March 31: Day 90

Reading: 2 Samuel 13-15, Psalm 90 (ESV)

2 Samuel 13

Amnon and Tamar

1Now Absalom, David's son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David's son, loved her. 2And 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. 3But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David's brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man. 4And 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." 5Jonadab 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.'" 6So 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."

7Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, "Go to your brother Amnon's house and prepare food for him." 8So 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. 9And 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. 10Then 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. 11But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister." 12She answered him, "No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. 13As 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." 14But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.

15Then 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!" 16But 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. 17He called the young man who served him and said, "Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her." 18Now 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. 19And 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.

20And 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. 21When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. 22But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had violated his sister Tamar.

Absalom Murders Amnon

23After two full years Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons. 24And Absalom came to the king and said, "Behold, your servant has sheepshearers. Please let the king and his servants go with your servant." 25But 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. 26Then Absalom said, "If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us." And the king said to him, "Why should he go with you?" 27But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. 28Then 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." 29So 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.

30While 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." 31Then the king arose and tore his garments and lay on the earth. And all his servants who were standing by tore their garments. 32But 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. 33Now 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."

Absalom Flees to Geshur

34But 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. 35And Jonadab said to the king, "Behold, the king's sons have come; as your servant said, so it has come about." 36And 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.

37But Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son day after day. 38So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. 39And the spirit of the king longed to go out to Absalom, because he was comforted about Amnon, since he was dead.


2 Samuel 14

Absalom Returns to Jerusalem

1Now Joab the son of Zeruiah knew that the king's heart went out to Absalom. 2And 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. 3Go to the king and speak thus to him." So Joab put the words in her mouth.

4When 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." 5And the king said to her, "What is your trouble?" She answered, "Alas, I am a widow; my husband is dead. 6And 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. 7And 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."

8Then the king said to the woman, "Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you." 9And 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." 10The king said, "If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall never touch you again." 11Then 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."

12Then the woman said, "Please let your servant speak a word to my lord the king." He said, "Speak." 13And 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. 14We 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. 15Now 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. 16For 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.' 17And 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!"

18Then the king answered the woman, "Do not hide from me anything I ask you." And the woman said, "Let my lord the king speak." 19The 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. 20In 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."

21Then the king said to Joab, "Behold now, I grant this; go, bring back the young man Absalom." 22And 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." 23So Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24And 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.

25Now 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. 26And 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. 27There were born to Absalom three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a beautiful woman.

28So Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king's presence. 29Then 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. 30Then 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. 31Then Joab arose and went to Absalom at his house and said to him, "Why have your servants set my field on fire?" 32Absalom 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.'" 33Then 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.


2 Samuel 15

Absalom's Conspiracy

1After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, "From what city are you?" And when he said, "Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel," 3Absalom would say to him, "See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you." 4Then Absalom would say, "Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice." 5And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 6Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

7And at the end of four years Absalom said to the king, "Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the Lord, in Hebron. 8For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, 'If the Lord will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to the Lord.'" 9The king said to him, "Go in peace." So he arose and went to Hebron. 10But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, 'Absalom is king at Hebron!'" 11With Absalom went two hundred men from Jerusalem who were invited guests, and they went in their innocence and knew nothing. 12And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from his city Giloh. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.

David Flees Jerusalem

13And a messenger came to David, saying, "The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom." 14Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, "Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword." 15And the king's servants said to the king, "Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king decides." 16So the king went out, and all his household after him. And the king left ten concubines to keep the house. 17And the king went out, and all the people after him. And they halted at the last house.

18And all his servants passed by him, and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the six hundred Gittites who had followed him from Gath, passed on before the king. 19Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why do you also go with us? Go back and stay with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile from your home. 20You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, since I go I know not where? Go back and take your brothers with you, and may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you." 21But Ittai answered the king, "As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, there also will your servant be." 22And David said to Ittai, "Go then, pass on." So Ittai the Gittite passed on with all his men and all the little ones who were with him. 23And all the land wept aloud as all the people passed by, and the king crossed the brook Kidron, and all the people passed on toward the wilderness.

24And Abiathar came up, and behold, Zadok came also with all the Levites, bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God until the people had all passed out of the city. 25Then the king said to Zadok, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place. 26But if he says, 'I have no pleasure in you,' behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him." 27The king also said to Zadok the priest, "Are you not a seer? Go back to the city in peace, with your two sons, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28See, I will wait at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me." 29So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem, and they remained there.

30But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went. 31And it was told David, "Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom." And David said, "O Lord, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness."

32While David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and dirt on his head. 33David said to him, "If you go on with me, you will be a burden to me. 34But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, 'I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father's servant in time past, so now I will be your servant,' then you will defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel. 35Are not Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? So whatever you hear from the king's house, tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36Behold, their two sons are with them there, Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, and Jonathan, Abiathar's son, and by them you shall send to me everything you hear." 37So Hushai, David's friend, came into the city, just as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.


Psalm 90

Book Four

From Everlasting to Everlasting

A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.


1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place

in all generations.

2 Before the mountains were brought forth,

or ever you had formed the earth and the world,

from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3 You return man to dust

and say, "Return, O children of man!"

4 For a thousand years in your sight

are but as yesterday when it is past,

or as a watch in the night.

5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,

like grass that is renewed in the morning:

6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;

in the evening it fades and withers.

7 For we are brought to an end by your anger;

by your wrath we are dismayed.

8 You have set our iniquities before you,

our secret sins in the light of your presence.

9 For all our days pass away under your wrath;

we bring our years to an end like a sigh.

10 The years of our life are seventy,

or even by reason of strength eighty;

yet their span is but toil and trouble;

they are soon gone, and we fly away.

11 Who considers the power of your anger,

and your wrath according to the fear of you?

12 So teach us to number our days

that we may get a heart of wisdom.

13 Return, O Lord! How long?

Have pity on your servants!

14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,

that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,

and for as many years as we have seen evil.

16 Let your work be shown to your servants,

and your glorious power to their children.

17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,

and establish the work of our hands upon us;

yes, establish the work of our hands!