A father's role (II Samuel 13-14)

Series: David, a man after God's heart


This afternoon, I would like to study with you 2 Samuel, Chapters 13 and 14. There are three primary characters in our story. One is Amnon, the first-born son of David. The second character is the third-born son of David. His name is Absalom. And the third character is Absalom’s full-blood sister, or Amnon’s half-sister, the girl named Tamar. And maybe you can remember 2 Samuel 14:25-26. It says that Absalom is very, very handsome. In fact, the scripture says,“…..” So he is strikingly handsome and he is noted for his hair. There is not another head of hair like his, in all of Israel. And Absalom has a very persuasive personality also. He is very convincing. He has charisma. And rarely do you find all those qualities in one person! A striking appearance, pleasing personality and money, Absalom has it all!

But the scripture says that his sister, Tamar, is equally beautiful! Now that doesn’t surprise me. For Tamar and Absalom have exactly the same parents. The dad is David and the mother is a woman, named Maraiah (3:3). And you know that David is handsome, too, and that he is in the habit of marrying beautiful women.

But then, you have Amnon, the half-brother! And before I tell his story, I want to remind you of something I said, in the last lesson. You remember that for his sins, with Bathsheba, and against Uriah, the Hittite, God had said that he was about to have all sorts of trouble, in his own home. 2 Samuel 12:10-12 says, “…” Not only that, but David had too many wives, too many children and not enough time with each. And so we mentioned earlier, he had set himself up for an explosive situation. And this afternoon, you begin to see his home crumbling down.

Chapter 13 begins with Amnon looking at Tamar, not as a brother should look at his sister. But he looks at her with lust-filled eyes. Maybe it’s because he has grown in the little domain of his own mother and Tamar has grown in the little domain of her own mother. See, at that time, each wife had her own living quarters. And so, they rarely came in each other’s presence. And their kids didn’t grow as normal kids of one family should grow. They were not taught proper boundaries! And now, Amnon looks at her lustfully and he desires her physically. And the Bible says, in 2 Samuel 13:1-2, “…” And one day, a friend comes. A man named Jonadab. He is, actually, more than a friend. He is the son of David’s brother. That means he is a cousin to Amnon. And he says, “Amnon, what’s wrong with you? Why do you look so haggard?” And Amnon confesses his love and his lust to his friend, Jonadab. Now, Jonadab begins to think and he begins to give some advice. And I want to make a side point here. You need to be very, very careful, from whom you take your advice. Be very careful concerning the source of advice because Amnon will do great evil due to pitiful advice. Here is what Jonadab says, in verse 5, “…” And Amnon likes the advice, so we read in verses 6-7, “…” And the loving father, without knowing, sent the beautiful, young girl to the mob crowd! Little does he know that he is sending a little lamb to the lion! And she goes to his place, fixes the bread in front of Amnon’s eyes, totally unaware of his lust. And we read, in verses 8-9, “…”.

So, Amnon has given the order to clear the place. The he lures the girl to his bed and, as she comes to feed him, he rises and overpowers the poor girl. She starts fighting and saying, “Don’t do this! Please don’t or you will make me a disgrace, in the eyes of all Israel, and you’ll be like all the fools, if you do this. Look at verses 12 and 13. “…” But I think what is remarkable is the last statement because I don’t think she necessarily loved her brother that way! I don’t think she particularly wanted to be his wife, especially for the rest of her life. But she would rather be wife to her brother than violated by him! And what a beautiful example Tamar is, for all girls. Because, so many times, we’ve given Joseph, as a hero of purity, to young men; but we have not given anyone to our young ladies or our older, single ladies.

Ladies, you mark down this passage of scripture in your Bibles. You write in your heart the answers she gave. First of all, you should never, ever want a man to consummate a physical relationship, if you are not married to him! Second, if you are ever put in a situation where one man tries to rush you, to do things you don’t need to do, you fight him! You tell him, “No, don’t do that! I am not yours! This is sin! I will not please God, if I do that! And you will not please God!” Verbalize your feelings. And thirdly, talk of marriage, if your boyfriend wants to go further. Lots of times, it will discourage him, if he is not sincere in his love! But let him know you intend to keep yourself pure for this special, honeymoon night! And remember, putting it plainly, why would you buy the cow if you can milk it for free? If your boyfriend can get what he wants, now, why should he rush into a commitment? Why should he have to pay the price? You know it doesn’t astonish me when ladies come to me and say, “My boyfriend and I have been living together for a long time; but he just won’t propose marriage to me!” Well what do you expect? What do they expect? Why should he make a commitment from a worldly point of view?

But let’s come back to Tamar. She says all the right things; but unfortunately, her brother will not listen to reason. Her father should have been more careful in allowing her to be with Amnon. And now, the Bible says, in verse 14, “…”. Then it says that Amnon becomes instantly angry, or filled with hate. And he began to throw her out of his house. He said, in verse 15c, “…” But she answers, in verses 16-17, “…” And now Tamar is out. She has been weaving a beautiful robe that only young, unmarried girls wear and now she tears that robe down. She puts ashes on her head and she goes to her brother, Absalom, to find comfort. Or, at least, it’s what it seems! Maybe, though, Absalom is the one who hears her weeping! I don’t know! But I know that David, her father, is not the first one to hear! And the scripture says, in verse 20, “…” I would like to ask you how you would feel, this afternoon, if that happened to your sister? I think you’d be very angry! And Absalom is filled with anger. At first, he doesn’t seem like it; but then, if you look in verse 22, you read, “…” So the hate was there in Absalom’s heart. And you know what happens if hate continues and is not put in check. It explodes! And for two years, Absalom hates and finally, it cannot be contained in his heart any longer. It’s sheep shearing time. Absalom throws a party at Baal-Hazor to celebrate the blessings of the year and he invites all his brothers. He even asks the king, his father to come. But his father declines. So Absalom says, “Would you please send Amnon in your stead?” Now David is a little suspicious; but, after being pressed, he agrees to do just that. And we read, in verses 28-29, “….” And David’s anger now rages. He was angry, already, when Amnon raped Tamar; but now, he is even angrier when he hears one of his sons has been killed, by another of his children.

That’s a horrible story, when you think about it. You could almost make a soap opera out of all of this! So, David is angry and Absalom runs away. In verse 37, we read, “…” And if you wonder, this afternoon, why Absalom ran to Geshur, go back to 2 Samuel 3:3 and you will find that Maraiah, the mother of Absalom and Tamar, is the daughter of the king, of Geshur. So Absalom goes to his grandfather, on his mother’s side and he takes refuge there, for three years. And during those three years of time, though David is angry, his heart is broken. He still loves Absalom very much! He misses the presence of his son!

Oh, I could stop here, this afternoon and paint a picture of God, from David’s example. Because, though God is angry about our foolishness, when we are gone from Him, his heart breaks and aches. He wants each of us to come back home. But, I want to talk of something else, so I keep on. David is sad; but he doesn’t send for his son. He just gets more depressed, as the days go by. But now, Joab, his military commander, sees what’s happening. See, Joab is close to his king. They are good friends and Joab reads and registers what all of this does to his master. So, in Chapter 14, Joab plots a scheme to have David bring Absalom back home. You can find this in verses 16-17. But in the end, David changes his mind. He sends for his son and so the young man is asked to come home. But David only goes halfway toward reconciliation. He says, in verse 24a, “….” So Absalom comes back home and for two years, he goes without seeing his father. That means five years have gone by, without them talking to each other. And they love each other and they are both hurting.

However, Absalom knows better than to go uninvited to his father’s court. So now, we read in verse 25, “….”. So Absalom wants Joab to be a mediator. If he can’t go to see the king, he will send someone who can see him, for him. And maybe, that way, David will change his mind and they will both, once again, laugh together, speak together and cry together! But, the text says that Joab does not respond. So Absalom looks outside, one day, and he is enlightened by another idea. We read, in verse 30, how he will get the attention of Joab so he can have Joab mediate for him and get to his dad. “…”. And now, Joab comes running. The plan has worked. Joab asks why Absalom did that and Absalom says, in essence, in verse 31, “I wanted your attention. I need you to get to my father!” And as the chapter comes to an end, it finishes with a beautiful reunion. The king summons his son and they both embrace each other!

And I want to stop here, this afternoon, and draw some important lessons from our text. There is some valuable advice that we can glean from this story, or soap opera. And the first one is this.

I. A father’s absence from the home will always result in dysfunctional families.

No matter where you look, this fact is always true. Just compare statistics and you will see. Just look at the Bible and you will see. David is the perfect example of it. No, David was not always gone, on the battlefield! No, he didn’t have the job that caused him to constantly be out of town! But he was absent, while physically present, at home. And his absence resulted in rape, murder and outright rebellion, from his kids. And I wonder, this afternoon, fathers, are you present, at home? Have we learned, as men, to say “no” to our busy schedules, to our personal ambitions, to our selfish desires, to spend some times with our families? Brethren, when are we going to understand the urgency, the importance, of putting first things first? When are we going to learn to say that money and toys are not everything? When are we going to learn to turn our TV’s off and be emotionally present in our homes?

