Monday, February 11, 2013

CXIII - II Samuel 13 - Amnon's Horrible Sin

The tragic turmoil of the David-Bathsheba-Uriah affair had subsided.  The child born of David's adultery had died, and afterward Solomon was born, who was to be Israel's next king.  The Ammonite-Syrian war ended victoriously, and there was peace in the palace and throughout the land.  Things seemed to be going well for David and for Israel.  Then David and his family would suffer a bitter blow, one which would have long-reaching consequences.

Back in II Samuel 3, we see the first six sons born to David.  David's first born was Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam.  His second son was Kileab, whose mother was Abigail the widow of Nabal (remember them?).  David's third son was Absalom, whose mother was Maakah, the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur.  Also born of David and Maakah was a daughter, Tamar.  So Tamar was Absalom's sister and Amnon's half sister.  The Scripture describes her as beautiful.

Amnon for a number of years looked upon his half sister Tamar with lust.  He had talked himself into thinking that he was in love with her.  {Bear in mind that Amnar was the eldest son of the king, which would have made everyone, including himself, think that he was the crowned prince and the next king of Israel.  This would have made Amnon a priviledged person; someone who was accustomed to getting anything and everything he wanted.  In other words, Amnon probably acted like a spoiled brat.}  As unsavory as Amnon was, he understood that his half sister was forbidden from him.  But so much did he lust after her that he made himself sick with covetousness.  Amnon's frustrated desire for Tamar dominated all his days, making him haggard and ill in appearance as well as in feeling and manner.  No matter how much he wanted Tamar, she was beyond his grasp.  As an unbetrothed virgin, she was restricted to the women's quarters of the palace and forbidden contact with the young men.  Vs 3 - Onto the scene comes Jonadab.  Jonadab was David's nephew and Amnon's cousin.  The Scripture describes Jonadab as "a very shrewd man".  {Jonadab wanted to get in Amnon's good graces.  If Amnon would become king, Jonadab could possibly be placed as the highest ranking official in the nation.}  vss 4--> Jonadab feigns interest in Amnon's well being with an expression of concern as to Amnon's sickly appearance.  As Amnon shares with Jonadab his feelings about Tamar, Jonadab devises a plan for Amnon to be able to spend some time alone with Tamar.  The plan was for Amnon to make his illness known to his father.  As David visits Amnon in his bed chamber, Amnon humbly asks David to send Tamar with something for him to eat.  This plan, utilizing both David's fatherly concern for all his children and Tamar's obedience and innocence, worked just as Jonadab had expected.  Tamar found herself alone with Amnon in his bedchamber.

Vss 9-->  Amnon wasted neither time or tenderness.  Ignoring Tamar's protest for herself, her appeal to his honor an dignity, and even her willingness to marry him, he brutally forced himself on her.  He raped his own half sister.  Now here is even a more disgusting part.  (Remember, Amnon loved Tamar so much, he just had to have her.}  After he raped her, he suddenly had nothing but contempt for her.  Vs 15 says "he hated her even more than he had loved her".  And he told her to "Get Out!". 
As was the custom, Tamar mourned her shame and degradation by tearing the garment she wore as one of the king's virgin daughters, and by putting ashes on her head.  Desolate and disgraced, she secluded herself in the home of her brother Absalom.  Absalom must have shown great kindness and understanding toward Tamar.  {Since this outrage had occurred within David's family, it was David's responsibility to administer justice, but he did nothing more that express great anger.  Amnon was his first born.}   Vss 19-22 - Meanwhile, Absalom built a wall of silence between himself and Amnon, saying nothing friendly to him but nourishing a deepening hatred for him for what he had done to Tamar.  Absalom was a patient man.  He kept his peace for two long years.
Consider some truths before going on to read the rest of this chapter:

1)  Amnon's lust was the driving force of his life.  To him, forbidden fruit was the sweetest, and the more strongly it was forbidden, the more strongly it was desired.
2)  Had Jonadab been a true friend, he would have tried to dissuade Amnon.  But instead, he encouraged Amnon to commit a horrible sin.
3)  In her innocence and integrity, Tamar tried to turn Amnon's dishonorable intent into an honorable ending.
4)  Amnon's desire, so irresistible in prospect, became a disappointment after achievement.  Instead of repenting, however, he vented his bitterness and distaste on the innocent Tamar.
5)  Through his act, Amnon dug himself even deeper into sin.   His iniquity degraded a lovely and noble maiden, brought heartbreak on his father David, and planted in his brother Absalom the seed of hatred and revenge that would ultimately lead to murder, not to mention a family crisis that would wrought untold distruction.

So one sinful man's actions caused this much trouble.  Vs 22 - Two full years have passed since Amnon raped Tamar.  It was time for Absalom to exact his revenge.  At the time of the shearing of the sheep, there was usually a celebration, marking the shepherds' successful efforts. Absalum invited his father David to the sheep shearing celebration, but David declined.  However he encouraged all of his sons to attend, although David seemed rather surprised when Absalom specifically invited Amnon.  (David was well aware of Absalom's hatred toward Amnon.)  During the celebration, Absalom gave his servants the go-ahead to kill Amnon, which they did.  The other brothers became fearful and fled.  Absalom in turn fled to his grandfather in Geshur, a small area northeast of the Sea of Galilee.  Absalom was fearful of David his father.  Even though David had not dealt with Amnon for his crime against Tamar, Absalom dared not presume that David would let him go unpunished for the murder of his first born.  Absalom will have stayed in exile for three years.

In Jerusalem, life went on.  David gradually got over Amnon's death, turning his concern from the son who was dead to the son who was in exile.  David began to miss Absalom more and more, and his heart longed to reach out to him.

Next post:  Absalom Returns to Jersusalem

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