Merciful Father, as I read your Word each day, help me to apply the truths it holds for me.
Read 2 SAMUEL 13:1-22
Amnon and Tamar
13 In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David.
2 Amnon became so obsessed with his sister Tamar that he made himself ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.
3 Now Amnon had an adviser named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man. 4 He asked Amnon, “Why do you, the king’s son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?”
Amnon said to him, “I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”
5 “Go to bed and pretend to be ill,” Jonadab said. “When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it from her hand.’”
6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to him, “I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some special bread in my sight, so I may eat from her hand.”
7 David sent word to Tamar at the palace: “Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him.” 8 So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it. 9 Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat.
“Send everyone out of here,” Amnon said. So everyone left him. 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. 11 But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.”
12 “No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. 13 What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” 14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.
15 Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, “Get up and get out!”
16 “No!” she said to him. “Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what you have already done to me.”
But he refused to listen to her. 17 He called his personal servant and said, “Get this woman out of my sight and bolt the door after her.” 18 So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. She was wearing an ornate[a] robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore. 19 Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.
20 Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.” And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman.
21 When King David heard all this, he was furious. 22 And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.
- 2 Samuel 13:18 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain; also in verse 19.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer, Gracious Savior of my ruined life.’* His redemption heals our damaged lives.
We were warned of coming family breakdown (2 Samuel 12). Our own family’s experience of fostering children taught us the sad lesson of generational dysfunctionality. All the children we fostered had a parent or parents who had been in care. Breaking that cycle is hugely difficult, although thankfully, not impossible. David’s lifestyle leaves an imprint on his family; their privilege breeding the sense of entitlement that says, ‘you take what you want.’ His son Amnon is obsessed with his half-sister and his ‘unprincipled self-indulgence’** leads to the intrigue that will end in Tamar’s rape. Her resistance confirms there is no consent, but his abuse of power, sadly modeled by his father, rides roughshod over all her objections.
The rape is quickly over and Amnon’s desire turns to repulsion. But for Tamar, ejected as if she is the offender, the implications of abuse remain. She finds shelter in her brother Absalom’s home, but is left ‘bitter and desolate’ (v 20, The Message), her whole life impacted by a moment of ultimately unsatisfying hedonism. Further trouble awaits as Absalom stores up his enmity. David is angry ‘but he did not punish his son Amnon’ (see verse 21).*** He loved Amnon for one thing, but he also was effectively silenced by the accusation of hypocrisy. What could he say? And so, a tragic episode begins.
Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Galatians 6:7 (NLT)
Tender Lord, where there are wounds that no amount of time can heal, I look to you to repair and restore, to give comfort and hope.
*‘O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer’, Nathan Stiff/Sovereign Grace Worship 2017
***The Dead Sea Scrolls manuscript and Greek Version add this phrase.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Discovery is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.