Chronicled in II Samuel
Rape is an ugly thing. Anytime something is taken against one’s will, it is an intrusive violation. But, to have your womanhood, and, in many cases, your purity (as in virginity), taken from you, is absolutely deplorable. For a human being to sink to those depths of depravity…I can’t wrap my mind around it. Now, imagine it was your brother who perpetrated this unconscionable act. This is what Tamar endured.
She was a beautiful princess, the daughter of King David. She had her entire life ahead of her, literally. She was probably a teenager at the time. Tamar would have no problem finding suitors. Chances are princes from neighboring lands were already lining up. She was perhaps the most eligible bachelorette around. Tamar probably lived a carefree and privileged existence. Soon, that picture-perfect world would be shattered.
Her half-brother Amnon developed an unnatural affection for her. He called it love, but he burned with lust. He was overtaken, consumed by his sibling. He had to have her, but how? Tamar was his sister. He couldn’t marry her. Amnon’s cousin Jonadab devised a plot to lure Tamar in. Amnon pretended to be ill and requested that Tamar come prepare a meal for him. This was common practice in those days, so no one thought anything of it.
Amnon, “out of his mind with sickness,” sent everyone away from him except Tamar. He beckoned her to feed him by hand. When she drew near, he struck like a coiled serpent. He manhandled her amid her protests. She even offered to marry him, but he persisted. Finally, he forced himself on her in total disregard for the precious gift he was snatching away. In one act of selfish lust, Tamar’s soul and flesh were violently ripped apart by Amnon’s betrayal.
Then her heart was wrenched as she was shunned, turned out, and told to keep it quiet. The story does not speak of her future. It does not tell if she ever found happiness; though she probably did not. No prince would have agreed to marry someone no longer a virgin, even if she was a princess. As David’s family was in the midst of immense turmoil, it seems Tamar was somewhat forgotten. God did not forget. He made sure Samuel remembered to write her story. Women, read carefully: know that if no one else cares, God does.
The tragedy of Tamar is a cautionary tale; it speaks volumes to this day. If this unspeakable horror has happened to you, don’t hold it in. Don’t allow anyone else to sweep it under the rug. Talk to someone. Talk to a counselor. Talk to your family. Most importantly, talk to God. Let Him heal your hurt. Let Him mend your broken heart. Don’t become a “desolate woman.” God can take this traumatic experience and use it to minister to others. Others may cause pain. God causes comfort and, ultimately, victory.
So, how do we triumph in the midst of trial? Understand that God works everything for good.