2 Sam 13-14; Acts 28
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The following text is from the English Standard Version.
2 Sam 13-14
Now Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David’s son, loved her.
And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her.
But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man.
And he said to him, ”O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?” Amnon said to him, ”I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”
Jonadab said to him, ”Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.”’
So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. And when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, ”Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.”
Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, ”Go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare food for him.”
So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, where he was lying down. And she took dough and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes.
And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, ”Send out everyone from me.” So everyone went out from him.
Then Amnon said to Tamar, ”Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, ”Come, lie with me, my sister.”
She answered him, ”No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing.
As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.”
But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.
Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, ”Get up! Go!”
But she said to him, ”No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.” But he would not listen to her.
He called the young man who served him and said, ”Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her.”
Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves, for thus were the virgin daughters of the king dressed. So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her.
And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.
And her brother Absalom said to her, ”Has Amnon your brother been with you? Now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother; do not take this to heart.” So Tamar lived, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom’s house.
When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry.
But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had violated his sister Tamar.
After two full years Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons.
And Absalom came to the king and said, ”Behold, your servant has sheepshearers. Please let the king and his servants go with your servant.”
But the king said to Absalom, ”No, my son, let us not all go, lest we be burdensome to you.” He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing.
Then Absalom said, ”If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.” And the king said to him, ”Why should he go with you?”
But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.
Then Absalom commanded his servants, ”Mark when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then kill him. Do not fear; have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant.”
So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and each mounted his mule and fled.
While they were on the way, news came to David, ”Absalom has struck down all the king’s sons, and not one of them is left.”
Then the king arose and tore his garments and lay on the earth. And all his servants who were standing by tore their garments.
But Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, said, ”Let not my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men the king’s sons, for Amnon alone is dead. For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day he violated his sister Tamar.
Now therefore let not my lord the king so take it to heart as to suppose that all the king’s sons are dead, for Amnon alone is dead.”
But Absalom fled. And the young man who kept the watch lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, many people were coming from the road behind him by the side of the mountain.
And Jonadab said to the king, ”Behold, the king’s sons have come; as your servant said, so it has come about.”
And as soon as he had finished speaking, behold, the king’s sons came and lifted up their voice and wept. And the king also and all his servants wept very bitterly.
But Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son day after day.
So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years.
And the spirit of the king longed to go out to Absalom, because he was comforted about Amnon, since he was dead.
Now Joab the son of Zeruiah knew that the king’s heart went out to Absalom.
And Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman and said to her, ”Pretend to be a mourner and put on mourning garments. Do not anoint yourself with oil, but behave like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead.
Go to the king and speak thus to him.” So Joab put the words in her mouth.
When the woman of Tekoa came to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and paid homage and said, ”Save me, O king.”
And the king said to her, ”What is your trouble?” She answered, ”Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead.
And your servant had two sons, and they quarreled with one another in the field. There was no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him.
And now the whole clan has risen against your servant, and they say, ‘Give up the man who struck his brother, that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed.’ And so they would destroy the heir also. Thus they would quench my coal that is left and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth.”
Then the king said to the woman, ”Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you.”
And the woman of Tekoa said to the king, ”On me be the guilt, my lord the king, and on my father’s house; let the king and his throne be guiltless.”
The king said, ”If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall never touch you again.”
Then she said, ”Please let the king invoke the LORD your God, that the avenger of blood kill no more, and my son be not destroyed.” He said, ”As the LORD lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”
Then the woman said, ”Please let your servant speak a word to my lord the king.” He said, ”Speak.”
And the woman said, ”Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in giving this decision the king convicts himself, inasmuch as the king does not bring his banished one home again.
We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.
Now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid, and your servant thought, ‘I will speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant.
For the king will hear and deliver his servant from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together from the heritage of God.’
And your servant thought, ‘The word of my lord the king will set me at rest,’ for my lord the king is like the angel of God to discern good and evil. The LORD your God be with you!”
Then the king answered the woman, ”Do not hide from me anything I ask you.” And the woman said, ”Let my lord the king speak.”
The king said, ”Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” The woman answered and said, ”As surely as you live, my lord the king, one cannot turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has said. It was your servant Joab who commanded me; it was he who put all these words in the mouth of your servant.
In order to change the course of things your servant Joab did this. But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God to know all things that are on the earth.”
Then the king said to Joab, ”Behold now, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Absalom.”
And Joab fell on his face to the ground and paid homage and blessed the king. And Joab said, ”Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has granted the request of his servant.”
So Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
And the king said, ”Let him dwell apart in his own house; he is not to come into my presence.” So Absalom lived apart in his own house and did not come into the king’s presence.
Now in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
And when he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels by the king’s weight.
There were born to Absalom three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a beautiful woman.
So Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king’s presence.
Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but Joab would not come to him. And he sent a second time, but Joab would not come.
Then he said to his servants, ”See, 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 fire.
Then Joab arose and went to Absalom at his house and said to him, ”Why have your servants set my field on fire?”
Absalom answered Joab, ”Behold, I sent word to you, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king, to ask, ”Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still.” Now therefore let me go into the presence of the king, and if there is guilt in me, let him put me to death.”’
Then Joab went to the king and told him, and he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.
After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta.
The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold.
When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.
When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, ”No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”
He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days.
It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him.
And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.
They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.
After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead.
Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days.
And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli.
There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome.
And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage.
And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier that guarded him.
After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, ”Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.
When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case.
But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar–though I had no charge to bring against my nation.
For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.”
And they said to him, ”We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you.
But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”
When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.
And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved.
And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: ”The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:
”Go to this people, and say, You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’
Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”
He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him,
proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.