let the blame rest
on me and on my father's family, and let the king and his throne be without
The king replied, "If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he
will not bother you again."
She said, "Then let the king invoke the LORD his God to prevent the avenger
of blood from adding to the destruction, so that my son will not be destroyed."
"As surely as the LORD lives," he said, "not one hair of your son's head will
fall to the ground."
Then the woman said, "Let your servant speak a word to my lord the king."
"Speak," he replied.
The woman said, "Why then have you devised a thing like this against the
people of God? When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the
king has not brought back his banished son?
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die.
But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished
person may not remain estranged from him.
"And now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have
made me afraid. Your servant thought, 'I will speak to the king; perhaps he will
do what his servant asks.
Perhaps the king will agree to deliver his servant from the hand of the man
who is trying to cut off both me and my son from the inheritance God gave us.'
"And now your servant says, 'May the word of my lord the king bring me rest,
for my lord the king is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil. May
the LORD your God be with you.'"
Then the king said to the woman, "Do not keep from me the answer to what I am
going to ask you." "Let my lord the king speak," the woman said.
The king asked, "Isn't the hand of Joab with you in all this?" The woman
answered, "As surely as you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right
or to the left from anything my lord the king says. Yes, it was your servant
Joab who instructed me to do this and who put all these words into the mouth of
Your servant Joab did this to change the present situation. My lord has
wisdom like that of an angel of God--he knows everything that happens in the
The king said to Joab, "Very well, I will do it. Go, bring back the young man
Joab fell with his face to the ground to pay him honor, and he blessed the
king. Joab said, "Today your servant knows that he has found favor in your eyes,
my lord the king, because the king has granted his servant's request."
Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem.
But the king said, "He must go to his own house; he must not see my face." So
Absalom went to his own house and did not see the face of the king.
In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome
appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there
was no blemish in him.
Whenever he cut the hair of his head--he used to cut his hair from time to
time when it became too heavy for him--he would weigh it, and its weight was two
hundred shekels by the royal standard.
Three sons and a daughter were born to Absalom. The daughter's name was
Tamar, and she became a beautiful woman.
Absalom lived two years in Jerusalem without seeing the king's face.
Then Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab refused
to come to him. So he sent a second time, but he refused to come.
Then he said to his servants, "Look, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has
barley there. Go and set it on fire." So Absalom's servants set the field on
Then Joab did go to Absalom's house and he said to him, "Why have your
servants set my field on fire?"
Absalom said to Joab, "Look, I sent word to you and said, 'Come here so I can
send you to the king to ask, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better
for me if I were still there!" ' Now then, I want to see the king's face, and if
I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death."
So Joab went to the king and told him this. Then the king summoned Absalom,
and he came in and bowed down with his face to the ground before the king. And
the king kissed Absalom.
In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and
with fifty men to run ahead of him.
He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city
gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a
decision, Absalom would call out to him, "What town are you from?" He would
answer, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel."
Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your claims are valid and proper, but
there is no representative of the king to hear you."
And Absalom would add, "If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then
everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he
Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would
reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him.
Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king
asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
At the end of four years, Absalom said to the king, "Let me go to Hebron and
fulfill a vow I made to the LORD.
While your servant was living at Geshur in Aram, I made this vow: 'If the
LORD takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the LORD in Hebron.'"
The king said to him, "Go in peace." So he went to Hebron.
Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say,
"As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, 'Absalom is king in
Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited
as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter.
While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the
Gilonite, David's counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the
conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom's following kept on increasing.
A messenger came and told David, "The hearts of the men of Israel are with
Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, "Come!
We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately,
or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin upon us and put the city
to the sword."
The king's officials answered him, "Your servants are ready to do whatever
our lord the king chooses."
The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten
concubines to take care of the palace.
So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at a
place some distance away.
All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites and Pelethites;
and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched
before the king.
The king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why should you come along with us? Go
back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your
You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander about with us,
when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your countrymen. May
kindness and faithfulness be with you."
But Ittai replied to the king, "As surely as the LORD lives, and as my lord
the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or
death, there will your servant be."
