Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy: “We support biblical families.”

Today’s Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day: Absalom and Amnon (2 Samuel 13:23-39).

After two full years Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons. Absalom came to the king, and said, “Your servant has sheepshearers; will the king and his servants please go with your servant?”

But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son, let us not all go, or else we will be burdensome to you.”

He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing. Then Absalom said, “If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.”

The king said to him, “Why should he go with you?” But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.

Absalom made a feast like a king’s feast. Then Absalom commanded his servants, “Watch when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then kill him. Do not be afraid; have I not myself commanded you? Be courageous and valiant.” So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons rose, and each mounted his mule and fled.

While they were on the way, the report came to David that Absalom had killed all the king’s sons, and not one of them was left. The king rose, tore his garments, and lay on the ground; and all his servants who were standing by tore their garments. But Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah, said, “Let not my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men the king’s sons; Amnon alone is dead. This has been determined by Absalom from the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar. Now therefore, do not let my lord the king take it to heart, as if all the king’s sons were dead; for Amnon alone is dead.”

But Absalom fled. When the young man who kept watch looked up, he saw many people coming from the Horonaim road by the side of the mountain. Jonadab said to the king, “See, the king’s sons have come; as your servant said, so it has come about.” As soon as he had finished speaking, the king’s sons arrived, and raised their voices and wept; and the king and all his servants also wept very bitterly.

But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. David mourned for his son day after day. Absalom, having fled to Geshur, stayed there for three years. And the heart of the king went out, yearning for Absalom; for he was now consoled over the death of Amnon.

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  • Oh look, it’s Jonadab again. First he tells Amnon how to get his sister alone, and then he’s off scurrying to curry favor with David to make sure nobody will harm him.

    How contemptible a weasel is that guy?

  • Münchner Kindl

    So Absalom is such a coward that he tells his servants to do the actual killing of his (half)brother instead of doing it himself. Or does it count as less guilt?

  • I suspect he was going for practicality. It’s easier to hire a faceless mook to bump someone else off than to do it yourself if you’re high-profile.

  • Foreigner

    The rest of David’s sons come off very badly here. Avenge their slain brother? Make a formal protest, even? Nope, onto their mules for the slowest getaway ever. The sheepshearers and mules illustrate what a small context this story is set in; the entire kingdom of David is very small potatoes.

  • It sounds like they all took off because they expected a civil war to break out and had no intention of being caught in the middle.

    Some support for Tamar they showed, all right. (-_-)

  • I actually saw it fairly differently, since he’s giving fairly good advice in this part. 

    I really don’t know what’s going on with him – he actually seems pretty sure of what has actually happened here, given that apparently the only report is that Absalom has killed all his brothers.  I mean, even given that Absalom has an understandable motive for killing Amnon it doesn’t guarantee he couldn’t be making a bid for power, or punishing the whole pack of them for Amnon’s actions. 

    The only way I can see for him to be so damn sure of what has happened if it he’s actually complicit in the plot. 

    Maybe he’s a weasel. Maybe he feels guilty, didn’t realise Amnon would actually do what he did. 

    Incidentally, I tried to find out more about the guy and his dad, who it keeps mentioning, but it just seems that the dad is primarily mentioned in the bible in the role as father of Jonadab and also Jonathan, who seems to be more the strong, silent type. 

  • AnonaMiss

    Absalom is characterized throughout his story as vain and not much of a warrior; I really wouldn’t be surprised if he just didn’t want to muss his hair.

    …I wonder if him caring so much about his sister was intended as part of that characterization?

  • Carstonio

    Stories like this remind me of the dramas in the Vanger family in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I first heard of the story from the Book of Lists entry Incestuous Couples of the Bible, and for years I heard the name in my head as “Abalsom” because that sounded like Abel.

  • Carstonio

    Now I imagine a parody TV series that gives the stories in this series the reality-show treatment.

  • That said I’ll take Absalom doing right by his sister over Amnon any day.

  • P J Evans

     I’m wondering if Jonadab was hoping for both Amnon and Absalom to end up dead or disinherited, with him getting a really good position in court when they’re out of the way.

  • There is that, which makes David’s entire family, save Absalom and Tamar, pretty much a bunch of prize jerks.

  • Martin

    Jeez, these Biblical Families of the Day really suck. It’s like they can’t even pretend to like each other.

  • Katie

    Abalom may also have thought that having a group of people attack his brother when he was drunk was more likely to work than him trying to do it on his own.

  • My thought was that if, during what was effectively a succession crisis and probable coup attempt, all mighty King David and his trusted advisors did was rip their expensive clothing to show their grief and sit around bawling.
    How about ‘Double the guard on the palace with my trusted chosen men?’
    This is why kings were never a good idea. 
    Well, one reason, anyway.

  • Amaryllis

    Jonadab was David’s nephew, which makes him cousin to Amnon and Absalom and Tamar and all. (me and my cousins, and you and your cousins…)

    Maybe he resented the fact that his father, David’s older brother, had been passed over for the kingship. Maybe he was like the “Spitting Cousin” in the Jez Lowe song:
    Instead of too much time to rue my lot
    I could’ve been the one to have the things you’ve got

    Maybe he was happy to cause trouble among the relatives who outranked him. Or maybe he was a weasel.

    The Chick-fil-A Poem of the Day, from Ogden Nash:

    One would be in less danger
    From the wiles of the stranger
    If one’s own kin and kith
    Were more fun to be with.