As we continue our study of 2 Samuel, we come upon a sad story here in chapter 13. Rape is always a horrible violation. Here God’s Word, the Bible, does not sanitize this tragic event. But let’s look carefully at the first half of 2 Samuel 13:
Amnon, David’s son, fell in love with Tamar, the sister of Absalom. Jonadab, David’s brother, a very shrewd man, comes up with a plan for Amnon to pretend to be ill. King David falls prey to the scheme to have Tamar go and prepare food for the “sick” Amnon (vv. 1-6).
Tamar refused saying, “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel. Don’t do this wicked thing.” She adds, “Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And you would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Speak to the king and he will let you marry me.” Amnon refused to listen and he raped her (vv. 12-14).
Amnon’s “love” for Tamar turned to more intense hatred and orders her out. She refuses to leave (“Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what you have already done to me”), but is thrown out by Amnon’s personal servant and the door is bolted after her (vv. 15-18).
Tamar tore her ornate robe (which had been a sign of her innocence), put ashes on her head, and went away weeping (v. 19). Her brother Absalom tried to console her and she lived as a “desolate woman” in her brother Absalom’s house (v. 20).
King David was furious when he learned of this event. Absalom never said a word to Amnon, but he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar (v. 22).
Tomorrow we will see what action Absalom will take.
One takeaway for me: The Bible is no book for prudes. It tells this story of Tamar’s rape with an economy of words. The horror of Amnon’s sin is not sanitized. This is real-world reporting of a terrible transgression. I am grateful for the honest reporting of God’s Word, even when it comes to such a tragedy.