David said to Ittai, "Go ahead, march on." So Ittai the Gittite marched on
with all his men and the families that were with him.
The whole countryside wept aloud as all the people passed by. The king also
crossed the Kidron Valley, and all the people moved on toward the desert.
Zadok was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the
ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar offered
sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving the city.
Then the king said to Zadok, "Take the ark of God back into the city. If I
find favor in the Lord's eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his
dwelling place again.
But if he says, 'I am not pleased with you,' then I am ready; let him do to
me whatever seems good to him."
The king also said to Zadok the priest, "Aren't you a seer? Go back to the
city in peace, with your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan son of Abiathar. You and
Abiathar take your two sons with you.
I will wait at the fords in the desert until word comes from you to inform
So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there.
But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was
covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and
were weeping as they went up.
Now David had been told, "Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom."
So David prayed, "O LORD, turn Ahithophel's counsel into foolishness."
When David arrived at the summit, where people used to worship God, Hushai
the Arkite was there to meet him, his robe torn and dust on his head.
David said to him, "If you go with me, you will be a burden to me.
But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, 'I will be your servant, O
king; I was your father's servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,'
then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel's advice.
Won't the priests Zadok and Abiathar be there with you? Tell them anything
you hear in the king's palace.
Their two sons, Ahimaaz son of Zadok and Jonathan son of Abiathar, are there
with them. Send them to me with anything you hear."
So David's friend Hushai arrived at Jerusalem as Absalom was entering the
When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba, the
steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. He had a string of donkeys saddled
and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a
hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine.
The king asked Ziba, "Why have you brought these?" Ziba answered, "The
donkeys are for the king's household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the
men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the
The king then asked, "Where is your master's grandson?" Ziba said to him, "He
is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, 'Today the house of Israel will give
me back my grandfather's kingdom.'"
Then the king said to Ziba, "All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours."
"I humbly bow," Ziba said. "May I find favor in your eyes, my lord the king."
As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul's family
came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came
He pelted David and all the king's officials with stones, though all the
troops and the special guard were on David's right and left.
As he cursed, Shimei said, "Get out, get out, you man of blood, you
The LORD has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul,
in whose place you have reigned. The LORD has handed the kingdom over to your
son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a man of blood!"
Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse
my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head."
But the king said, "What do you and I have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? If
he is cursing because the LORD said to him, 'Curse David,' who can ask, 'Why do
you do this?'"
David then said to Abishai and all his officials, "My son, who is of my own
flesh, is trying to take my life. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him
alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.
It may be that the LORD will see my distress and repay me with good for the
cursing I am receiving today."
So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along
the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and
showering him with dirt.
The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted.
And there he refreshed himself.
Meanwhile, Absalom and all the men of Israel came to Jerusalem, and
Ahithophel was with him.
Then Hushai the Arkite, David's friend, went to Absalom and said to him,
"Long live the king! Long live the king!"
Absalom asked Hushai, "Is this the love you show your friend? Why didn't you
go with your friend?"
Hushai said to Absalom, "No, the one chosen by the LORD, by these people, and
by all the men of Israel--his I will be, and I will remain with him.
Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve the son? Just as I
served your father, so I will serve you."
Absalom said to Ahithophel, "Give us your advice. What should we do?"
Ahithophel answered, "Lie with your father's concubines whom he left to take
care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself a
stench in your father's nostrils, and the hands of everyone with you will be
So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he lay with his father's
concubines in the sight of all Israel.
Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who
inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel's advice.
Ahithophel said to Absalom, "I would choose twelve thousand men and set out
tonight in pursuit of David.
I would attack him while he is weary and weak. I would strike him with
terror, and then all the people with him will flee. I would strike down only the
king and bring all the people back to you. The death of the man you seek will mean
the return of all; all the people will be unharmed."
This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel.
But Absalom said, "Summon also Hushai the Arkite, so we can hear what he has
When Hushai came to him, Absalom said, "Ahithophel has given this advice.
Should we do what he says? If not, give us your opinion."
Hushai replied to Absalom, "The advice Ahithophel has given is not good this
You know your father and his men; they are fighters, and as fierce as a wild
bear robbed of her cubs. Besides, your father is an experienced fighter; he will
not spend the night with the troops.
