Dysfunctional


2 Samuel 13:1-22
1 Now Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David’s son, loved her.
2 And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her.
3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man.
4 And he said to him, “O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?” Amnon said to him, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”
5 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, ‘Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.’ ”
6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. And when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight that I may eat from her hand.”
7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare food for him.”
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, where he was lying down. And she took dough and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes.
9 And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, “Send out everyone from me.” So everyone went out from him.
10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
11 But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.”
12 She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing.
13 As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.”
14 But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.
15 Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, 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, “Get up! Go!”
16 But she said to him, “No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.” But he would not listen to her.
17 He called the young man who served him and said, “Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her.”
18 Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves, for thus were the virgin daughters of the king dressed. So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her.
19 And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.
20 And her brother Absalom said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? Now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother; do not take this to heart.” So Tamar lived, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom’s house.
21 When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry.
22 But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had violated his sister Tamar.

According to my mother I was an instigator as a child. My grandmother reported to my mom that I would lead my brother into some activity that I knew would get him into trouble and then slink away to watch the ensuing punishment that would befall him. (I truly doubt the veracity of this story, for I certainly couldn’t be guilty of these crimes.J)  Satan is much the same. After we have been tempted into sin he is no longer around when it comes time to pay the price and suffer the consequences for that sin. We are left holding the bag and sometimes that bag get pretty heavy and may even smell a bit. And there is no one left to blame but ourselves. As we mentioned earlier, sin begets sin and that truth is going to be played out in David’s life from this point forward. His sin with Bathsheba is public knowledge (as least among his own children and family members) and he will now pay for the rest of his life with a sullied reputation. Their lack of respect for him and their sense of being able to get away with anything haunt the rest of his days and tear his family apart.

“The next six chapters record how David’s sin against the sanctity of marriage had tragic consequences in his own family. Members of his own household committed wanton crimes that caused him untold misery. His sons became guilty of incest,  fratricide, rebellion.” * The rape of Tamar is just the first incident among many that will bring David sorrow and increase the weight of his “bag.” By this time in his life, David has several adult children. Solomon, David’s first son with Bathsheba (chapter 12) is born to him later in life and is on the younger end of his 19 children. When you have 10 wives, the children just keep on coming; so most of these children were half-brothers and sisters. Amnon was the oldest and thus the first in line for the throne upon David’s death. Tamar is his half-sister, with Absalom being Tamar’s full brother. That made him responsible for Tamar’s protection and care, which is why he takes her in after the rape. It would not have been unheard of for David to allow Amnon to marry Tamar, which makes this crime all the more vicious.

When sin takes us over, a swath of pain is left behind. There is no such thing as a victimless sin. You will always be left holding the bag of consequences that go along with that sin. But God uses even our sin to draw us near to Him, for while we’re dealing with those consequences, He will be there to help us make the right decisions and often He turns tragedy in triumph as only He is able to do. David doesn’t lose his faith, but his quickness to turn to the Lord has been slowed. He will pay the price for this defection and watch as his family disintegrates into battle. “For the wages of sin is death,” Paul tells us in Romans. He wasn’t kidding.

*Roehrs, W. H., & Franzmann, M. H., joint author. (1998). Concordia self-study comentary (electronic ed.) (2 Sa 13:1). St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

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