Because of Lust - The Tamar Story

Rejection cuts deeper than affliction. Tamar is the daughter of King David. She bears a grief that a brother promises to avenge, his way.

Here lies a story of lust, loss, rejection, and revenge. And in the wake of what was portrayed as love, unbridled desire has given birth to a rejection that prompted hate, revenge, and ultimately death.

The Lust

In the book of 2 Samuel 13 (KJV) we meet Tamar, Absalom, and Amnon. These are children of the famous King David. Tamar was a beauty. As if there were no other beautiful women in all of Israel, Amnon craved his sister's beauty and wanted to lay with her. Unfortunately, Amnon validated his unbridled passion for his sister as, love. Being the son of King David, and with the help of his cunning friend, Jonadab, Amnon devised a plan to have his sister Tamar. Favor is not always fair, and this time it would be given at the expense of a virgin girl. 1 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV) reminds us that 'love' does not behave inappropriately and it is not self-seeking. It is also safe to say, love does not make one sick, as were the case with Amnon, but obsession and lust can.

The Loss

How will Amnon get to have his way with Tamar seeing he would have to face her brother Absalom? The plan is to pretend. Love is not deceptive. Here we find Amnon posing as a sick brother who needs the service of his sister. This service is a meal preparation that must be done in his presence and then served to him. Amnon's factitious illness reaches the King's ear and King David, being ignorant of the plot, summons Tamar to action; she must attend to Amnon in catering and even pampering him in support of restoring his health. Preparing the meal before Amnon would give him the satisfaction of delaying Tamar's presence with him as well as affording him the time he needed to further his plans to be with her. So, Amnon's meal is now ready, but he will not have it until all his servants were dismissed leaving Tamar alone with him. Tamar's innocent vulnerable servant heart was met with a brother determined to satisfy his unbounded lust even if it meant violating the will of a virgin sister who he claimed he loved. Tamar enlightened Amnon of the shame his intentions would bring upon her and himself, but to no avail. Amnon plundered the body of his sister Tamar. I imagine Tamar was thrown into confusion as rejection worked its way into every fiber of her mind. How did her kindness turn to madness and loss? Could this get any worse? It did.

The Rejection

"There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me." This was the cry of Tamar to her brother Amnon as he commanded his servants to put her out and shut the door. The hate he now felt for her far outweighed the love he said he had in the beginning. I submit to you that Amnon never loved Tamar. He loved himself. The assault Tamar endured was grievous, but even more excruciating was the shut door. "Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, arise, be gone." His servants came and put Tamar out and bolted the door. "She had a garment of divers colors upon her: for with such robes were the king's daughters that were virgins appareled. Tamar put ashes on her head and rent her garment of divers colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying." What a sad picture. But such is the case when lust is arrayed as love. What will Tamar do now? Where will she go? Her brother Absalom took her in and comforted her because he had a plan.

The Revenge

In most cases revenge is not immediate; it's a planned retaliation. Absalom hated Amron for what he did to their sister. He had determined within himself that Amron will pay for his sin. Two years later Absalom executed his plan, and Amron was slain at Absalom's command. The king and his house were in mourning for his son Amron, but we never hear about Tamar. Was her grief pacified at the demise of Amron? How traumatic had this been for her? Would she ever overcome the loss of her virginity at the hands of a beastly brother? I suppose that Amron would have changed his mind had he been able to peak into the stethoscope of his future concerning what would happen should he satisfy his lust. He would have awakened to what lust is and what love is not. As for Tamar's bridal fate, perhaps her story was evidence enough to present a potential suitor who might have otherwise shunned her.

The Relevance

"Love suffereth long and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth", 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (KJV). This is what love is. This is what love looks like. Amron failed so we don't have to. Tamar suffered so we don't have to. We learn from each experience. Love or lust? Know the difference and choose to love and to be loved.