Most of the time our problems come to us in layers, because they didn’t begin with us. Too often we follow in the footsteps of those who’ve come before us. We are a people who learn by example and evolve through experience. We are a people who are bonded by blood ties and are our fathers and mothers down to the molecular level; therefore some undesirable things may show up in our lives that remind us of a past that we would like to forget.
Tamar’s story of rape didn’t’ begin with Tamar, it began with her father, King David. As many who may not want to see it in this light, King David raped Bathsheba. Bathsheba was not his wife, nor was she his concubine. Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah, one of David’s warriors.
Once it was made known that Bathsheba was pregnant and her husband wasn’t around long enough to impregnate her, David sent Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah to the front-lines of battle to purposely be killed. King David wanted to cover up his misdeed and prevent his mess from being publicly displayed.
How often do men hide their misdeeds? But God promises that what we do in the dark will be revealed in the light (Luke 8:17 NKJV).
Because of David’s misdeed, God promised him that the sword would be among his family forever and other men would publicly go into his wives and concubines (2 Samuel 12:10-12). With the counsel of Ahithopel, a man believed to be Bathsheba’s grandfather, Absalom was influenced to go into King David’s wives and concubines as if they were his own; thus God’s prophecy was fulfilled.
Here, Absalom too, became a rapist, who took what was dear to David’s wives and concubines and made a mockery of them and humiliated his father (2 Samuel 16:21). Ahithopel was a sheep in wolves clothing. His wisdom surpassed many, but he withheld his wisdom from King David on many occasions, perhaps as a way to exact revenge on David’s house for what was done to his son, Uriah.
Many of us must be careful about those we allow to speak over our lives. Some people give advice or words of wisdom that in fact are not wise. This is why it is important to seek God on your own and allow what others speak into your life to be a confirmation of what God has already spoken.
On the other side of the coin, many are not giving advice that will destroy, but the opposite is occurring. Many are not giving the advice needed; they are withholding information that will allow you to prosper; instead they remain silent and watch you slowly destroy yourself and others in the process.
So, here is Tamar caught in a generational curse that originated with her father and perhaps it didn’t originate with David, but with Jesse, David’s father. Whatever the case may be, we see a pattern being tightly woven in a family tree.
Tamar is now a desolate woman living in the care of her brother, Absalom. To be desolate is to be empty and void of life. Because Tamar could no longer marry anyone, she would also never conceive. She could never hold the title of wife and mother because what was most precious to her was stolen by family – the very ones she loved, trusted, and cared for when they appeared to need care.
What King David didn’t know and what Tamar didn’t know was that Amnon was mentally ill. Perhaps everyone knew that something wasn’t quite “right” with Amnon but remained silent. However, one dear friend and cousin of Amnon, Jonadab, took notice and asked Amnon why he was looking thin and sickly as of late. Amnon confided in Jonadab and told him that he was in love with his brother Absalom’s sister, Tamar. Amnon was so full of lust for his sister that he was tormented by not having her and withheld food and care to himself. He was allowing himself to go mentally insane.
Jonadab goes on to whisper evil ideas into Amnon’s ears and convinces him to pretend to be physically sick and beckon his father to allow his sister Tamar to come cook for him and care for him to nurse him back to health. King David granted Amnon’s wish and Amnon carried out his plan to violate Tamar. Immediately after the act, Amnon hated Tamar more than he claimed to have once loved her.
Amnon’s mental condition stemmed from a heart condition. He allowed lust to fill it and thus when his lust were fed, he immediately felt an aversion and loathing toward himself that he projected onto Tamar. How often do we take what we hate about ourselves and project that hate onto those we love as a way to hide from our own shortcomings? How often do we perceive in others what we see in ourselves and shrink away from addressing what we know is not right in our lives?
Tamar didn’t deserve to have Amnon’s hate projected onto her nor did she deserve to be violated. So, here she is in a dark place. Everyone knows what happened to her, right down to her father. Amnon moves on with his life as a King’s son, being served and living life as if nothing happened. Meanwhile, Tamar is alone and desolate.
When Absalom decided to take action against Amnon, it’s unclear whether Tamar flew Israel with him, and it’s even more unclear where she resided once Absalom returned to Israel. However, the Bible mentions that when Absalom returns to Israel he has three children, three girls in fact and one had the name of Tamar.
Absalom did not forget about Tamar in her darkest hour. He gave her a niece that carried her name. What joy this must have brought Tamar. The darkness that once clouded her heart, mind and gaze was now turned to pure joy. She now had a child to hold and love and best of all she could call her by her name.
Here, she could call an innocent baby, Tamar. Tamar had been reborn; cleansed, made innocent and filled with hope. I’m sure Tamar vowed to protect her niece Tamar in a way that no one had protected her.
Absalom did not forget Tamar and Tamar neither will I.
God didn’t forget about Tamar. And God didn’t forget about us. In our darkest hour, he will bring light into the shadows that surround us.
For Tamar and all the men and women who are suffering, have suffered, and will suffer from molestation and rape, we won’t forget you…
Don’t suffer in silence. Share your story, seek help, and restore joy to your life.