Tamar the Daughter of King David:

The daughter of King David who is described as being fair also meaning she was beautiful. Tamar was of good moral character. She was obedient to her father, the King. She was wise and tried to counsel Amnon that what he had demanded was immoral and would only bring harm to everyone involved. Tamar was the victim of the rape by her half-brother.

2 Samuel 13

Tamar was the only named daughter of King David. She had two brothers one was Absalom the son of David whose mother was Maacah and the true brother of Tamar. Absalom was the third son of King David whose mother was the daughter of Talmai the king of Geshur. (2 Samuel 3:3). The other was the half-brother, Amnon, also the son of David whose mother was Ahinoam of Jezreel. Amnon was the first born of David while in Hebron. (2 Samuel 3:2).

Absalom and Tamar were in always of higher rank than Amnon because their mother was a Syrian princess. Amnon’s mother had been a woman of the southern wilderness whom David married along with Abigail while he was still fleeing King Saul.  This means that David was an outlaw at time of the birth of Amnon.

Tamar was loved by King David the most honored of the daughters of the king. She is the only daughter of David mentioned in Scripture. Not only was Tamar beautiful she was a virgin. This is saying that Tamar had moral beauty which is what really counts.

This moral and physical beauty brought such heartache to Tamar and her whole family. This cause Amnon, the half-brother of Tamar, great distress and he loved her.  2 Samuel 13:2 says; “he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do anything to her.” This type of passion and behavior was considered a grievous crime under the laws of Israel, exactly as it is today.  Amnon was the one in the wrong not Tamar. It is good to note that Amnon did fear of her brother Absalom.

Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother who was cunning. Jonadab reminded Amnon that he was the son of the king all Amnon had to do was to lie down on his bed, and make himself sick. When the King came to see what was wrong with him he should have the King send his sister Tamar to fix his food in his sight and then feed it to him.

That is exactly what Amnon did he pretended to be sick.  He requested that Tamar come and make him a couple cakes. This says a lot about the character of Tamar that she knew how to cook verse 8 says Tamar went to her brother and took flour, and kneaded it and made the cakes in his sight and baked them. Remember Tamar was the daughter of a King and princess yet she possessed culinary skills. This is impressive that Tamar did not complain about cooking and caring for her half-brother because her father, the King, told her to do so. What an obedient daughter.

Once the cakes were made Amnon refused to eat until he had all the men leave the room. Amnon told Tamar to bring the food into his chamber so he could eat by her hand. Once she brought the food unto Amnon to eat, he took hold of her and told her to come lie with him. The answer that Tamar said was No, my brother do not force me.

Tamar was of good moral character and knew such a thing ought not to be done in Israel it was an immorality and profane action. Tamar pointed out this would cause her shame and disgrace. Tamar made it clear she was not willing to consent to such an immoral act. It would ruin her character. She indicated Amnon would be a fool in Israel. Because Amnon was the oldest son it was thought he would be the next king and this rape would ruin his chances of being a good king. Instead of being honored as the next king he would be considered a fool thought out Israel. She did suggest a remedy for Amnon.  All Amnon had to do was to go to the king because the king would not withhold her from him. (2 Samuel 13: 12-13).

All this fell to deaf ears Amnon did not listen to Tamar and being stronger than she, he forced her, and laid with her. Amnon decided he was in love with Tamar and had to sexually have her, he pretended to be sick, and in this dishonesty tricked the King and Tamar. Now that Amnon had what he wanted he now hated Tamar exceedingly. Verse 15 tells us; “he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her.” So he dismissed her to be gone.

Tamar told him there was no reason for this evil in sending her away. It was greater evil that he sent her away than him raping her. Amnon did not listen to her. He called his servant and commanded them to “put this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.”

She had a garment of different colors upon her which would be a tunic that reached to palms and soles. This was the robes which the king’s daughters and that is the apparel that a virgin would wear. Tamar fled through the streets in despair and terror, weeping, tearing at her clothes, and heaping dust upon her head. She sought shelter with her true brother Absalom.

When King David learned of Amnon’s crime he was “very wroth,” but did nothing. The sin was too like his own had been with Bathsheba so he felt he could not do anything. Absalom was furious because Amnon had forced his sister but he dare not openly oppose both his father and his elder brother, comforted and protected Tamar in his own house even though she remained desolate. Absalom did not speak either good or bad to Amnon; Absalom hated Amnon because he had forced his sister.

Absalom waited two years till the time should be suitable for his vengeance and hatred for Amnon could be revenged. Absalom had sheepshearers in Baalhazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king’s sons and the King to go celebrate. Sheepshearing time was a time of feasting and celebration (1 Samuel 25).  Absalom believed everyone; even Amnon had forgotten the unhappy Tamar and her disgrace. Absalom prepared a feast and invited Amnon, King David did not attend. Absalom commanded his servants that when Amnon was merry with wine, and when Absalom tells him to kill Amnon; the servants were to kill him being courageous and valiant and fear not.

The servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man got him up upon his mule, and fled. The tidings came to King David that Absalom slayed Amnon. This had been planned ever since the day that Amnon had forced his sister. This caused Absalom to flee into exile to his mother’s city of Geshur in Syria. David made no effort to reclaim him for punishment.

This rape affected not only Tamar but Amnon, her brother Absalom, and her father the King. Tamar was harmed by the sin of Amnon. Her character, peace, innocence and purity had been destroyed. Great sorrow came to Tamar as a result of the wickedness and rape of Amnon. Her sorrow was the sorrow that all victims and innocent people experience, and the sorrow that comes to all people because of immorality and wickedness and because of sin in general.  Amnon displayed wickedness and hatred and got what he believed he wanted. He ended up dead by the hand of his half-brother Absalom. Absalom reacted to the rape of his sister by plotting and finally after two years murdered Amnon. Absalom told Tamar hold her peace because Amnon was her brother and not to regard this thing. Absalom told Tamar to forget about this terrible disgrace of the rape and being turned out to the street like a common dog while he was plotted to murder Amnon. King David was very wroth yet he did nothing. Again this must have been devastating for Tamar. King David failed to perform his duties of being King. He should have followed the law of the land which would have called for the sentence of death for Amnon. Instead he could do nothing.

The characteristics we find in Tamar are she was a beautiful woman both physically and morally. She was obedient to her father, the King. She was wise and tried to counsel Amnon that what he had demanded was immoral and would only bring harm to everyone involved. Tamar was the victim of the rape by her half-brother. There is no good thing that comes from rape. You can recover from the act but not the betrayal that goes along with it. It takes work and trust in the LORD to even go on day after day. Just like the four other people in the life of Tamar the way they handled her rape dictated how they were viewed by those around her.

We need to remember that rape is a sin against the LORD God and an offense against humanity. Just like Tamar rape dehumanizes the victims and destroys communities. We as a society need to never have any hesitation in condemning rape in the strongest terms possible.

Cite Article Source

MLA Style Citation:

Holstein, Joanne “Tamar the Daughter of King David:.” Becker Bible Studies Library Apr 2015.<https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=2533,>.

APA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015, April) “Tamar the Daughter of King David:.” Becker Bible Studies Library. Retrieved from https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=2533,.

Chicago Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015) “Tamar the Daughter of King David:.” Becker Bible Studies Library (April), https://guidedbiblestudies.com/?p=2533, (accessed).

Joanne Holstein is a Becker Bible Studies Teacher and Author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians. She is a graduate of Psychology/Christian and Bible Counseling with Liberty University. She is well-known as a counselor to Christian faithful who are struggling with tremendous burden in these difficult times. She is a leading authority on historical development of Christian churches and the practices and beliefs of world religions and cults.

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