I came across a little article, not too long ago, that expresses the kind of husband and daddy I want to be someday. It says this…

The Kind of Daddy I Want to Be

I want to be the kind of daddy who knows just the right thing to say, at just the right time, so I can mend broken hearts and fix falling tears. I want to be the kind of daddy who is, both, tough and tender. I want my son to be a man and my daughter to be a lady, and I want each of them to know how to express what they really feel inside. I want to be the kind of daddy who is fair when decisions have to be made – even those that are not popular with those I love the most. I want to be the kind of daddy who leads his children in the most righteous of spiritual paths, teaching my kids to love Jesus and His church. I want to be the kind of daddy who has time to spend with his children, and will sometimes let worldly things go undone so that my kids will never feel unimportant or left out. I want to be the kind of daddy that will make my children eager to share me with their children. They will fill my grandchildren’s ears with stories of the times I came through for them. I want to be the kind of daddy who prays with his children so they will know that I am weak, and I am not always everything I want to be, but I know one Father who is. John Dobbs

Beautiful, isn’t it? Don’t you want to be that kind of daddy or granddaddy? Don’t you want your little girls to come running to you, in times of troubles? Don’t you want her to be able to find comfort in you, instead of in her brother, like in our story? But I tell you this will never happen if, first, we don’t return to our homes and if we don’t learn to be more present with our kids. So the first lesson is that absent fathers create dysfunctional families.

II. A father’s anger is no substitute for a father’s discipline.

Lesson #2 is this: A father’s anger is no substitute for a father’s discipline. That, perhaps, was one of David’s greatest mistakes, in parenting, because nowhere in our story did David ever discipline his kids. We read that after Tamar had been raped, he was angry, but not that he punished Amnon. And perhaps, part of the reason why Absalom got so upset is because David never did anything about the situation.

And even when Absalom did wrong, David never truly rebuked his son. He, merely, stayed away from him. He stopped talking. But a father, or a mother, can’t punish by withdrawing their presence. That only makes matters worse! And now David had a rebellious son, hungry for attention. And you know what kids hungry for their parent’s attention will do. They’ll get into problems at school, at work, with friends, with the law, just so their parents will get back in their life! In the case of Absalom, he started to burn other people’s fields! All, so that David would forgive. It would have been so much easier and quicker if dad had confronted the issues and put the problems to rest, by exercising true discipline!

So my second point, this afternoon, is a father’s anger is not a good substitute for a father’s discipline. And my first point is a father’s absence will always make a dysfunctional family. But my third lesson is this.

III. A father’s discipline cannot make up for a father’s lack of good example!

I mean, no matter how hard you try to instill values by correction, your child will never learn unless, first, you learn to model values for your child! (All you will do if you correct your child and don’t live what you teach is make your child bitter and rebellious.)

And if there is one thing, for sure, today, that is the fact that David failed to provide a good example, for his kids. I mean, think about it for a second. Where did David’s children learn to act as they did? Where did they learn that rape was all right, that lust should prevail? Where did they learn to murder men, who were close to them? I tell you, this afternoon, they witnessed that, in the world, yes; but they witnessed that in their homes. Because I remember a time, not too long ago, when David plotted to have a man friend killed. I remember, not too long ago, David, being driven by lust, taking the wife of a man he had no right to and raping her. And so, I think, this afternoon, of this little saying that says, “like father, like son!” And I shiver before the responsibility of fatherhood. What an awesome and, yet, frightening thing it is to beget a child and mold their tender mind! Never, listen to me; never should we take this task lightly upon ourselves because if we can’t model, we certainly won’t raise godly offspring. And if we can’t model, don’t expect discipline to ever change what the habits of your life are creating. It will only make your kids bitter and rebellious.


So there are three points I want you to go home with, this afternoon. First, father’s absence always creates dysfunctional families. Secondly, father’s anger is no substitute for discipline. And thirdly, father’s discipline is no substitute for modeling.

I want to leave you with this poem:

There are little eyes upon you, and they’re watching night and day, There are little ears that quickly take in every word you say, There are little hands, all eager, to do everything you do, And a little boy who’s dreaming of the day he’ll be like you. You’re the little fellow’s idol; you’re the wisest of the wise, In his little mind, about you, no suspicions ever rise, He believes in you devoutly, holds that all you say and do He will say and do in your way when he’s grown up like you. There’s a wide-eyed little fellow who believes you’re always right, And his ears are always open and he watches day and night, You are setting an example every day in all you do, For the little boy who’s waiting to grow up to be like you.