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Prince Amnon is a character in the Hebrew bible, originating from the Book of Samuel. Despite being the eldest son of David, Amnon was a sinful and villainous individual whose crimes led to a lot of grief and trauma for his entire family.

Biography

Amnon was the eldest son of David and heir to his throne, but grew into a twisted and sinful young man as the years went by.

Amnon had a beautiful and kind half sister, named Tamar, whom he had an overwhelming sexual desire for, but he couldn’t get alone with him to take advantage of her and Tamar was a virgin whom would never agree to engage in an incestous tryst.

Amnon went to his cousin and advisor, Jonadab, telling him of his supposed "love" for his sister and desire to violate her. The crafty and wicked Jonadab told Amnon to pretend to be very sick and bedridden, than request a special meal from Tamar to be delivered to his bedside.

Concerned for her brother, Tamar brought cakes to Amnon’s room, but he insisted he could only eat when they were alone in the room. After ordering all servants to leave his room, Amnon immediately seized his sister.

Despite Tamar begging him not to do it and even pleading with her half brother to ask their father to marry her first, Amnon overpowered his sister and violently raped her. After the deed was done, Amnon’s "love" was exposed for the depraved lust it really was, and now that this desire was sated, he felt hatred for his half sister.

Amnon subsequently ordered Tamar banished from his home, ignoring her pleas and refusing to make any apologies, he further shamed her by treating her as an object of revulsion. Tamar was left traumatized, and whilst David was horrified by his Amnon’s actions, he couldn’t bring himself to punish his firstborn son. Tamar’s brother, Absalom was disgusted by Amnon’s actions and their father allowing it to go unpunished, secretly swearing revenge on both.

Two years later, Absalom invited Amnon to a party whereupon the latter engorged himself on wine. When Amnon fell asleep, Absalom and his servants killed him. Absalom subsequently fled to avenge his father’s wrath and plotted to overthrow him.

Amnon’s actions led to Absalom’s fallout with his father and eventual death, as well as Tamar becoming a recluse that never married. Even David himself eventually realized he had failed his daughter, Absalom and in disciplining Amnon.

Personality

Encouraged by his status as the eldest son of David, Amnon was a despicable and cruel person who felt entitled to do whatever he wanted. He was described as crafty and deceitful. Though he initially claimed to be in love with Tamar, once he had sated his depraved lust over her, he immediately came to hate her, more strongly than his lust for her had ever been.

No version of the story has Amnon ever express any kind of remorse for his actions that traumatized Tamar and ruined her reputation. Anmom instead put all responsibility Tamar, accusing her of being a "harlot" and inspiring his lust, using it as an excuse to further mistreat her. Amnon was additionally noted to be a terrible guest and host, disregarding ancient rules about hospitality.

Noted

  • According to the Babylonian Talmud, Amnon was rendered a eunuch after the rape as a divine punishment. Amnon's death at the hands of Absalom is said in the same source as being further punishment from God after he banished his half sister instead of doing any kind of repentance.
  • Despite his role in assisting Amnon rape Tamar, Jonadab is never mentioned to have been punished and is last mentioned reporting to David about Amnon's assassination.

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