The Bible tells the truth. The record in 2 Samuel does not whitewash David’s actions. Today’s passage is not easy to read as we learn about the horrific abuse and evil that took place within the king’s palace.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.Romans 1:21
First, we meet David’s two sons who turn out to share many of his faults—Absalom and Amnon. In between is David’s daughter, Tamar. Amnon became “obsessed” with his half-sister (v. 2) but knew his desire could never be acted upon. She was protected as a king’s daughter (Lev. 18:9).
On advice from his cousin, Amnon pretended to be sick and asked Tamar to care for him (2 Sam. 13:6). Scripture indicates that Tamar had special skill at preparing medicinal food. Not suspecting anything, David agreed. It’s important to note that Tamar did nothing wrong in this situation. She went to care for her brother by orders from her father.
Once Amnon was alone with her, his true intentions became clear (v. 11). Tamar tried to remind her brother of the morality of the situation. She pleaded, “Don’t do this wicked thing” (v. 12). She described the disgrace his action would bring upon her and how it would make him to be like a “wicked fool” (v. 13). But he would not listen and raped her (v. 14).
Amnon then added to his cruelty by sending her away and taking no responsibility for his actions. His so-called love for Tamar quickly turned to hatred. Tamar’s public cries should have mobilized the authorities to respond and investigate (v. 19). Instead, her brother Absalom minimized her abuse and kept her quiet (v. 20).
Today’s reading is a graphic reminder of the destructive effects of sin. Sin creates victims and has dire consequences. The sin that is present in our world makes us long for the day when Christ will return and rule over all (Rev. 12:10–12).