The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), April 27
Amnon is obsessed with the beauty of his half-sister, Tamar. His desire becomes a sickness that goes viral. Jonadab, his cousin, devises a plan for Amnon to get what he wants. Amnon pretends to be ill and requests that his father grant him access to Tamar’s culinary skills. David grants his wish. Tamar bakes Amnon the bread that he requests. He refuses to eat in front of the servants, sending them away. Taking advantage of the privacy, Amnon rapes his sister and then hatefully has her locked out of his room.
Amnon fails on two fronts: he yields to the lust of the flesh and he listens to wicked counsel. The two often go hand-in-hand.
Why is this story included in the Bible narrative? This sad page in David’s diary highlights the consequences of unbridled lust and listening to wicked counsel. No one is immune from its effect.
Unbridled lust always costs others:
- Tamar—The most vulnerable are often victims of others’ unbridled lusts. Tamar is defenseless. She appeals to Amnon to consider the consequences of his action, “No my brother, do not force me, for no such thing should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing! And I, where could I take my shame? And as for you, you would be like one of the fools in Israel” (2 Sam. 13:12-13, emphasis added). Tamar lives the remainder of her life in shame, though she has done nothing wrong.
- Absalom—After hearing about Amnon’s wickedness, Absalom devises a plan to vindicate his sister. Two years later he has Amnon killed. He flees for his life.
- David—David loses three of his children: Tamar to a life of shame, Amnon to an early death, and Absalom to banishment.
- Israel—The Jerusalem Post probably carried this story on its front page, and all of Israel grieved over such loss in Israel. Shame in the household of leadership brings shame to an entire nation.
Those who counsel others to fulfill their lusts always have an agenda. Sadly, Jonadab played both ends of the story. He plotted with Amnon to carry out his lust, and he mollified King David after Amnon’s death, “For only Amnon is dead” (13:33). Two heirs to David’s throne are now out of the way. Perhaps Jonadab is bitterly jealous of the position of his cousins.
Evil counsel may not be a person with an agenda, but a secular philosophy. You were born that way. You deserve that. You can’t help yourself. It is a disease or a disorder. You owe it to yourself. She’ll get over it. Anything that reeks of death is from the wicked one who comes “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10).
Like a fire, unbridled lusts and wicked counsel consume everyone that they touch.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (2 Samuel 12:26-14:33; 1 Chronicles 20:2-3):
- What does the rape of Tamar reveal about David’s broken family?
- Why doesn’t the death of Amnon at the scheming of Absalom remove Tamar’s guilt?
- What does Joab do that reveals the effects of David’s orchestrating the death of one of his mighty men (Uriah)?