2 Samuel 13: 1-22
13 Some time later, David’s son Amnon fell in love with Tamar. She was the beautiful sister of Absalom. He was another one of David’s sons. 2 Amnon’s sister Tamar was a virgin. It seemed impossible for him to do what he wanted to do with her. But he wanted her so much it almost made him sick. 3 Amnon had a friend named Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimeah. Jonadab was a very clever man. 4 He asked Amnon, “You are the king’s son, aren’t you? So why do you look so worn out every morning? Won’t you tell me?” Amnon answered, “I’m in love with Tamar. She’s the sister of my brother Absalom.” 5 “Go to bed,” Jonadab said. “Pretend to be sick. Your father will come to see you. When he does, tell him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food right here in front of me where I can watch her. Then she can feed it to me.’” 6 So Amnon went to bed. He pretended to be sick. The king came to see him. Amnon said to him, “I would like my sister Tamar to come here. I want to watch her make some special bread. Then she can feed it to me.” 7 David sent a message to Tamar at the palace. It said, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house. Prepare some food for him.” 8 So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon. He was lying in bed. She got some dough and mixed it. She shaped the bread right there in front of him. And she baked it. 9 Then she took the bread out of the pan and served it to him. But he refused to eat it. “Send everyone out of here,” Amnon said. So everyone left him. 10 Then he said to Tamar, “Bring the food here into my bedroom. Please feed it to me.” So Tamar picked up the bread she had prepared. She brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. 11 She took it to him so he could eat it. But he grabbed hold of her. He said, “My sister, come and have sex with me.” 12 “Don’t do this, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me to have sex with you. An evil thing like that should never be done in Israel! Don’t do it! 13 What about me? How could I ever get rid of my shame? And what about you? You would be as foolish as any evil person in Israel. Please speak to the king. He won’t keep me from getting married to you.” 14 But Amnon refused to listen to her. He was stronger than she was. So he raped her. 15 Then Amnon was filled with deep hatred for Tamar. In fact, he hated her now more than he had loved her before. He said to her, “Get up! Get out!” 16 “No!” she said to him. “Don’t send me away. That would be worse than what you have already done to me.” But he refused to listen to her. 17 He sent for his personal servant. He said, “Get this woman out of here. Lock the door behind her.” 18 So his servant threw her out. Then he locked the door behind her. Tamar was wearing a beautiful robe. It was the kind of robe the virgin daughters of the king wore. 19 She put ashes on her head. She tore the beautiful robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away. She was sobbing out loud as she went. 20 When her brother Absalom saw her, he spoke to her. He said, “Has Amnon, that brother of yours, forced you to have sex with him? My sister, don’t let it upset you. Don’t let it bother you. He’s your brother.” After that, Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house. She was very lonely. 21 King David heard about everything that had happened. So he became very angry. 22 Absalom never said a word of any kind to Amnon. He hated Amnon because he had brought shame on his sister Tamar.
This is a story of a woman wronged and then made to keep silent. Tamar, young, beautiful and the daughter of King David, had a lot of promising prospects when it came to marriage. Yet, instantly, her dreams came crashing down around her.
Tamar was nursing her brother Ammon, who claimed to be ill, however, Ammon was a conniving man, tricking people
to get what he wanted and he raped her.
After her rape, her brother Absolom told her to keep quiet. When King David received word of this, he was enraged, but instead of demanding justice for Tamar, he did nothing.
What could Tamar do? Tamar had no one to go to with her pain. This rape has a tragic aftermath. Tamar becomes a desolate woman who never leaves her brothers home.
How do we feel about those who have been sexually assaulted, or
how do we react if we know someone who has abused another person. To the victim, do we reassure them that they are not alone in feeling shamed, unloved, or desolate?
As difficult as it may be, do we speak up and address sin to the perpetrator or the authorities? Do we ignore sin or do we deal with it? Do we pray for the perpetrator to repent and turn away from sin?
God cared about Tamar, he cared about her story. He cares about us and He cares about our stories.
Father, your word says that you are close to the broken hearted, thank you for the truths in this passage. Even when a crime is committed, it might seem that you aren’t there, but You are faithful, You care deeply for our pain, and You are there in our healing. Amen
Written by Cath Croft