Even now, he is hidden in a cave or some other place. If he should attack
your troops first, whoever hears about it will say, 'There has been a slaughter
among the troops who follow Absalom.'
Then even the bravest soldier, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will
melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a fighter and that
those with him are brave.
"So I advise you: Let all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba--as numerous as the
sand on the seashore--be gathered to you, with you yourself leading them into
Then we will attack him wherever he may be found, and we will fall on him as
dew settles on the ground. Neither he nor any of his men will be left alive.
If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city,
and we will drag it down to the valley until not even a piece of it can be
Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The advice of Hushai the Arkite is
better than that of Ahithophel." For the LORD had determined to frustrate the
good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.
Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, "Ahithophel has advised Absalom
and the elders of Israel to do such and such, but I have advised them to do so
Now send a message immediately and tell David, 'Do not spend the night at the
fords in the desert; cross over without fail, or the king and all the people
with him will be swallowed up.'"
Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En Rogel. A servant girl was to go and
inform them, and they were to go and tell King David, for they could not risk
being seen entering the city.
But a young man saw them and told Absalom. So the two of them left quickly
and went to the house of a man in Bahurim. He had a well in his courtyard, and
they climbed down into it.
His wife took a covering and spread it out over the opening of the well and
scattered grain over it. No one knew anything about it.
When Absalom's men came to the woman at the house, they asked, "Where are
Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" The woman answered them, "They crossed over the brook."
The men searched but found no one, so they returned to Jerusalem.
After the men had gone, the two climbed out of the well and went to inform
King David. They said to him, "Set out and cross the river at once; Ahithophel
has advised such and such against you."
So David and all the people with him set out and crossed the Jordan. By
daybreak, no one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.
When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his
donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and
then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father's tomb.
David went to Mahanaim, and Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of
Absalom had appointed Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Amasa was the son
of a man named Jether, an Israelite who had married Abigail, the daughter of
Nahash and sister of Zeruiah the mother of Joab.
The Israelites and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.
When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the
Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite
from Rogelim brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat
and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows' milk for David and his people
to eat. For they said, "The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in
David mustered the men who were with him and appointed over them commanders
of thousands and commanders of hundreds.
David sent the troops out--a third under the command of Joab, a third under
Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. The
king told the troops, "I myself will surely march out with you."
But the men said, "You must not go out; if we are forced to flee, they won't
care about us. Even if half of us die, they won't care; but you are worth ten
thousand of us. It would be better now for you to give us support from the
The king answered, "I will do whatever seems best to you." So the king stood
beside the gate while all the men marched out in units of hundreds and of
The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, "Be gentle with the young man
Absalom for my sake." And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning
Absalom to each of the commanders.
The army marched into the field to fight Israel, and the battle took place in
the forest of Ephraim.
There the army of Israel was defeated by David's men, and the casualties that
day were great--twenty thousand men.
The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest claimed more
lives that day than the sword.
Now Absalom happened to meet David's men. He was riding his mule, and as the
mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom's head got caught in
the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on
When one of the men saw this, he told Joab, "I just saw Absalom hanging in an
Joab said to the man who had told him this, "What! You saw him? Why didn't
you strike him to the ground right there? Then I would have had to give you ten
shekels of silver and a warrior's belt."
But the man replied, "Even if a thousand shekels were weighed out into my
hands, I would not lift my hand against the king's son. In our hearing the king
commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, 'Protect the young man Absalom for my
And if I had put my life in jeopardy --and nothing is hidden from the
king--you would have kept your distance from me."
Joab said, "I'm not going to wait like this for you." So he took three
javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom's heart while Absalom was
still alive in the oak tree.
And ten of Joab's armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed
Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and the troops stopped pursuing Israel, for Joab halted them.
They took Absalom, threw him into a big pit in the forest and piled up a
large heap of rocks over him. Meanwhile, all the Israelites fled to their homes.
During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King's
Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, "I have no son to carry on the
memory of my name." He named the pillar after himself, and it is called
Absalom's Monument to this day.
