First a quick recap and then we’ll see what happens next in the life of David. He and Bathsheba’s child died and David responded by going “to the Tabernacle” (II Samuel 12:20b, NLT) and worshiping.
When questioned about this, “David replied, ‘I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me” (II Samuel 12:22-23). David understood that death was not the end of life but the beginning of everlasting life. David knew he would see his son again.
God forgave David and Scripture shows us that He no longer referred to Bathsheba as “Uriah’s wife” (II Samuel 12:15) but David’s “wife Bathsheba” (II Samuel 12:24a, NIV). However, as we’ve already seen, God’s forgiveness doesn’t stop the earthly consequences set in motion by a person’s sin.
Nathan the prophet was sent by God to confront David. This was part of His message: “Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you” ( II Samuel 12:11a). Again, we need to understand this isn’t God causing evil; this is God letting David know that the sin he committed had already set evil in motion and his family was going to suffer the fallout.
So the problems just kept coming. David, having a number of wives and concubines, produced quite a few children. First Chronicles 3:1-9 lists some, not all, of David’s progeny:
“These are the sons of David who were born in Hebron: The oldest was Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel. The second was Daniel, whose mother was Abigail from Carmel. The third was Absalom, whose mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. The fourth was Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith. The fifth was Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital. The sixth was Ithream, whose mother was Eglah, David’s wife. These six sons were born to David in Hebron, where he reigned seven and a half years. Then David reigned another thirty-three years in Jerusalem. The sons born to David in Jerusalem included Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon. Their mother was Bathsheba, the daughter of Ammiel. David also had nine other sons: Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet. These were the sons of David, not including his sons born to his concubines. Their sister was named Tamar” (NLT).
Tamar’s mother was Maacah, which made her a full sister to Absalom. Her heartbreaking story begins like this: “Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her. Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and Amnon thought he could never have her” (II Samuel 13:1-2).
While marriage between relatives was a common practice, there were limitations on what was allowed. Levitical law (see Leviticus 18) forbade a half-brother from taking a half-sister as his wife or concubine, and Amnon was fully aware of this restriction.
And being fully aware that what he had in mind was forbidden, he allowed himself to become totally obsessed with Tamar. Amnon wasn’t “desperately in love” – he was desperately in lust.
Amnon had a choice. He could have occupied his mind with other things and repented of his impure thoughts toward his half-sister. But you’ve heard the expression, “Like father, like son.” David had set an example that his son Amnon intended to follow.
“We cannot turn the clock back nor can we undo the harm caused” (Paul Kagame).
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates