And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her. — 2 Samuel 13:2
The job had finally become available! The career position I had wanted so badly was open, and testing was going to begin. I worked hard at studying and getting myself into condition to take the written and physical exams that were required for the job. The thought of getting hired was on my mind day and night. Nothing else seemed to matter — even a call God had placed on my life.
Finally the day came when I was offered the job. However, after accepting the position, my obsession did not stop. I wanted to be the best person possible to do the job, so I took additional schooling during my off time, and worked overtime and extra shifts. Due to my heavy workload, I began to neglect my walk with God, and also my family. And, to my detriment, I continued to neglect the call of God.
My endeavors proved successful, but that success came at a cost. Eventually I suffered several injuries. My health deteriorated with the stress of the job, and I became physically sick. I had become so consumed with what I wanted, that it cost me the career I was so proud of and had worked so hard to achieve. Was my career choice wrong? No, but my obsession with attaining the career, and my neglect of God and His call on my life, was.
While work obsessions can be detrimental, they do not compare with the evil of the obsession described in today’s chapter. Amnon became so obsessed with his lust toward Tamar, that he became sick. He was willing to do whatever he could to have her, even if it meant violating her and the Law of God. A plan was conceived with the aid of a friend, and Amnon got what he desired: fulfillment of his lust toward Tamar. However, what he did was wrong, and it eventually cost him his life at the hand of his half-brother Absalom.
We must guard against anything that could start to become an obsession. In the Bible, “lust” often means nothing more than natural desire. If the enemy can, he will prey upon our natural desires through temptation, offering something beside God’s plan for our lives. We want to be watchful and ask God to help us stay focused on Him.
In the previous chapter, we read how God had chastised David through Nathan the prophet for his affair with Bathsheba and the slaying of her husband, Uriah. God told David that the sword would never depart from his house, and he would raise up evil against him out of his own house.
In this chapter, this evil starts to take place. Troubles continued one after the other for the rest of David’s reign. It is interesting to note that adultery and murder were the sins of David, and immediately we see the same sins being committed by his sons, Amnon and Absalom. What heartbreak this must have brought David!
Amnon was David’s firstborn son by Ahinoam. Absalom and his beautiful sister, Tamar, were his children by Maacah. As such, Amnon and Tamar were half siblings. When he violated her, the loss of her virginity was a curse to her by the Law. Because incestuous relations were forbidden by the Law, those guilty of such things were to be cut off from the covenant community. Tamar was innocent since she had been assaulted.
To add insult to injury, and in violation of the Law, Amnon sent Tamar away in anger. The Law said that if a man violated a virgin outside of marriage, he must marry her. By sending Tamar away, Amnon’s actions showed further that he did not really love Tamar, but only lusted after her. Tamar’s actions of tearing her royal robe and placing ashes on her head showed the intensity of her sorrow in losing her purity and further opportunity for marriage.
Two years passed before Absalom put his plan for revenge into place. He picked the time of sheep shearing (an ancient custom of Israel) to host a festival, and put his plan into action, having Amnon killed in revenge for his mistreatment of Tamar. Absalom then fled the royal household and went to his maternal grandfather, Talmai. Since his action had been premeditated murder, he could not take refuge in any of the designated cities of refuge in Israel. He remained with Talmai for three years before returning. It is interesting to note that to show the deep love Absalom had for his sister, Tamar, he later named his own daughter after her (2 Samuel 14:27).
We see here how God’s word came to pass, and evil rose up within David’s own house. The “secret” sin of David caused continuing heartache, long after he had repented of it.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The shame of King David
B. David’s problems with his family
1. Amnon’s sin against Tamar
a. Amnon’s desire for his sister (13:1-19)
(1) Jonadab’s deceitful plan (13:1-6)
(2) Amnon’s violation of Tamar (13:7-14)
(3) Amnon’s ensuing hatred of Tamar (13:15-19)
b. Absalom’s vengeance on Amnon (13:20-29)
(1) Absalom’s initial reaction (13:20-22)
(2) Absalom’s party for Amnon (13:23-27)
(3) Absalom’s murder of Amnon (13:28-29)
c. Absalom’s flight from David (13:30-39)
(1) The report to David (13:30-36)
(2) The flight of Absalom (13:37-39)
The choices we make in life can either cause us to grow or to fall spiritually. If we seek to follow the plan God has for our lives, we will grow spiritually. But if we neglect the plan He has for us, we will fall. May we keep our hand in God’s hand, and seek His will in each one of our life choices.