Now Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, "Let me run and take the news to the king that
the LORD has delivered him from the hand of his enemies."
"You are not the one to take the news today," Joab told him. "You may take
the news another time, but you must not do so today, because the king's son is
Then Joab said to a Cushite, "Go, tell the king what you have seen." The
Cushite bowed down before Joab and ran off.
Ahimaaz son of Zadok again said to Joab, "Come what may, please let me run
behind the Cushite." But Joab replied, "My son, why do you want to go? You don't
have any news that will bring you a reward."
He said, "Come what may, I want to run." So Joab said, "Run!" Then Ahimaaz
ran by way of the plain and outran the Cushite.
While David was sitting between the inner and outer gates, the watchman went
up to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he looked out, he saw a man
The watchman called out to the king and reported it. The king said, "If he is
alone, he must have good news." And the man came closer and closer.
Then the watchman saw another man running, and he called down to the
gatekeeper, "Look, another man running alone!" The king said, "He must be
bringing good news, too."
The watchman said, "It seems to me that the first one runs like Ahimaaz son
of Zadok." "He's a good man," the king said. "He comes with good news."
Then Ahimaaz called out to the king, "All is well!" He bowed down before the
king with his face to the ground and said, "Praise be to the LORD your God! He
has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king."
The king asked, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Ahimaaz answered, "I saw
great confusion just as Joab was about to send the king's servant and me, your
servant, but I don't know what it was."
The king said, "Stand aside and wait here." So he stepped aside and stood
Then the Cushite arrived and said, "My lord the king, hear the good news! The
LORD has delivered you today from all who rose up against you."
The king asked the Cushite, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" The Cushite
replied, "May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be
like that young man."
The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he
went, he said: "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died
instead of you--O Absalom, my son, my son!"
Joab was told, "The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom."
And for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because
on that day the troops heard it said, "The king is grieving for his son."
The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when
they flee from battle.
The king covered his face and cried aloud, "O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my
son, my son!"
Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, "Today you have
humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your
sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines.
You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it
clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that
you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead.
Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the LORD that if you don't go
out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you
than all the calamities that have come upon you from your youth till now."
So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told,
"The king is sitting in the gateway," they all came before him. Meanwhile, the
Israelites had fled to their homes.
Throughout the tribes of Israel, the people were all arguing with each other,
saying, "The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies; he is the one who
rescued us from the hand of the Philistines. But now he has fled the country
because of Absalom; and Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, has died in battle. So why do
you say nothing about bringing the king back?"
King David sent this message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests: "Ask the
elders of Judah, 'Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his
palace, since what is being said throughout Israel has reached the king at his
You are my brothers, my own flesh and blood. So why should you be the last to
bring back the king?'
And say to Amasa, 'Are you not my own flesh and blood? May God deal with me,
be it ever so severely, if from now on you are not the commander of my army in
place of Joab.'"
He won over the hearts of all the men of Judah as though they were one man.
They sent word to the king, "Return, you and all your men."
Then the king returned and went as far as the Jordan. Now the men of Judah
had come to Gilgal to go out and meet the king and bring him across the Jordan.
Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of
Judah to meet King David.
With him were a thousand Benjamites, along with Ziba, the steward of Saul's
household, and his fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed to the Jordan,
where the king was.
They crossed at the ford to take the king's household over and to do whatever
he wished. When Shimei son of Gera crossed the Jordan, he fell prostrate before
the king and said to him, "May my lord not hold me guilty. Do not remember how your
servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. May the king put
it out of his mind.
For I your servant know that I have sinned, but today I have come here as the
first of the whole house of Joseph to come down and meet my lord the king."
Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, "Shouldn't Shimei be put to death for this?
He cursed the Lord's anointed."
David replied, "What do you and I have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? This
day you have become my adversaries! Should anyone be put to death in Israel
today? Do I not know that today I am king over Israel?"
So the king said to Shimei, "You shall not die." And the king promised him on
Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, also went down to meet the king. He had not
taken care of his feet or trimmed his mustache or washed his clothes from the
day the king left until the day he returned safely.
When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, "Why didn't
you go with me, Mephibosheth?"
