New Defender's Study Bible Notes
13:1 Tamar. Both Absalom and Tamar were children of Maacah, one of David’s many wives. Amnon was David’s eldest son, born of Ahinoam (II Samuel 3:2). The tragic events described in this chapter (Amnon’s rape of Tamar and murder by Absalom, followed by the scattering of David’s other sons) were at least in part an outgrowth of the polygamous relationships contracted by David. Even though he was a godly man in many respects, David took many wives and concubines, and he should have known this was not pleasing to God (Genesis 2:18,21-24).
13:12 no such thing. Incest was strictly forbidden in the law of God (Leviticus 18:9; 20:17).
13:21 was very wroth. David was angry at Amnon, but did nothing about it. Amnon was his firstborn son (II Samuel 3:2), yet his crime, according to the law, was a capital crime. Even if David could not prescribe such a penalty for his son, he should have done something. After waiting for two years (II Samuel 13:23), Absalom decided to act on his own.
13:29 and fled. The remaining sons of David, fearing a blood purge of the whole family by Absalom to secure the crown for himself, immediately fled. A similar purge had occurred among Gideon’s sons, carried out by Abimelech (Judges 9:4,5).
13:37 Talmai. Talmai was Absalom’s grandfather (II Samuel 3:3), ruling Geshur, a small city-state in what is now Syria. Although David was angry with Amnon for raping Tamar (II Samuel 13:21), he had apparently done nothing to punish him, and Absalom was afraid that he himself would be executed for taking the law into his own hands and slaying the king’s firstborn son.