Summary: The prophesy in 2 Sam. 12:11 is fulfilled here. The calamity from God to David's household was just, destructive and unstoppable for who can stop an angry God? No one. So the point is to fear God and to think twice before intentionally sinning against God
2 Samuel 12:11 says, “This is what the Lord says: out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you” (NIV). Now this calamity is happening in chapter 13. In this chapter the emphasis of this calamity in David’s household as God’s punishment sends a chilling effect to the first readers and hearers of this passage. It creates fear for God. This shows how God can ruin a life if He wants to. And the worst thing about is no one can do anything with it-for who can stand against an angry God? Who can calm an angry God? No one, not even David who is considered as a "man after God’s own heart."
In our world nowadays, when someone sins, a word of comfort is extended to him or her by telling them about God’s mercy and grace. This is a good thing. This somehow gives comfort on the sinners: to appease their troubled and guilty soul. The sense of comfort focuses on the restoration of peace to the person. Everyone needs this for we all are guilty of sinning against God. However, the disadvantage of it is, a sinner can abuse the grace and mercy of God and thus can continually sin. We forget an important ingredient in dealing with sin-that is the fact that God deals with sin. This chapter deals with the other side of the coin: how God gives us a sense of balance between Him and the sinner. This chapter focuses on God and His actions towards the sinner, in this case, David. God brings calamity on David’s life and it brought disastrous effect on him personally, on his family, and even on his kingship. It now gives David an opportunity to think twice whether or not he will sin against God again. I think the reaction of the first readers of this narrative is fear upon God. And I think this is the main point of the writer on telling this narrative. The calamity on David’s household is a clear picture of what God can do towards the people who sin against Him.
I have observed that David’s love for Bathsheba was echoed in Amnon’s love for Tamar. They were both unacceptable because Bathsheba was married and Tamar was Amnon’s half sister. I also observed that the craftiness of David in setting up a plot in taking Bathsheba, covering his sins that ultimately led to the murder of Uriah echoes the craftiness of Jonadab in advising Amnon. I also observed that the helplessness of Tamar to defend herself from Amnon who was more powerful echoes the helplessness of Bathsheba and Uriah in the hands of King David who used his power to get what he wanted. Lastly, the premeditated plan to kill of Uriah by David echoes also Absalom’s plot to kill Amnon.
The writer reveals to us that the calamity that God brought to the household of David was very personal to him, thus it has a more chilling effect. It hurts more when bad things happen to your own family and you can’t do anything about it. When David took Uriah’s wife, plotted to kill Uriah by sending him to where the fiercest battle is happening, David somehow was inconsiderate to the feelings of others who was dear to them. He seems to be detached to the emotional suffering of others. Now the writer allows us to see that David has tasted the cup of his own evil action. This is how God justly punished David. The worst thing of it is it happened to his own family who was so dear to him.
The writer carefully detailed and embedded the actions of David and echoed it in chapter 13 through the actions of Amnon, Jonadab, and Absalom to reveal to us on how God allowed the same thing to happen in David’s household. The writer exposed to us the reality of life in the hands of an angry God. David suddenly became vulnerable because God withdraws His protection from him. His family and his kingdom also became vulnerable. We can see here that if in chapter 12, we understood that the life of David was now in the hands or mercy of God because of his sins, now we can see that even success, the family that David has built is in the same way lie in the hands or mercy of God. It was also suddenly ruined by the execution of God’s punishment. David’s inaction to what happened to Tamar reveals the severity of the act of God that David was found unable to fix the problem. Of course how can David fix something that God has already ruined. He can’t overrule or overpower God. What David can only do at this time is hope that God would change His mind or just accept the consequences of his action right before his eyes.