When children behave like their parents, we say: “Like father, like son” or “the apple does not fall far from the tree.” David’s children had observed him committing sexual sin and murder. So it is not surprising that they engaged in similar activity. In fact, this was one of the consequences of David’s sin prophesied by Nathan (2 Sam. 12:10–12).
The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads. Psalm 7:16
When David heard about Amnon’s rape of Tamar, he was angry but did nothing (2 Sam. 13:21). Kings were supposed to uphold justice. Perhaps David felt he lacked the moral standing to judge Amnon given his own behavior with Bathsheba and what he did to Uriah. Regardless, his passivity in the face of evil allowed this situation to take an even darker turn.
Absalom did not forget what had happened to his sister and waited patiently for an opportunity for revenge. It is important to distinguish between justice and revenge. Justice seeks closure and includes vindication for the victim and appropriate punishment for the guilty party. Revenge is more focused on satisfying a personal vendetta. Nothing Absalom did in this chapter would vindicate or help his sister. It also would not publicly hold Amnon accountable for his actions.
The time of sheep shearing was a festive one in Israel. It was a time to celebrate the Lord’s provision. Absalom invited all the king’s sons to join in the festivities, including Amnon (v. 27). When the time was right, Absalom ordered his servants to kill Amnon (v. 28). At first David heard a report that Absalom had killed all his sons, but soon discovered that only Amnon had died (vv. 30–33). David mourned the death of his son publicly with the rest of his family (v. 36), while Absalom fled for his life to Geshur (v. 38).
God does not remain passive in the face of evil but has sent His Son to atone for sin and make forgiveness and reconciliation possible. He also has promised that one day all wrongs will be made right.