Calvary Road Baptist Church

“AMNON HAD A FRIEND”

Second Samuel 13.3-33

 

Turn in your Bible to Second Samuel 13. When you find that portion of God’s Word, stand as Gary Isenberger comes to read God’s Word.

 

1      And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.

2      And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.

3      But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.

4      And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.

5      And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.

6      So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.

7      Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house, and dress him meat.

8      So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.

9      And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.

10     And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.

11     And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.

12     And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.

13     And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.

14     Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.

15     Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.

16     And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.

17     Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.

18     And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.

19     And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.

20     And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.

21     But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.

22     And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.

23     And it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baalhazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king’s sons.

24     And Absalom came to the king, and said, Behold now, thy servant hath sheepshearers; let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants go with thy servant.

25     And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us not all now go, lest we be chargeable unto thee. And he pressed him: howbeit he would not go, but blessed him.

26     Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee?

27     But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.

28     Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.

29     And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.

30     And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left.

31     Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent.

32     And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.

33     Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.

34     But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came much people by the way of the hill side behind him.

35     And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king’s sons come: as thy servant said, so it is.

36     And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that, behold, the king’s sons came, and lifted up their voice and wept: and the king also and all his servants wept very sore.

 

Please take note of Second Samuel 13.3, where we read, “But Amnon had a friend.” Let me spend a few minutes before this morning’s sermon showing you a few things about Amnon’s friend, Jonadab, who also happened to be his first cousin.

 

First, HE WAS SUBTLE

 

We find Jonadab described that way at the end of verse 3. But to be even more accurate, we should note that he is there described as “a very subtil man.”

What is meant by such a description as this? John Joseph Owens, in his Analytical Key to the Old Testament, states that this means Jonadab was “a very crafty man.”[1] Others indicate that what is meant here is that Jonadab was a shrewd man.

Let me suggest that the Holy Spirit’s aim at this point is to show Jonadab to be someone who is not open, to be someone who is not forthright, to be someone who is not direct. He is a behind the scenes type of fellow, the kind who holds his cards close to his vest, who is the opposite of a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy.

There can be no doubt that David’s many wives, and the mingling together in the palace of half brothers and half sisters, along with the idle lifestyles of those children of privilege, created a very unhealthy environment with few restraints. If half brothers and half sisters living together in the almost communal lifestyle of David’s palace would spawn intense temptations and whet appetites, there can be no doubt that stepfather situations, and step brothers and step sisters, such as we have in these modern times, can also give rise to situations just as volatile, if steps are not taken to guard against them.

 

But Jonadab Was Not Only Subtle. HE WAS ALSO SUGGESTIVE.

 

The proper function of a real friend is to help you do right, to rebuke you when you say things that are sinful, and to correct you when you go off course. Is that what we see Jonadab doing for his friend, Amnon?

Read verses 4 and 5 with me again:

 

4      And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.

5      And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.

 

What Jonadab should have said to Amnon is, “Are you crazy? Do you have any idea what will happen to you if you lay a hand on Tamar? Absalom will kill you. Cousin, you need to find a good woman to marry, right this minute.”

But he didn’t do that, did he? Rather than warn Amnon, rather than rebuke Amnon, rather than try to stop Amnon, Jonadab devised a scheme for him to fulfill his wicked desires. Of course, and very tragically, Amnon did precisely what his “friend” suggested, ruining Tamar’s life and eventually resulting in his own death. What should Amnon have done instead of listening to his friend?

·         Proverbs 19.27 warns with these words: “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.” In other words, do not listen to anyone whose words would lead you astray, not even if he is a friend.

·         Proverbs 22.3 reads, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Had Amnon been prudent (which is to say, wise), he would have anticipated the outcome that his sinful desires guaranteed.

·         Proverbs 25.28: “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Is this not a perfect description of Amnon? Does he really need friends like Jonadab, or would he have been far better served by friends who would encourage him to do right?

·         Proverbs 27.12: “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Here it is again. The obvious flashing hazard light should have been words that he uttered himself, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” But he passed on, and was punished when Absalom had him killed.

Though our attention is quite naturally drawn to the incredibly foolish and destructive behavior of Amnon, the ruined life of his half sister Tamar, and the murderous vengeance of her brother Absalom, I want to draw your attention once again to Jonadab, Amnon’s “friend.”

How many “friends” like this have you seen in your lifetime, “friends” who come up with great schemes and plans for others to act out, for others to commit to, for others to risk everything for, while they stand back and watch from a safe distance? This is illustrated in the third point.

 

HE WAS A SURVIVOR

 

Verses 32 and 33 read,

 

32     And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.

33     Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.

