The series of narratives that follow, as far as 2 Samuel 22, are chiefly accounts of the misfortunes that befel David and his household after his great sin. These are entirely omitted from the Chronicles, which also omit the account of that sin.
Absalom and Tamar were children of Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, and the former, at least, had been born during David’s reign at Hebron (2 Samuel 3:3). It is probable that the events here narrated occurred soon after the war with the Ammonites and David’s marriage with Bath-sheba.
Amnon was David’s first-born son (3:2).
It appears from the narrative that the king’s children lived in different households, and each grown-up son dwelt in his own house.
Sent home.—Literally, into the house; i.e., to the private apartments of the women—the harem.
Upon his mule.—Although David had reserved a number of horses from the spoil of his Syrian victories (2 Samuel 8:4), the mule was still ridden by persons of distinction (2 Samuel 18:9; 1 Kings 1:33; 1 Kings 1:38). The breeding of mules was forbidden in the Law (Leviticus 19:19), but they were brought in by commerce (1 Kings 10:25).
By the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined.—Literally, upon Absalom’s mouth it hath been set, an expression which has given rise to much variety of interpretation. The Authorised Version expresses the sense accurately.
Behind him—i.e., from the west, the Oriental always being supposed to face the east in speaking of the points of the compass.
For his son every day.—Amnon is certainly the son here meant, for whom David continually mourned until his grief was gradually assuaged by the lapse of time.