He said, "My lord the king, since I your servant am lame, I said, 'I will
have my donkey saddled and will ride on it, so I can go with the king.' But Ziba
my servant betrayed me.
And he has slandered your servant to my lord the king. My lord the king is
like an angel of God; so do whatever pleases you.
All my grandfather's descendants deserved nothing but death from my lord the
king, but you gave your servant a place among those who sat at your table. So
what right do I have to make any more appeals to the king?"
The king said to him, "Why say more? I order you and Ziba to divide the
Mephibosheth said to the king, "Let him take everything, now that my lord the
king has arrived home safely."
Barzillai the Gileadite also came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan with
the king and to send him on his way from there.
Now Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years of age. He had provided for
the king during his stay in Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man.
The king said to Barzillai, "Cross over with me and stay with me in
Jerusalem, and I will provide for you."
But Barzillai answered the king, "How many more years will I live, that I
should go up to Jerusalem with the king?
I am now eighty years old. Can I tell the difference between what is good and
what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats and drinks? Can I still hear
the voices of men and women singers? Why should your servant be an added burden
to my lord the king?
Your servant will cross over the Jordan with the king for a short distance,
but why should the king reward me in this way?
Let your servant return, that I may die in my own town near the tomb of my
father and mother. But here is your servant Kimham. Let him cross over with my
lord the king. Do for him whatever pleases you."
The king said, "Kimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him
whatever pleases you. And anything you desire from me I will do for you."
So all the people crossed the Jordan, and then the king crossed over. The
king kissed Barzillai and gave him his blessing, and Barzillai returned to his
When the king crossed over to Gilgal, Kimham crossed with him. All the troops
of Judah and half the troops of Israel had taken the king over.
Soon all the men of Israel were coming to the king and saying to him, "Why
did our brothers, the men of Judah, steal the king away and bring him and his
household across the Jordan, together with all his men?"
All the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, "We did this because the
king is closely related to us. Why are you angry about it? Have we eaten any of
the king's provisions? Have we taken anything for ourselves?"
Then the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, "We have ten shares in the
king; and besides, we have a greater claim on David than you have. So why do you
treat us with contempt? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our
king?" But the men of Judah responded even more harshly than the men of Israel.
Amnon was David's son. He had fallen in love with his half sister
Tamar. Absalom was Tamar's full brother and David's son also.
Amnon tricked his sister Tamar into attending him by pretending to be ill.
When she came to his room, he raped her.
After doing this, he began to hate her more than he had loved her.
Instead of taking her as his wife he threw her out.
Tamar went away; she put ashes on her head and tore her robe. She
lived the rest of her days in Absalom's house as a desolate woman.
She had been disgraced.
Absalom hated Amnon. When David heard what had happened, he was
furious but did nothing to Amnon.
Two years later, Absalom took things into his own hands and killed
Amnon in front of his brothers.
Absalom fled to Geshur for three years. David mourned for his son
every day. He longed to go to Absalom as he had been consoled
concerning Amnon's death.
David discerned God's will and sent for his son Absalom, to bring him
back. He sent Joab to Geshur to bring him back.
Absalom lived in Jerusalem and had three children; one was named Tamar.
After Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years without seeing David's
face he demanded to see David his father. David kissed his son when
he saw him and they made up.
As time went by, Absalom gradually subverted David's authority and in
so doing grew in favor of Israel.
He conspired against David to be King.
David was forced to flee. He left with the armies of Judah, taking with him the Levites and the Arc of the
David sent the Arc back to Jerusalem with Zadock and Abiathar.
David went to the Mount of Olives and weeped.
David sent his advisor Hushai back to help Zadock and frustrate
Absalom's advisor Ahithophel.
While David was in exile, he found a friend in Ziba (a servant of
Saul's Grandson) but others from Saul's clan tried to stone David and his officials.
David's old advisor Ahithophel foolishly told Absalom to lie with his father's
concubines (whom he left to take care of the palace) and in so doing,
he would become a stench in David's nostrils an inspire Israel to follow him.
(This fulfilled the Judgment that Nathan had pronounced on David for
So Absalom lay with his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel.