 

Does this surprise you? It is no surprise to me. I have oftentimes seen people encouraged by their so-called friends to do things that result in catastrophe for them, while their so-called friends pay no price at all for the bad advice they give and their enticements for others to do evil.

 

Now look at verses 35 and 36:

 

35     And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king’s sons come: as thy servant said, so it is.

36     And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that, behold, the king’s sons came, and lifted up their voice and wept: and the king also and all his servants wept very sore.

 

So, Jonadab is nearby to offer lousy advice that ruins people’s lives if followed. But friends like him seem to be a safe distance away when the deeds are done, only close enough to see what is being done, without actually involving himself in the bad advice he gives. And when it is time to suffer the consequences, he is as far away as possible.

Jonadab is with King David, letting him know that his sons have returned, except for the dead Amnon and the fleeing Absalom, of course. Do you think Jonadab wept with David and his sons, and with the servants? I doubt it. Friends like him do not care what happens when people actually take their wicked suggestions.

However, lest you think Jonadab escaped punishment for his role in this wicked tragedy, lest you think the wicked friends who give bad advice and who encourage their foolish buddies to do wrong, get away with anything, assure yourself of one thing.

 

HE HAS BEEN SENTENCED

 

Romans 1.32 reads, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Was Amnon’s rape of his half sister a sin worthy of death? Yes, it was. As well, did Jonadab derive some perverse pleasure from his role as the mastermind and catalyst for the whole sordid affair? There is no doubt about it.

Then understand that Jonadab will just as surely face the judgment of God come the Great White Throne judgment as Amnon will for raping his half sister Tamar, and as Absalom will for avenging her. Jonadab is in Hell as I speak.

 

Friends. We all want friends. Most of us will do things to get and to keep friends. But what will you do to get a friend? How far will you go? And what will you do to keep a friend?

Moreover, what kind of friend is your friend? Is he a friend who is good for you? Or is he a friend who will end up being a calamity for your soul?

Think about your friends. Friends will always influence you. How do your friends influence you? What do they encourage you to do? Give some thought to your friends before this morning’s sermon.

 

SERMON:

 

What kinds of friends do you have? Do you have friends who are like Jonadab? Or do you have friends who will do you good?

In Genesis 11, we find two interesting verses in which the Hebrew word for friend is found, Genesis 11.3 and Genesis 11.7. Turn there and read those two verses with me:

 

3      And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.

 

7      Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.

 

In both verses, the word “another” translates the same Hebrew word for friend that we find in Second Samuel 13.3, “But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab.” However, in Genesis 11, the friends referred to were conspiring to disobey God’s command to go forth and replenish the earth after the Flood.

So, what did God do? He judged them by confounding their language, so they would not understand each other, thereby breaking up their “friendships” and scattering them over the whole earth.

With the time we have remaining, I would like you to consider your friends, and whether or not God would have you to cut loose from them so that you might avoid committing the terrible sins they suggest to you.

But before we do that, consider what is meant by the Hebrew word for friend found in our text. It is the Hebrew word er, which can refer to anything from a buddy to a lover, depending upon the context in which the word is used, but basically refers to someone with whom you are in some way intimate.[2]

That understood, what categories of relationships fall under this designation of friendship? What relationships should you carefully consider as the kind of friendship that Amnon had with Jonadab, who Amnon most certainly should not have allowed to influence him?

Allow me to suggest several:

 

First, THERE IS YOUR SPOUSE

 

It is very common for husbands and wives to have such good marriages these days that they refer to each other as best friends. The issue in such a marriage, however, is whether that spouse who is such a friend is the right kind of friend, or whether that spouse is a Jonadab to your Amnon.

Where does your spouse stand with regard to your faithfulness in service to God? Where does your spouse stand with respect to your attendance in every church service? Do you allow your spouse to keep you from serving God freely, fully, enthusiastically?

Some spouses encourage their mates to do wrong. Still other spouses will not encourage their mates to do right. Should you allow your spouse to have that kind of influence in your life? My Bible says “No.” Oh, how important it is to marry someone who is committed to serving God.

If you are a Christian man, God’s Word warns, “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings,” Proverbs 31.3. And if you are a Christian woman, God’s Word speaks loudly in a variety of ways concerning your responsibility to faithfully serve God with godly fear no matter what objections are raised by an unbelieving husband.

Does the person you are married to qualify as a friend, as someone you are intimate with? Of course. Even so, your first responsibility as a blood bought and blood washed child of God is to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness first. Never let a friend dissuade you from putting God first, from serving the Savior, even if that friend is your own husband or wife.

 

Next, THERE IS YOUR FAMILY

 

Keep in mind that Jonadab was Amnon’s first cousin. They were almost certainly raised in the same household, in the king’s palace, and they were likely inseparable. How else do you explain Amnon telling Jonadab the deepest and darkest secret of his wicked heart?

