Lessons from Tamar, David’s Daughter
31 Days of Women from Scripture
Face the Attacker
Day Twenty-Five: Lessons from Tamar, David’s Daughter
2 Samuel 13
When I read this story, I hear my mother’s voice.
I remember her teaching it to me in summers along with many other stories of the women of the Bible. I also remember her teaching it in a class for teenage girls. This lesson was one that she used as a warning to girls who were near dating age or who were dating.
So, while the story is a difficult one, for me, the memory is a dear one of a mother who loved us enough to teach us even the difficult lessons.
In 31 Days of Women from Scripture Volume One, there is a lesson that covers Tamar, as well as Dinah and Tamar the daughter-in-law of Judah.
That lesson covers the aspect that evil people will do evil things to other people. Even when we do the right thing, bad things may happen to us.
That lesson also discussed the lie of saying “I love you” to talk someone into doing something that is not good for them (premarital sex being one example). Check that lesson out by clicking here – Lessons from Dinah, Tamar, and Tamar.
Today, let’s look at how Tamar handled herself in this situation.
For review, Amnon, David’s son, “loved” his half-sister Tamar. He loved her so much that he made himself physically ill. His friend, Jonadab, suggested that Amnon fake illness and then request that Tamar be sent to make food for him. Amnon did so. David came to check on his “sick” son. Amnon requested Tamar be sent to tend to him and David sent her to do so.
So, here is Tamar being a dutiful daughter and sister. She shows that she is obedient and caring.
When the cakes she has made are ready, Amnon asks that she bring the food into his room, because he was too weak to feed himself (2 Sam. 13:10).
When Tamar brought the food in, Amnon grabs her and invites her into his bed.
Tamar refuses. She says, “No”. But she doesn’t stop there. She tells him not to do this disgraceful thing, but to simply ask her father for her hand in marriage (2 Sam. 13:12-13).
Amnon does not listen to her and rapes her. He then immediately hates her with a hate that outstrips the love he’d had for her but moments before (2 Sam. 13:15). Amnon then tells her to go away.
Tamar’s strength of character amazes me. Even after this assault, she still has her composure. She again tells Amnon, “No”. This throwing her out like trash is worse than what he’s already done to her.
Again, Amnon does not listen to her. He calls his servant, tells him to remove her and to “lock the door behind her” (2 Sam. 13:17). Not all that long before he had done everything in his power to get her into his room alone, and now he was throwing her out and “barring the door” from her.
Tamar is forced to leave in shame. Absalom, her full brother, finds her with ashes on her head and without her virginal robes (2 Sam. 13:19-20). King David is angry, but fails to apply the law to Amnon. Two years later however, Absalom will avenge his sister’s honor (2 Sam. 13:23-33).
Tamar knew what the law said about her situation. She also knew how some probably circumvented the law.
Leviticus 18:9 said that for Amnon to know his sister, whether half-sister or full blood, was to shame her and his father.
Deuteronomy 22:23-29 deals with circumstances of rape. If the rape took place where people could hear cries for help and no cries came, the woman was found as guilty as the man – because she did not call for someone to save her. Both the man and the woman were to be killed.
Rape that took place where she could not have been heard if she did cry out, then only the man was held responsible and would die.
The law also said that if the woman was a virgin but not engaged, if it was found out that he forced himself on her the man could take her as his wife. He would never be allowed to divorce her to repay for having violated her.
Tamar was in a house with servants outside the door. She made herself heard to Amnon, and no doubt others.
One of two things should have happened to Amnon – he either should have been forced to marry her, as Tamar indicates, to keep her from being shamed or he should have died for forcing himself upon her.
David did neither. So, Tamar was forced to live in Absalom’s house in shame (2 Sam. 13:20).
While Tamar could not control Amnon’s actions, she was always in control of her own. She had the armor of God to protect her, even when Amnon overpowered her. She leaned on God’s word.
God’s word does offer us protections in circumstances like Tamar’s. Mankind does not always make use of them though. Romans 13:1-7 teaches that every government exists because God intends it to be a minister for good. Governments are meant to protect the righteous and punish the evil doer.
In a time when the world separates sexuality from the law of God and more people choose to be a law unto themselves, we must be vigilant. We cannot assume that people are going to have our best interests in mind. We can assume they are going to be looking out for their own.
The world cries foul when men make inappropriate advances toward women. Rightly so. But each of us must take the warnings of Proverbs 7 to heart. Most of the time, there are going to be indicators of people’s intentions. We need to be wary enough to be on the lookout for them!
We need to be willing to protect ourselves as much as we possibly can. Insisting that meetings take place in public places instead of private rooms. Taking others with us so there are witnesses to everyone’s behavior is also a good idea.
God teaches us to be wary of those who will choose to sin and to do what we can to safeguard falling into their nets (Prov. 1:8-16; 1 Cor. 15:33; 2 Tim. 2:22).
Women, pay attention to the words your date uses. Does “I love you” come along with pressure to do things that you should not be doing? “If you loved me you would…” Samson fell victim to this same logic with both of his women!
Pay attention to their actions. Are they always trying to get you alone? Are they always physically trying to control your movements? Do they work to separate you from those who would protect you, like parents and friends?
Heed the warnings!
This advice is not only for young women just starting to date. It applies to all of us. There can be predators anywhere, unfortunately. Family gatherings, at work, at amusement parks, at worship services.
As Christians we are to give others the benefit of the doubt and be longsuffering. We are also supposed to be keeping watch for the evil that seeks to creep into our world. The only way to do both without being resentful and frightened is to live every day with your heart in God’s word.
The apostles and early day Christians withstood many things that Satan threw at them. Temptations and persecutions both come from him.
It’s the armor of God that we are told to wear to be able to withstand the attack (Eph. 6:10-17). But being ready for the attack must begin before the attack comes, or we will be caught unaware.
Tamar was ready with her answers even though Amnon surprised and overwhelmed her. How well will you be equipped? How well will you equip your daughters? Tamar shows us how to face the attacker and keep your head wits.
Will you be ready to face the attacker, no matter which way he comes?
Click here to get a complimentary lesson from our “31 Days of Women from Scripture Volume 2”, “Reach Out. Lessons from the Woman with an issue of blood”.
If you would like to follow the rest of the #write31days challenge series click here – 31 Days of Women from Scripture Volume 2
If you are interested in the first 31 Days of Women series – click here – 31 Days of Women from Scripture