She was exploited, violated and then left to mourn for the rest of her life. He was brutal, lived like a wild animal, and died like one. The story of Amnon and Tamar is one of the Old Testament’s foulest. It’s told in unhurried detail, so that we feel the complete outrage of this rape. Don’t look for deeper meanings or lessons in it; it is what is appears to be, a chronicle of shame.
Amnon commits incest and rape. Tamar is devastated (her pleading ignored by her predator, vv.12-15). His wicked heart is shown to be worse still, since he discards the woman he abused as so much rubbish (vv.15-18). Her life is broken.
The first two men whose reactions we encounter seem to have different responses to Tamar. Absalom tries to comfort her, whereas David is furious (vv.20-22). David, however, fails to work out the justice he should as Israel’s King. His silence is the result of his own personal compromise with Bathsheba. Sin robs us of conviction to do the right thing. Absalom plots Amnon’s death, and will do so, even if he waits for two years before he works out his plan.
Vengeance achieved, Absalom flees (v.38). Still, the king’s heart goes after him. The family is, as God promised, living out the bitter fruits of their father’s sin (cf 2 Sam. 12.10). Sexual ruin and bloodshed follow David’s fall in those areas.
Pity David and his house. Learn from them. Noone can escape sin, not a king, or a prince, and not a poor man, either. We are sinful from our mother’s womb, and we make disastrous choices, and have to live them out (and inflict them on others). You lust, rage, nurse your revenge, and crush others? You need a Saviour. And you have one.
A Prayer to Pray
I hide myself in You, Jesus Christ. You alone can shield me from sin’s destruction, and save me from the judgement my sin deserves. Thankyou that You, though pure, became sin for me. You are my hope alone, and I need no other. Amen.