So, we have a record in God’s Word that is clearly intended to show that you should not allow a relative to influence you if that influence is contrary to God’s will for your life. That means you should not allow your brothers or sisters, or your cousins, or your in-laws, or even your parents, to entice you to commit sin, or to prevent you from serving God.

Is this not consistent with our Lord Jesus Christ’s warning, in Matthew 10.36? In that verse, my Lord said, “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Thus, your opponents, those who are dangerous to your spiritual well being, who do not wish you well, may very well be members of your own family.

What if you have a family member who is totally devoted to a hobby, and insists on your involvement? But that hobby is pursued ten or fifteen weekends each year, making it impossible for you to be faithful and consistent in your service to God if you involve yourself with that hobby? Or, worse yet, what if involvement in that hobby is an obstacle to your conversion?

Matthew 10.37 anticipates the kinds of conflicts that I am speaking of, when Jesus said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

My friend, you may feel hard pressed to choose between serving God and pleasing your loved ones. But if you keep in mind that Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for you, and that no one in your family has done that for you, then the choice though difficult to implement is easy to make.

 

Finally, WHAT IF YOUR FRIEND IS ONLY LOOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH YOU?

 

Perhaps the friend is some person you enjoy casual time with. Perhaps your friend is someone you pursue a hobby with. Or maybe it is someone you work with or someone you work for.

It could be anything from a boss who schedules you to work Sundays, thereby causing you to miss church, or a friend who owns a cabin and a boat on the river, who always invites you over to hang out with, thereby causing you to miss church.

Think about this, beloved. If scripture is very clear concerning the choices you make with respect to a husband or a wife, a sibling, a cousin, or an in-law, what doubt can there be when the friend who would influence you is only your boss or some guy you hang out with?

When seen in its proper light, would the child of God, could the child of God, allow a fishing buddy, or a mere job, or any other such thing, take him away from faithfully serving the Savior of his soul?

 

I would not imply that any of your “friends,” whether spouses or brothers, or anyone else, would suggest that you make improper advances toward your half sister. Such would be an extreme case, and quite rare. However, I am suggesting that your “friend” does have an influence in your life that he or she should not have. No one should have more influence in your life than God’s Word. Therefore, whenever someone would suggest to you that you do not need to be faithful, or would urge you to join him in something that keeps you from being faithful, or would justify any activity that hinders faithful service, then that “friend” is no good friend.

Say you are not feeling good. You are not really sick, but you just feel crummy. My friend, your husband is out of line when he suggests that you stay home. His advice is bad. What he should do is urge you to be faithful. And you should do the same for him when he feels dead tired at the end of a hard work day.

If your friend who owns the cabin and boat on the river is a real friend, he will urge you not to visit him if it meant missing church, if it meant blowing off evangelism, if it meant being unfaithful in your ministry.

Do these Jonadab type friends ever consider the kind of example that is being set for your children should you give in and do what they suggest?

Do they give any thought to thwarting your goal of raising tough-minded Christians with a deep commitment to serving God?

Alternatively, does it not bother them at all that enticing you to being inconsistent will likely result in your children being pansy evangelical Christians who use every excuse under the sun to miss church?

Not only do you need to set an example as the mom or dad, or perhaps the brother or sister, who chooses the right kinds of friends, but you also need to set an example as the one who refuses to allow any friend’s influence to keep you from doing what you know is the right thing to do.

Next week is our Friends Day. We will have a considerable of people who only have the kinds of friends who urge them to do wrong, who counsel them to reject the gospel, and who influence them in every way to gratify their lusts.

Next week may be our guest’s only opportunity to ever come under the influence of friends who are the right kinds of friends, rather than being the Jonadab kinds of friends. However, in order for you and me to be the right kind of friend to someone, you have to make sure you do not allow your friends to influence you wrongly.

Jesus suffered and bled and died for sinner’s sins, showing Him to be the best kind of friend any man could ever have. Having Him for a friend results in the forgiveness of sins, adoption into God’s family, and an eternity in heaven instead of an eternity in Hell. Therefore, if you are to succeed in introducing your friends to your Friend, you must be a friend, the right kind of friend. Are you the right kind of friend? Will you purpose to be the right kind of friend? For your service to Christ to be effective, you must be the right of friend.

Purpose to not be like Amnon’s friend, or to be an Amnon who has that kind of friend, but to be a real friend. Purpose to be a Christian friend.



[1] John Joseph Owens, Analytical Key to the Old Testament, Volume 2, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1989), page 326.

[2] Francis Brown, S. R. Driver & Charles A. Briggs, The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew And English Lexicon, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1979), pages 945-946.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org