Why doesn't David do more to protect Tamar?


(Larenn) #1

When Amnon rapes his sister, why doesnt David do anything? Why does he let her live out her days pretty much disgraced but still in his house? As a young mother of a both a daughter and a son ive been thinking about this a lot. I know God works all together for good , but i still really struggle with this one as someone who was myself abused. Is it terrible that this is what im thinking about on Mothers day?


(SeanO) #2

@Ren No, it is not terrible at all. It is a very good question. Before giving my perspective on David’s behavior in this scenario, I would just like to say - Happy Mother’s Day :slight_smile: I pray that God will bless you with wisdom as you raise your children and protect/guide/provide for your kids physically, spiritually and emotionally. May their days be blessed!

I personally feel David did a terrible job of addressing what happened to Tamar. I think part of that is because he himself had committed such a heinous sin against Uriah and he was probably still working through some of those issues. But the good news is that our example is Jesus - not David!

David was only a person - and think of all the mistakes made by people in the Bible. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Abraham lied about his wife being his sister. The list is virtually endless.

In the Bible, some passages are prescriptive - that means that we are to obey what they teach - like the life of Jesus or the commands of God. Other passages are descriptive - they simply describe what happened as it happened, but they are not meant to guide our own behavior.

Think of the Book of Judges - we see men stealing wives from other Israelite tribes and a terrible story about a Levite and his concubine. But the whole point of Judges is that everyone did “what was right in their own eyes”. We are not supposed to emulate them - only to learn how terrible things become when we reject God’s Lordship in our lives. These are descriptive passages.

But the life of Jesus - our ultimate example - is prescriptive. We are to live as He lived - love as He loved - and serve as He served.

So I would say that your feelings are absolutely correct - David did not do the right thing. And thankfully this passage is descriptive - it is showing us the consequences of David’s terrible sin in his own ability to deal with his family - not teaching us how to handle a similar situation or how God wanted the situation handled.

When looking for an example of how God treats those who have suffered abuse - consider the woman at the well. Jesus went to where she was in the heat of the day and loved her back into His presence in a beautiful way. We do not know if she suffered abuse - but I would think it is a possibility.

Also consider Hagar who was thrown out of the house by Sarah. I have never liked this story. But guess what - God met Hagar in the wilderness when she had lost all hope and Hagar was able to say “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13).

God sees us in our suffering and sees those who suffer at the hands of others!

Ultimately, Jesus is our example - not David. And the great commandments - love God and love neighbor - are our guide - not the misguided deeds of fallible men.

I just want to say again that your feelings are so accurate - this story makes me sick. But I am so thankful that the Spirit of Jesus empowers us to live a better way and that Jesus’ love for those who suffer is so great that He offered Himself on the cross in order to reach down to them.


(Tim Ramey) #3

@Ren
Sean is the master and pretty much covers what I would say as well. It’s important to realize that just because something is in the Bible, doesn’t mean that it was what the Lord wanted. I’m so appreciative of the fact that the Bible doesn’t hide the flaws of its people.

It’s also so vital to recognize Sean’s point that Jesus is our example. People will always fall short and disappoint. It is so critical that Jesus is our example and not His people.

You have the right attitude. We should be disgusted with David’s example. Jesus would hold Tamar in His arms like one of His precious sheep. Eli was rebuked for his fathering but I feel that David was also lacking in how he handled his children.

I also wish you a Happy Mother’s Day, Larenn.


(Helen Tan) #4

Hi @Ren, I think that although we see David’s inaction as being reprehensible, the consequences were severe and he did suffer greatly for it. His son, Absalom, took it upon himself to avenge for his sister, Tamar, and killed Amnon. Thereafter, Absalom rebelled against his father, committed public immorality with David’s concubines, and was eventually killed by David’s men which brought great grief to David.

The Bible does not hold back on the failings of the heroes in history but through them we can learn that there are consequences to choices made, and yet still see God’s grace and how He accomplishes His purposes in spite of man’s sinful failings.