Tamar’s Rape and God’s Restoration

by Beth Moore

We live in a stoic society. Often the expression of our emotions is suppressed because we do not know how to process them. When we “stuff” our feelings and fail to deal with them, they seem to explode when we least expect it. In the Old Testament, people knew how to grieve. The Hebrew husband was required to provide a flute player and a “wailer” to mourn the loss of his wife! The Jews covered their heads with ashes when they mourned as a symbol of their mortality. Sackcloth and ashes were “grieving attire.” 

The tragic story of the rape of King David’s lovely daughter Tamar by her half-brother Amnon is a tale filled with intrigue, malicious abuse and rage. Jonadab, Amnon’s conspiring cousin, suggested that Amnon pretend to be ill in order to call for his half-sister to attend him. When Tamar came to feed him, he grabbed her and raped her. 

Tamar cried, “Don’t, my brother! Don’t force me. Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.”  But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.” 2 Samuel 13:12-14 NIV 

The heart-breaking tale does not end there. After abusing his sister, the scripture says Amnon “hated her with intense hatred. In fact he hated her more than he had loved her…he called his personal servant and said, ‘Get this woman out of here and bolt the door after her.’” 2 Samuel 13:15,17 NIV

Unbelievable. What an atrocity! Amnon felt guilt for his behavior, but instead of assuming responsibility, he turned his anger on Tamar, ruining her reputation and her future. She ripped her royal robe and covered herself with ashes. Older brother Absalom and David learned of the rape. Her father ignored her plight and poor Tamar “lived as a desolate woman” (v. 20) for the rest of her days. 

David’s ambivalence and refusal to deal with the horrific act was inexcusable. Instead of channeling his anger to bring justice, he simmered in silence and left his dysfunctional family to their own devices. However, you can be sure that God is both grieved and angered when women are abused and mistreated. 

We are children of the King. When we receive Jesus by faith and repentance we are virgin daughters of our Heavenly Father. Whether or not you have ever been personally and individually victimized, we are living in a time when women are objectified and demoralized. Satan would love nothing better than for you to feel worthless instead of worthy. 

Child abuse, prostitution, rape and human trafficking are travesties. We cannot turn a blind eye. If Satan has convinced you that you are anything less than a hand-picked child of the King of all kings…if you think anything could happen to you that could steal your royal heritage…if you think you deserve mistreatment or disrespect, you have something in common with Tamar. I pray that the Holy Spirit will be free to mend the torn coats of the children of royalty. And that God will restore lost dignity, teach us our true identity, and liberate us to live in purity. 

Solomon saw his beautiful bride as God sees you: 

“All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. In embroidered garments she is led to the king’ her virgin companions follow her and are brought to you. They are led in with joy and gladness; they enter the palace of the king.” Psalm 45:11-13 NIV

That, my dear sisters in Christ, is our destiny. We are glorious, loved and spotless before our Heavenly Father. 

Moore, Beth. Breaking Free. Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, pp. 140-143. Used by permission.

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