Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:1
The history here, down to the end of 2 Sam. 23 (excepting a few particulars), is omitted in the Book of Chronicles.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:3
Shimeah - Called Shamma (marginal reference), was Jesse's third son.
Subtil - literally, wise. The word is generally used in a good sense, but here, and in Job 5:13, it means crafty.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:5
Make thyself sick - "Feign thyself to be ill." (Compare Sa2 14:2.)
That I may see it - He was to feign that he could not fancy anything that came from the kitchen, but that if he saw it cooked he should be able to eat it.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:6
Make me cakes ... a pan - The words here used occur nowhere else, and the etymology is doubtful. Some particular kind of cake or pudding is meant Sa2 13:8, called a לביבה lābı̂ybâh; according to some, it was, from its etymology, shaped like a heart.
The dish into which she poured the לביבה lābı̂ybâh was doubtless borne to him by one of the servants into the chamber where he lay, and from which, the doors being open, he could see the outer room where Tamar prepared the meat.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:12
Tamar's words are a verbal quotation from Gen 34:7. The natural inference is that Tamar knew the passage in Genesis, and wished to profit by the warning that it contained. (Compare also Sa2 13:13.)
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:13
My shame - Better, "my reproach." Compare Gen 30:23; Gen 34:14; Sa1 11:2.
Speak unto the king ... - It cannot be inferred with certainty from this that marriages were usual among half brothers and sisters in the time of David. The Levitical law forbade them (marginal reference), and Tamar may have merely wished to temporize. On the other hand, the debasing and unhumanizing institution of the harem, itself contrary to the law of Moses Deu 17:17, may well have led to other deviations from its precepts, and the precedent of Abraham Gen 20:12 may have seemed to give some sanction to this particular breach of it.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:16
The sense of the passage probably is, "And she spake with him on account of this great wrong in sending me away, greater than the other wrong which thou hast done me (said she), but he hearkened not unto her." The Hebrew text is probably corrupt, and the writer blends Tamar's words with his own narrative.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:18
A garment of divers colors - See Gen 37:3. Some prefer here (and there) "a tunic with sleeves," a tunic reaching to the extremities, i. e. the hands and feet, and worn over the common tunic, in room of a robe.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:19
Laid her hand on her head - To hold on the ashes (see the marginal references).
Went on crying - i. e. "went away, crying out as she went."
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:21
The Septuagint adds, what is a good explanation, "but he did not vex the spirit of Amnon his son, because he loved him, because he was his first-born." This want of justice in David's conduct, and favoritism to Amnon, probably rankled in Absalom's heart, and was the first seed of his after rebellion.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:23
Sheepshearing was always a time of feasting (marginal references). Baal-hazor is not known.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:26
He mentions Amnon as being the king's first-born. If he could not have the king's company, let him at least have that of the heir apparent, and the king's other sons.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:29
Upon his mule - So in Kg1 1:33, Kg1 1:38 the mule is the royal animal on which David himself rides. In Sa2 18:9 Absalom rides upon a mule.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:32
The history supplies another (compare Sa2 13:3) instance of Jonadab's subtlety and sagacity. He at once gave the true explanation of the catastrophe at Baal-hazor, in spite of the false rumour.
By the appointment of Absalom ... - Meaning that Absalom's resolution to slay Amnon had been formed at the time, and only waited an opportunity to give expression to it.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:34
Absalom fled - This is the sequel to Sa2 13:29. The king's sons rose from table and fled, and Absalom taking advantage of the confusion, also escaped and fled. This information is inserted here to account for the king's sons returning unmolested.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:35
The watchman, as his duty was, had sent immediate notice to the king that he saw a crowd approaching (see Kg2 9:17-20). Jonadab, who was with the king, was prompt to give the explanation.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:37
See the marginal reference.
Ammihur (see the margin) is found as a Punic name.
2 Kings (2 Samuel) 13:39
Longed to go forth - Rather, "longed after Absalom," literally, was consumed in going forth, with a sense of disappointed hope.