“Some time later, this happened: Absalom, David’s son, had a sister who
was very attractive. Her name was Tamar. Amnon, also David’s son, was
in love with her. Amnon was obsessed with his sister Tamar to the point
of making himself sick over her. She was a virgin, so he couldn’t see
how he could get his hands on her. Amnon had a good friend, Jonadab,
the son of David’s brother Shimeah. Jonadab was exceptionally
streetwise. He said to Amnon, ‘Why are you moping around like this, day
after day—you, the son of the king! Tell me what’s eating at you.’
‘In a word, Tamar,’ said Amnon. ‘My brother Absalom’s sister. I’m in love with her.’
‘Here’s what you do,’ said Jonadab. ‘Go to bed and pretend you’re sick.
When your father comes to visit you, say, ‘Have my sister Tamar come
and prepare some supper for me here where I can watch her and she can
So Amnon took to his bed and acted sick. When the king came to visit,
Amnon said, ‘Would you do me a favor? Have my sister Tamar come and
make some nourishing dumplings here where I can watch her and be fed by
David sent word to Tamar who was home at the time: ‘Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare a meal for him.’
So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house. She took dough, kneaded it,
formed it into dumplings, and cooked them while he watched from his
bed. But when she took the cooking pot and served him, he wouldn’t eat.
Amnon said, ‘Clear everyone out of the house,’ and they all cleared
out. Then he said to Tamar, ‘Bring the food into my bedroom, where we
can eat in privacy.’ She took the nourishing dumplings she had prepared
and brought them to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. But when she got
ready to feed him, he grabbed her and said, ‘Come to bed with me,
‘No, brother!’ she said, ‘Don’t hurt me! This kind of thing isn’t done
in Israel! Don’t do this terrible thing! Where could I ever show my
face? And you—you’ll be out on the street in disgrace. Oh, please!
Speak to the king—he’ll let you marry me.’
But he wouldn’t listen. Being much stronger than she, he raped her.
No sooner had Amnon raped her than he hated her—an immense hatred. The
hatred that he felt for her was greater than the love he’d had for her.
‘Get up,’ he said, ‘and get out!’
‘Oh no, brother,’ she said. ‘Please! This is an even worse evil than what you just did to me!’
But he wouldn’t listen to her. He called for his valet. ‘Get rid of
this woman. Get her out of my sight! And lock the door after her.’ The
valet threw her out and locked the door behind her.
She was wearing a long-sleeved gown. (That’s how virgin princesses used
to dress from early adolescence on.) Tamar poured ashes on her head,
then she ripped the long-sleeved gown, held her head in her hands, and
walked away, sobbing as she went.
Her brother Absalom said to her, ‘Has your brother Amnon had his way
with you? Now, my dear sister, let’s keep it quiet—a family matter. He
is, after all, your brother. Don’t take this so hard.’ Tamar lived in
her brother Absalom’s home, bitter and desolate.
King David heard the whole story and was enraged, but he didn’t
discipline Amnon. David doted on him because he was his firstborn.
Absalom quit speaking to Amnon—not a word, whether good or bad—because
he hated him for violating his sister Tamar.”—2 Samuel 13:1-22
I prayed in a very special way before taking on this chapter. I think
it’s because I wanted this to reach a certain group of women: women who
are in relationships with controlling men.
In the past 18 (wow 18) chapters, we have addressed so many issues, but
one that has been not be fully explored is the topic of domestic/sexual
violence and emotional abuse. Although David did a pretty good job of
it with Bathsheba, nothing details this epidemic greater than that of
his son, Amnon and Tamar.
This story opens up with a man who is “in love” with his brother’s
sister. Now, I won’t get too deep into the issue of violating
relational boundaries other than to say that God places boundaries in
relationships for a reason. Whenever I public speak on my own sexual
abuse, I say that I am a living sacrificial example of why God’s
original design was for original, married God-ordained partners to have
children. My stepfather had a sexual addiction and when you are sick
(and that is indeed a sickness), as a result people become harmed
because, as I so often say, “sin is senseless”.
People will often ask me “What do you think made him do that?” Uh…he
was sick and when you are sick, you are not thinking in your right
mind. When you are sick, it’s easy to look at a young, attractive girl
and desire her all the while thinking, “Well, she’s not really my
daughter and since I have been put into a position of authority in her
life, I have the right to take advantage of the situation.”
See what happens when men don’t submit to God (Romans 10:3)? God would
never tell a man to violate any woman—especially his step-daughter,
or in Amnon’s case, his brother’s sister. Love exudes self-control
(Galatians 5:22). When you do not exhibit temperance, you are operating
in lust (Galatians 5:17) and your flesh takes over both your spirit and
So I can understand why Amnon made himself sick over Tamar. He was in lust and lust can do that to a brotha.
Just last week, I was talking to a friend of mine and he was asking me,
“Just what is ‘in love’, anyway? I don’t think I will fall in love
until after I’m married.”
It wasn’t until later in the day that I really gave what he said some
thought. The ‘in love’ that we so often speak of—thinking of the
person all of the time, wanting to be with them no matter what, extreme
levels of emotions that cause you to want to give your
everything—that should be reserved for the covenant of marriage and
so he’s right to exercise that right. Hebrews 13:4 says that the
marriage bed in undefiled. Why? Because when two are made one flesh in
a godly union (Genesis 2:24-25), as discussed previously, the acts that
are perceived as lust for singles are acts of love in marriage. But
when you do these things without the covering of marriage, you are
operating in love’s counterfeit, lust and you will be judged (also
Hebrews 13:4). Why? Because lust doesn’t profit godliness; it only
brings forth death (I John 2:17).
There should’ve been something in Amnon’s mind that told him he was out
of control. No relationship with anyone should get you to the point
where you are physically or emotionally sick (afflicted with ill health
or disease; mentally, morally, or emotionally deranged, corrupt, or
unsound). God is love (1 John 4:8) and in love there is an abundance of
life (John 10:10). If someone has got you to the point where you cannot
function at your normal (or better) capacity, you are not in love, my
dear, you are high on lust.
The Bible warns us that:
“…in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of
themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient
to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers,
without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong,
haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of
godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of
this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of
gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always
learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth..”—2
Do you remember how we previously discussed that wisdom was described
as a “she” in the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 1:20-21)? Ladies, some of
you are concerned with getting a man when what you should be consumed
with is getting some common sense.
You wanna know how you got caught up in a relationship with a man who
calls you out of your name? Is disrespectful to you in public and in
private? Treats you like a rag doll? Controls your every move? Has you
on your second abortion and still not using any birth control? Isolates
you from your family and friends? Has sex “at” you and not “with” you?
Talks over you? Is nice to you one day and beatin’ you down the next?
Has you losing sleep and weight worrying about his “away from you”
lifestyle” and treating your sistahs with a heightened level of
One of the main reasons is because, in making your mate selection, you
did not operate in wisdom. The Bible says that we are to be wise as
serpents and harmless as doves because there are many “wolves” (i.e.,
people who are lovers of pleasure more than God) out there (Matthew
The dictionary says that a wise person is someone who has “the power of
discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; possessing
discernment, judgment, or discretion”; “knowledge of what is true or
right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment,
or insight”; “the quality of being prudent and sensible”.
Some of the synonyms of “wise” are: aware, careful, discreet, educated,
perceptive, rational, reasonable, sane, sharp, smart and well-informed.
Crazy men can get with gullible (easy, believing, naïve, simple,
unskeptical, yo-yo, foolish) women when ladies choose to put the
creature before the Creator (Romans 1:25). So my sistahs, let me say
this: If you find that you are more consumed with what “your man” (and
I use that so loosely because if you are not married to him, he’s not
your anything yet) and what he thinks more than what God thinks, not
only are you caught up in a form of idolatry (Exodus 20:3) but you are
also setting yourself up to be very hurt, disappointed and
disillusioned by what God wants your love experience with a man to
Actually, let me go one step further. God’s order for marriage is “God,
Christ, Holy Spirit, Man and Woman” but God’s order for singles is
“God, Christ, Holy Spirit and You”. God promises us that if we
acknowledge him, he will direct us (Proverbs 3:6). He also says that if
we lack wisdom in any way that we should ask of him (James 1:5). A lot
of you are on your way to being a “Second Timothy Woman” because you
are letting your “boyfriend” direct you and give you “wisdom” in what
you should do with your life. Let me tell you from personal experience
that until “Mrs.” is tacked on to your name, he has no right or godly
authority to do that. He is totally out of order and a good example of
what it is like to have a “form of godliness while denying its power.”