Ahithophel advised Absalom to send 12000 men after David to kill him,
but spare his men. Hushai, David's servant, advised Absalom not to
do this but to take all Israel and lead them into battle himself and wipe
out David and all his men.
Hushai sent a warning to David and told him to cross the
Absalom decided to take Hushai's advice. He appointed Amasa
as commander of the armies of Israel. He pursued David with the
armies or Israel across the Jordan.
and hung himself.
David's men went out against all of Israel and defeated them.
There were 20,000 casualties. The forest claimed more lives that
day than the sword.
Joab's men found Absalom caught in a tree. Joab killed him even
though David had told him not to.
David mourned for Absalom and wished that he had died in his place.
This confused Israel.
David dismissed Joab as the commander of his army and appointed Amasa.
David was gracious even unto Saul's clan who were Benjamites.
The hearts of the people turned back to David.
When David died, Solomon, the child of Bathsheba, became king.
When Solomon died, the kingdom was divided between his two sons
(Jeroboam and Rehoboam) into the Northern Kingdom (Judah and Benjamin)
under Rehoboam and the Southern Kingdom (the ten tribes of Israel) under
David, King of
Judah, committed adultery with Bathsheba. This had a devastating effect on
the rest of his family and the Kingdom of Israel.
David did find
forgiveness for what he had done but had lost the respect of Israel and the
His power had been
Because he knew
God's grace and mercy, he was able to deal mercifully with Amnon and Absalom.
After his father,
David, had disgraced himself, Amnon fell to temptation too.
planned to get his sister Tamar alone.
When they were
alone, he tried to seduce Tamar into having sex with him.
Tamar knew this was
wrong and tried to get Amnon to ask David for her hand.
Amnon could not
control his lust and raped his sister Tamar.
Tamar, was disgraced
and humiliated. She covered her head with ashes and tore her robe. Her
virginity was lost. She felt her future was destroyed.
She never recovered.
She remained desolate for the rest of her life.
Although David was
furious when he heard of what had happened, he was not able to deal with Amnon
properly because he had sinned himself with Bathsheba.
He was not able to
restore Tamar's dignity.
Absalom hated Amnon
for what he had done to his sister.
He looked after
Tamar in his house.
took matters into his own hands and killed his brother Amnon in front of all his
The Bible does not
say whether Amnon repented but it seems likely that this was so.
Absalom did not
understand his father's mercy and forgiveness for Amnon.
Absalom's hatred of
his Brother eventually caused him to fall into sin by rebelling against David
and sleeping with his father's wives.
forgave Absalom for killing his brother, Absalom rebelled against David and
conspired to kill his father and become king.
persuaded to sleep with his father's concubines in accordance with the judgment
pronounced on David by Nathan.
What Absalom thought
would win him favor and inspire the Israelites brought him shame and disgrace.
Israel was not
inspired to fight.
The consequences of
Absalom becoming king would have been catastrophic for Israel.
David, once again,
found favor in the sight of the Lord and was victorious over the Armies of
Absalom even though he was greatly outnumbered.
David was a Loving
and Gracious father.
He was able to
forgive Absalom because he himself had been forgiven.
Because he disobeyed
David and killed Absalom, Joab was removed from commanding David's Army.
Amasa was made
commander of his army even though it was he who had been appointed by Absalom to
command Israel's army against David.
David was victorious
because he had God's favor.
forgiveness for his own sin.
In so doing he
became a gracious and forgiving father.
however, had everlasting consequences for Israel.
If Absalom or Amnon
had lived, God may have been able to bring them to repentance.
He may have been
able to use them.
God uses people who
the world would consider worthless.
This, however, is
the Glory of God.
When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham
walked along with them to see them on their way.
Then the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?
Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on
earth will be blessed through him.
For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household
after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that
the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."
Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and
their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry
that has reached me. If not, I will know."
The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing
before the LORD.
Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with
What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep
it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in
Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked,
treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the
Judge of all the earth do right?"
The LORD said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will
spare the whole place for their sake."
Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the
Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes,
what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy
the whole city because of five people?" "If I find forty-five there," he said,
"I will not destroy it."
