Amnon rapes his sister Tamar and is killed by their brother Absalom while drunk two years later
Gaspare Traversi (1722-1770)
Monastero di S. Paolo fuori le Mura, Rome, ItalyABSALOM MEURDERS AMNON
Amnon, King David’s son, becomes sick with desire for his half-sister Tamar. His cousin Jonadab, son of David’s brother Shimeah, asks Amnon what is wrong and Amnon declares his love for Tamar. Jonadab suggests that Amnon fake illness so that David will visit him; then Amnon will be able to ask David to send his daughter Tamar to cook for him. Amnon follows Jonadab’s advice: the king accepts and Tamar comes to Amnon’s house to make cakes before him. When the cakes are ready, Amnon refuses to eat them and asks to be left alone with Tamar. He asks Tamar to take the cakes into his bedroom. When she brings the food to him, he seizes her and orders her to sleep with him. When Tamar spurn his advances, Amnon
rapes her. Amnon orders Tamar to get up and go, but she refuses, begging him to marry her. Amnon has his servant throw her out and lock the door behind her. Devastated, Tamar covers her forehead with ashes and goes to her brother Absalom. When Tamar tells him about the rape, Absalom asks her to forget about it, but is secretly filled with hate for Amnon. When King David learns of Amnon’s crime, he is furious but does nothing. Two years later, Absalom has a drunken Amnon killed by his servants.
THE RAPE OF TAMAR (LE VIOL DE TAMAR) Eustache Le Sueur, ca. 1640 - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
TAMAR ET AMNON Herman van der Mijn (possibly), 17th century - Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
AMNON AND TAMAR Anonymous, ca. 1650/1700 - High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, United States
AMNON AND TAMAR Nicolaes Verkolje, 1st half of the 18th century - The Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia
THE BANQUET OF ABSALOM Arrib. to Niccolò de Simone, ca. 1650 - Private collection
THE FEAST OF ABSALOM Mattia Preti, ca. 1665 - National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
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Bible text, Old Testament, Historical Books, 2 Samuel: 13, 1-29
"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. 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. But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man. 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. 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. 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. Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon's house, and dress him meat. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her. 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. 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. Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her. 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. 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.
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. But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth. And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar. 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. 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. 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. 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? But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. 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. 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".
GALLERIES THE BLOOD OF THE GRAPES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT