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Amnon, Tamar and Absalom: Love and Hate Among the Sons of David
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Amnon and Absalom are brothers, both sons of King David, possible future adversaries in the succession to the throne of Israel. Tamar is a sister of Absalom and half-sister of Amnon. They appear in the second narrative arc of the Davidic cycle, which begins in 2 Samuel 7, when God promises the king of Israel that he will build him a house, that is, a dynasty.

According to biblical scholar Jean-Pierre Sonnet, “the oracle of Nathan, an emblematic example of a long-range oracle, anticipates the continuation of the Davidic cycle into the story of his ‘House’ – and thus of the vicissitudes of his fatherhood – and offers a framework for understanding all that will follow.” In particular, the problematic figures of Amnon and Absalom are presented after the verdict formulated by the prophet Nathan against David because of the crimes he had committed: “You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and taken away the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife” (2 Sam 12:9-10). In what way, then, will the sword, that is, war, impact David’s family?

Amnon is a sick and ruthless man whose distorted affectivity will have heavy repercussions on the house of David, opening a long series of conflicts, which will continue over many years. Absalom, on the other hand, is a less impulsive figure than his brother Amnon. He, in fact, will conceal at length his own hatred and desire for revenge, ultimately resulting in his dramatically pitting himself against his brother and his father. In all of this, Tamar, their sister, will emerge as the only positive figure in the tale. She will attempt to check the irrational violence that will be unleashed.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2024
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