I. The Relationships (2Sam. 13:1,2)
The daughter of King David by Maacah; half-brother to Amnon, full-brother to Absalom.
II. The Rape (2Sam. 13:3-14)
Jonadab, Amnon’s friend, could have served as a good influence; instead, he served as the instigator. in fact, if you read this story and insert the name “Satan” in place of Jonadab, it’s the story of what Satan tries to do to a Christian.
III. The Reaction (2Sam. 13:15-22)
* By Amnon (v.15-18) * By Tamar (v.19) * By Absalom (v.20,22,23-29) * By David (v.21,32,33)
See Deuteronomy 22:28,29. Under Biblical law, it was unlawful for a man to have intercourse with his sister. Either these laws were not yet in effect, or they were overlooked by David, or they did not apply to the royal family.
Tamar was a victim. Her life changed forever when her half-brother, Amnon, felt attracted to her and devised a plan to seduce her. When she refused Amnon’s advances, her overpowered her and raped her.
Her problems multiplies from there. Amnon’s lust turned to hatred after the act. Absalom, her full brother, became angry when David did not punish Amnon, so he took matters into his own hands… killing Amnon. This started a feud with David that would eventually lead to Absalom’s attempted coup and eventual death. Tamar’s life was torn apart by sexual abuse. What Amnon did to her was not motivated by love, but by lust.
Our society is polluted by films, videos, magazines, and many internet sites that encourage – even glorify – lust. It is marketed as adult stimulation… as a victimless crime; but, lust always manifests itself in demeaning those around the one who lusts.
* Impure thoughts are not harmless thoughts. They are sin.
In 2Sam. 13:13, Tamar voices our heart’s deep concern when we are overcome with guilt and shame. Whether it is the result of our own doing or, like Tamar, through no fault of our own, we desperately want to rid ourselves of a feeling of disgrace. We don’t find the answer from within ourselves. And even those closest to us might dismiss or downplay our situation. Only God knows the depth of human shame, and only He can heal life’s pain.
Sometimes we don’t have a choice about what happens to us. But, the choices we make concerning the disgraceful incidents in our lives are crucial to our well-being during the rest of our lives.
We don’t know if Tamar turned to God in answer to her question. She may have chosen to continue to live her life in desolation.
* When it seems our past will ruin our future, we can turn to God for help.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) estimates that 1 in 6 American women have been victims of attempted rape or rape. Many women and girls experience abuse at the hands of the very people who should protect them and care for them. Memories off rape or sexual abuse often cause women to lost trust in other people, which makes healthy relationships impossible. Though professional health may be needed, we find our best comfort in God.
In cases of rape or abuse, women are often hurt again by the reaction of others. Some refuse to acknowledge what happened. Some accuse the victim of “asking for it”, or making up the story. Some treat it lightly… or say it’s something we don’t talk about. Some get angry at the abused rather than the abuser, because it had all been quiet and unknown until the victim spoke up.
Even when others try to burden you with false guilt, God knows the truth. Turn to Him.
In the culture of Bible times, loss of virginity by anyone other than one’s husband was considered a disgrace. Tamar was seen as being unmarry-able. See 2Sam. 13:20.
Did she ever forgive Amnon… even after he was gone? We’re not told.
What benefit would that have been to Tamar? Who is forgiveness really for?
Tamar, though innocent, found herself alone in a dangerous situation. We need to be on guard against letting ourselves be put in vulnerable situations even if we know those we’re with.
Tamar is a tragic reminder that sometimes terrible things happen to God’s people. And, at times, those we look to for help harm us, instead. Only God’s healing mercy and grace can restore our sense of self-worth and provide a fresh beginning.
Tamar’s experience serves as a warning NOT to keep quiet should we be violated as she was. For our own sake – and possible future victims – we need to do all we can to see that justice is done and closure is achieved.
You can read Tamar’s story in 2Samuel 13:1-22.