Of course, sometimes the haze of romanticism can keep you from seeing
this clearly and so that’s why the Word says that in all thy wisdom, we
should get an understanding (Proverbs 4:7) and a man of understanding
will seek wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5). While you are single, you need
to surround yourself with godly women and mature platonic relationships
with men because they will be able to provide you with some insight
that you may have inadvertently overlooked.
When I was a teenager, my mother let me have a phone in my room.
However, it wasn’t until the second semester of my senior year that I
was able to close the door even for a little while. It was also a given
that she had the right to pick up the phone at any time. It annoyed the
mess out of me but her logic was, “If you have to hide it, you don’t
need to be talking about it.”
When you are married, the relationship is “Godhead, man and woman” and
so yes, there are many things that will be sacred only between you and
your husband and the head of your home, God. But while you are single,
if you are living your life “with the door closed”, that is, at the
very least, a yellow warning light in your relationship. While you are
single that is the time to “discern properly what is right and true” by
getting an understanding:
Understand: to be thoroughly familiar with; apprehend clearly the
character, nature, or subtleties of; to learn or hear; to have
knowledge or background, as on a particular subject; to grasp the
significance, implications, or importance; to regard as firmly
communicated; take as agreed or settled; to know thoroughly by close
contact or long experience with; to comprehend the language, sounds,
form, or symbols of; superior power of discernment; enlightened
intelligence; to learn indirectly, as by hearsay.
When it comes to courtship, two of the best ways to avoid being
gullible by gaining wisdom and understanding is to get to know a man
“thoroughly by close contact or long experience with” and to
“comprehend the language, sounds, form or symbols of” his life.
A lot of us have known our parents all of our lives and we’re still
trying to figure them out. God created the earth in six days and yet
still allotted over nine months for a baby to be born. What makes you
think, in your flawed state, that you are ready to marry someone you
met six months ago? Sure, there are isolated instances where this has
worked, but please, in all pursuing wisdom, get an understanding.
Recent studies report that marriages—both in and out of the
Church—have about a 50% survival rate. If you are single and trying
to avoid being a statistic, this is the time to get all of the wisdom,
understanding and godly counsel that you can. “Closing the door”
doesn’t prove you are grown; it proves that you are haughty and
prideful with a false sense of maturity and we know what happens when
people let pride take over, right? (Proverbs 16:18)
Does everyone have to be in your business? No. But if you have friends
and family members with concerns, this is the time to take heed.
Remember, a friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17) and if they are
godly, that means they are loving you patiently, kindly, without envy,
unselfishly and all the while in the pursuit of truth (I Corinthians
This is also a time to look at not only what a man says but how he says
it and the body language he is using along with his words. A man who
cannot communicate without raising his voice or fists is not a man you
need to be entrusting your gift of submission to. A man who says he
loves you all the while sleeping around with half of the city is not
someone you should be entrusting your body to. A man who says he is
godly more than he shows it (because humility is a form of godliness)
is not a man you should be entrusting your spiritual path to. It takes
wisdom and understanding and (sometimes) counsel to realize that.
Whew! We haven’t even gotten to Amnon and Tamar yet and so this will be
a two-part series. However, I believe that God has given us all enough
to think on for now.
Homework for today: Make it a point to get to know you before getting
into a relationship with someone else. The reason why so many men are
able to abuse their “dominion right” is because they don’t have a full
understanding of who God is and desires for them to be. Also my
sistahs, please take note: just because a man goes to church doesn’t
make him godly. The Devil goes to church.
In the same manner, a lot of women get caught up in destructive
relationships because, in their singleness, they let a man define who
they are rather than God. In the time of not being married, no man has
the right to tell you who you are or what you should be doing with your
life. Just as when the father gives his daughter away in a marriage
ceremony, it is in the sacredness of the ceremony that a man is given
the right by God—our Heavenly Father. No sooner, no later.
Seek wisdom. Seek understanding. Seek wise counsel. PLEASE.
©Shellie R. Warren/2006