Once again he spoke to him, "What if only forty are found there?" He said,
"For the sake of forty, I will not do it."
Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only
thirty can be found there?" He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty
Abraham said, "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if
only twenty can be found there?" He said, "For the sake of twenty, I will not
Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more.
What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will
not destroy it."
When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham
The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the
gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down
with his face to the ground.
"My lords," he said, "please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash
your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning."
"No," they answered, "we will spend the night in the square."
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house.
He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.
Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of
Sodom--both young and old--surrounded the house.
They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them
out to us so that we can have sex with them."
Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him
and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing.
Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them
out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to
these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."
"Get out of our way," they replied. And they said, "This fellow came here as
an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We'll treat you worse than them."
They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut
Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old,
with blindness so that they could not find the door.
The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here--sons-in-law, sons or
daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here,
because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against
its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it."
So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his
daughters. He said, "Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about
to destroy the city!" But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Hurry! Take your wife
and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of
his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful
As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives!
Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or
you will be swept away!"
But Lot said to them, "No, my lords, please!
Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness
to me in sparing my life. But I can't flee to the mountains; this disaster will
overtake me, and I'll die.
Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to
it--it is very small, isn't it? Then my life will be spared."
He said to him, "Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not
overthrow the town you speak of.
But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it."
(That is why the town was called Zoar.)
By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land.
Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah--from the LORD
out of the heavens.
Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those
living in the cities--and also the vegetation in the land.
But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had
stood before the LORD.
He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain,
and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.
So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he
brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had
Rape is one of the most detestable
sins. In Sodom, homosexuality was very common and accepted by most people.
It had become a way of life.
A number of people in the city were
given over to to rape. They had become arrogant and Godless. They
did not respect other people's boundaries. They forced their will upon
others for their own sensual enjoyment.
They did not even respect the
angels of God.
Abraham pleaded with God and said
"surely you won't treat the righteous and the unrighteous alike?" (God
said that he would not destroy the city if there were just ten righteous people
Unfortunately, there were not ten
righteous people in the city.
God did not just destroy the Men in
the city, He destroyed the whole city; women and children, including Lot's wife
who looked back as she was leaving with the angels of God. The women
in the city were held just as responsible as the men.
God does not like it when his
people turn a blind eye to the sin that is going on around them.
This does not explain why the women in the city were held accountable. The
women in the city had some how contributed to the situation.
A similar situation occurred in
Benjamin (after the law of Moses was given). God
destroyed almost all of Benjamin including the women leaving only a few men to
repopulate the tribe. The other tribes had to give them wives because
there were no women left!
For some reason, the Women were
held just as responsible as the Men. In a way this is understandable
because women are the back bone of society. If the women in the city are
Holy then, somehow, the city gets sanctified.
In what way could the women of the
city have contributed to this situation?
There are many ways that women can
abuse men and degrade society.
prostitution, adultery, divorce are a few ways that society can be damaged and
Child abuse, rape and violence can
damage the psyche of women as well as men and lead to a cycle of abuse against
one another. Some times men and women can end up hating each other.
We know that hatred and bitterness
not only destroy the person who is feeling this way, but it also hurts the
person who is the object of the hatred.
If forgiveness does not prevail,
the situation just seems to spiral down and down. Men and women find new
and more evil ways of hurting one another until finally they cannot stand to see
each other, let alone make love.
Finally, women abandon their
natural relationships with men and seek solace in themselves. Men do
likewise, but people of the same sex are no less likely to abuse you and hurt
you as those of the opposite sex.
Homosexuality is barren and
Deep down, even the most proactive
of homosexuals knows that it is wrong.
Men were not created to have sex
with men and women were not created to have sex with women.
The same can be said of oral and
When people are hurt; the victim of
abuse, the natural tendency is to want to abuse somebody too. (may be not
Some of the perpetrators of the
most heinous crimes have be the victims of cruel abuse themselves.
Poor self esteem, poor self
control, temptation, drugs and alcohol all contribute to the cycle of abuse.
The only way to break the cycle of
abuse is to forgive.
We cannot forgive others unless we
ourselves have been forgiven too.
Only God can forgive us and make
things right again.