The story of Tamar, Amnon and Absalom on 2 Samuel 13 is one of the most poignant in the whole Bible yet like most tragedies and crises it is replete with priceless lessons particularly for women. The writer feels there is no better time to share the invaluable lessons than now as we are still gripped by the euphoria of International Women’s Day.
Amnon was David’s oldest son and according to the dictates of Near Eastern culture, he was destined to be his father’s heir. Absalom and Tamar were siblings born to David by Maacah, a princess from a neighboring kingdom. The Bible records that when David took the wife of his trusted lieutenant Uriah and engineered his death by the sword at war, God sent Nathan the prophet with a chilling prophecy that the sword would not depart from David’s house (2 Samuel 12 v 10-12).
The game of life is like the game of boomerang. Whatever you throw at others, comes back to you with chilling accuracy. The Buddhists call it karma, in Christendom we call it reaping what you would have sown. David whored and killed an innocent man; tragedy came back to him pressed down, shaken together and running over by way of incest and murder amongst his very kith and kith.
Israelites do not just name their kids. To them names are prophetic and their bearers usually live lives that are fashioned along their names. Jacob lived a fraudulent life as long as he was called Jacob(deceiver) until his name was changed to Israel which means prince. Yet, poignantly for David none of his kids answered to the names he gave them. Tamar means fruitfulness, yet she never got any opportunity to be married. Amnon means faithful yet he raped his own sister and Absalom means his father’s peace yet his own brother fell by his sword.
Just how did it circumstances spiral that much out of control?
As with most things in life, families do not disintegrate at the arrival of dawn, or dusk. Day by day satanic inferences creep into our homes and we ignore them till one day we wake up with tragedy on our hands.
David for his greatness was a man who was indulgent to his sons. The Bible records on 2 Samuel 13 that Amnon developed a demonic sexual attraction on his sister Tamar. So great was what he felt for her that he literally became ill.
Reader, Listen, bare desires are not ill, but they become worrisome when they inspire you into darkness. When his shrewd friend saw him haggard, the friend gave him a cunning plan. Amnon feigned sickness and word reached the King that his Crown Prince was on his deathbed. Naturally there was much ado;
David himself visited the young man. At the behest of his wicked friend, Amnon requested a very strange cure. He didn’t call for doctors or specialists; he called for his sister Tamar. Although the request was unorthodox seeing that women weren’t allowed into male quarters, David obliged without questioning his son why he needed Tamar not a doctor.
David was more concerned with making his son happy even though his heir was wrong. David unwittingly led his own daughter to slaughter to appease the unusual and unbecoming fetish of his son.
Homing in closer, how many women have been sacrificed at the expense of men? A man foolishly led by the bottle gets into a fight and in drunken rage kills someone. In African protocol, to appease the avenging spirit of the slain, a woman has to be given in forced marriage!
Out of genuine sisterly love for her “ailing” brother, Tamar kneaded dough and baked bread for him. Amnon ordered everyone out of the room. Again at this juncture questions, should have been asked but no one dare to because the person breaching protocol was the crown prince. That is why any institution from marriage to nationhood should have the rule of law. The law should govern! It should be sacrosanct lest the elite bend it at their will as did the diabolical Amnon.
The servants all sneaked out of the room in silence. When she brought the food to him, he grabbed her and said “Sleep with me my sister” (2 Samuel 13 v 11) . Tamar sought to appeal to his conscience but it was in vain because Amnon had no conscience. Yet dear reader, conscience just doesn’t die. By degrees we become numb to reason and morality every time our conscience whispers to us against devilish deeds but we do them anywhere. Tamar said to him “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. 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.” But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her. (2 Samuel 13 v 12-14). Tamar rightly calls rape a wicked thing and rapists wicked fools.
This Woman’s Week let us rise up as society and condemn the wickedness of rape. A woman even in marital setting has a right to say no and the man has no right to force himself on her just because she is his woman! Real men don’t take advantage of their superior physical strength over women to force themselves on them. After the heinous act, the Bible records that Amnon hated Tamar more than he had loved her before!
As an aside let me say, that is the sad case most women often find themselves in. They meet a guy and gullibly they give their bodies thinking sex will make him stay. To us men, sex does not equal a relationship! He will be nice and be very there all of that being bait to get into her pants. After he has conquered, the calls, texts and lunches stop! He now hates her more than he loved her.
He saw, he conquered, he came! So he moves to a new conquest. Check the metamorphosis, prior to the act, Amnon addressed Tamar as Tamar or my sister yet after the act, she became “That woman!”
After Amnon sends Tamar out, she rent her clothes and put ashes on her head. She wailed loudly, heart throbbing sobs of a wretched woman. She had lost that which God ordained that a woman loses but once albeit in the cruel fashion called rape. She is met by Absalom her brother who says “ 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 (2 Samuel 13 v 20) .
I so love this portion of Scripture! Rejection by one does not mean rejection by all! I know that there are women today with demonically low self esteems. Just because they got rejected or divorced by one other man in the past they think that they are unlovable and unworthy. I pray as I write this, may God give you your Absalom dear sister, a man who will love you and take you into his life just as you are…torn clothes, ashes and “non-hymenated” !
Amnon may have thrown Tamar out but Absalom took her in. Amnon may have abused her, but Absalom valued her! Every woman deserves her Absalom to wash away the pain of the stupid Amnons who left! And dear sister, Absalom need not to be a physical man at times, before a man in jeans comes, know that there is a Man who loves you so crazily that He chose to die for you! His Name is Jesus Christ! We natural men may have hurt you but He like Absalom will take you in and love you just as you are warts and all!
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
Mitchell Munyaradzi Gumbo is a male Social Psychology student with an interest in Human Behavior and Interpersonal Relationships. He writes here n his own capacity and can be contacted on
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