The Rape of Tamar

“After this Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.”

According to sources, David was known for having at least seven wives. One of them, a woman named Maacah, bore two children- first a son named Absalom and then a daughter named Tamar. Tamar was known for her beauty and when she got older caught the attention of her half brother Amnon. He eventually became so in love with her that it caused him to go into a depression when he couldn’t have her.


Now, Tamar and Amnon were not directly related, they both had different mothers so they were half- brother and sister. However, we still would consider this too close to be in any type of relationship with each other.

Amnon, became so obsessed with Tamar that it made himself sick when he couldn’t get her. So Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and give me food, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.’”

Jonadab was a friend of Amnon who was known for being sneaky and manipulative. He came up with a plan for Amnon that he believed would get Tamar to come take care of him. That way he could “have his way with her.” Jonadab told him to act like he was sick and bed ridden so that he could ask for Tamar to come take care of him. And he only agreed to eat if his sister was to come and prepare the food. When King David heard that his son was ill, he agreed for Tamar to go and take care of him. She didn’t think anything was odd for him to ask for her seeing as it was her brother and all.

One night she prepared a meal for him and placed it in front of him he acted as if he was so out of sorts that he still couldn’t bring himself to eat and ordered all of his servants out of the room. He then insisted that the only way he would eat the food was that if Tamar fed it to him herself. Obeying his orders, she did so and as she brought the food to his mouth he grabbed her hand and pulled her toward him.


“But she answered him, “No, my brother, do not force me, for no such thing should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing! However, he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her.” 

She tried to fight back but he had so much power over her that she gave up. During this time period it was not uncommon to marry someone in the family but only if permission was granted by the father.

And I, where could I take my shame? And as for you, you would be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you.” Amnon could have asked for his sister’s hand in marriage, but he didn’t simply love her- he had a lust for her, or a sexual desire. Tamar realized that with Amnon about to take her virginity she would not be wanted by any other man and none would marry her. She pleaded with Amnon to go talk to their father so that she would be left with some dignity and explained to him the guilt he would be left to deal with. And she was right.

“Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Arise, be gone!”

He now hated Tamar, even more than what lust he had for her. This makes it clear that he had not loved her but his feelings for her were lustful, or a sexual desire.

When Tamar returned home, she explained to her brother Absalom what had happened and he told her to not speak of it and that she shouldn’t take it heart because it was her brother.



I thought this was the craziest thing that anybody could say, especially to his or her little sister. I mean she was just raped by her own brother. Basically telling her, “I mean at least he wasn’t a stranger right?” When she told David, he was at angry at first but kept his silence as well.

Absalom finally took matters into his own hands a whole two years later and murdered his brother Amnon.

However, I asked myself, why did David not do anything about the rape of Tamar?

I wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that David himself had lusted after Bathsheba and had committed the sin of adultery with her. Perhaps he felt as if he needed to be able to forgive his son as God had forgiven him. Even though head been forgiven, I believe he still had feelings of guilt and perhaps felt somewhat responsible and that it was a consequence from his previous actions that this occurred within his own family.

bathsheba-is-taking-a-bath-david-guess-what looks at the consequences of David and sin.

I came across this quote by F.B. Meyer, “They say a man never hears his own voice till it comes back to him from the phonograph. Certainly a man never sees the worst of himself until it reappears in his child.”

Or maybe it was because of the love that David had for his children. When Absalom killed Amnon and left the country David was mad, but wanted to reunite with Absalom.

“And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead.”

The Lord told David that the sword would never leave his house; starting with the rape of Tamar and ultimately ending the death of his son Amnon.


The typical punishmet of adultery in that time was to be sentenced to death, however, God had forgiven him because he repented but he faced a horrible aftermath with the suffering of his children.


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