Amnon, in lust with his half-sister Tamar, faked being sick and convinced his father David to “let my sister Tamar come and cook my favorite dish as I watch. Then I can eat it from her own hands” (II Samuel 13:6, NLT). David, apparently oblivious to how many red flags Amnon’s request should have raised, sent Tamar to him.
“When Tamar arrived at Amnon’s house, she went to the place where he was lying down so he could watch her mix some dough. Then she baked his favorite dish for him. But when she set the serving tray before him, he refused to eat. ‘Everyone get out of here,’ Amnon told his servants. So they all left” (II Samuel 13:8-9).
Amnon had his own house. Amnon had his own servants; and when he sent them all away, I have no doubt that an icy chill ran down Tamar’s spine. And this is strictly speculation, but I believe Tamar already knew her half-brother’s reputation – and that made the innocent young girl even more terrified.
But Tamar was a female living in a male-dominated environment; she’d had no say-so when her father had sent her to Amnon. She simply wanted to hand over the food and get out of there. But Ammon “said to Tamar, ‘Now bring the food into my bedroom and feed it to me here.’ So Tamar took his favorite dish to him. But as she was feeding him, he grabbed her and demanded, ‘Come to bed with me, my darling sister” (II Samuel 13:10-11).
“‘No, my brother!’ she cried. ‘Don’t be foolish! Don’t do this to me! Such wicked things aren’t done in Israel. Where could I go in my shame? And you would be called one of the greatest fools in Israel. Please, just speak to the king about it, and he will let you marry me’” (II Samuel 13:12-13).
Now you know and I know that Tamar had zero desire to marry Amnon. We also know that Tamar knew the law and that her father would never consent to such a marriage. What Tamar was doing was pleading for her life. For her dignity. For her purity. And then she fought for it.
“But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her, and since he was stronger than she was, he raped her” (II Samuel 13:14).
Amnon refused to control his emotions. Instead, Amnon willfully fulfilled his evil lust.
But who had done likewise? His father. Although the Bible doesn’t give us the details, Bathsheba was another man’s wife and it’s very unlikely that she was a willing participant when David had her brought to his bedroom.
David repented. God forgave him. But the example he set before his children could never be erased.
Carefully and prayerfully think before you speak. If what you’re about to say won’t honor Jesus, don’t say it. Carefully and prayerfully think before you act. If the action you’re considering will dishonor Jesus, don’t do it.
“We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.” (Ken Levine)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates