But Amnon Had A Friend


Amnon was burning with lust over his sister–enough to make himself sick. The text tells us that it seemed impossible to Amnon to “do anything to her” (2 Sam. 13:2). And maybe that would have been all to the story–a time of madness that came and went, restrained by decorum, taboo, or shame. But we are told that “Amnon had a friend” (2 Sam. 13:3). Jonadab, Amnon’s cousin, could have changed the course of many lives by acting wisely here. He could have been the voice of wisdom, advising Amnon of how foolish his lusts were for the son of the King. He could have been the voice of restraint, cautioning Amnon of the danger to his soul. He could have been the voice of indignation, alerting Amnon to what this act would do to his sister. But he did not of these things. Instead, Jonadab provoked Amnon’s lusts, providing encouragement, sympathy, and a pathway to fulfillment. Jonadab’s counsel was one large contributing factor to Amnon’s death, Tamar’s desolation, Absolom’s revenge, and the fall of David’s house.

Matthew Henry writes, “In reality, the friend was more guilty than the culprit. The one was blinded by passion; the other was self-possessed and cool. The cool man encourages the heated; the sober man urges on the intoxicated…Note, The case of those is very miserable whose friends, instead of admonishing and reproving them, flatter them and forward them in their sinful ways, and are their counsellors and contrivers to do wickedly.”

The mark of a true friend is his concern for your soul. Do they associate with you because you validate their sin, or do they wish for your holiness? Do they want you to indulge with them in sin, or do they act as an extra set of eyes, serving at the watchtower when you are weak? Does their company make you better, drawing out of you virtue, or does your behavior together center around vice? You may not realize it, especially since many are formed so early, but one of the greatest influences upon the experiences and direction of your life will be the friends in which you choose. May God give you a Jonathan and a Nathan, and may He give you strength enough to banish a Jonadab.