Bible Society of South Africa

Healing the hurt of rape and abuse – Day 1

The rape of a princess

Bible text(s)

5Jonadab said to him, “Pretend that you are ill and go to bed. When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Please ask my sister Tamar to come and feed me. I want her to prepare the food here where I can see her, and then serve it to me herself.’ ” 6So Amnon pretended that he was ill and went to bed.

King David went to see him, and Amnon said to him, “Please let Tamar come and make a few cakes here where I can see her, and then serve them to me herself.”

2 Samuel 13:5-6GNBOpen in Bible reader

7So David sent word to Tamar in the palace: “Go to Amnon's house and prepare some food for him.”

2 Samuel 13:7GNBOpen in Bible reader

The age-old story of Tamar’s rape is hard to read especially when we are confronted with the description of the actual rape and the raw emotion exploding on the page. Yet this story is in the Bible, not only to show the corruption of David’s household, but to show those who have been sexually assaulted that they are not alone in feeling shamed, unloved and abandoned.

Tamar was the daughter of King David. Her half-brother Amnon was passionately in love with her and constantly thought of ways to get her to love him. Then his friend Jonadab came up with a plan:

“Lie down on your bed and pretend to be sick. When your father comes to see you, ask him to send Tamar, so you can watch
her cook something for you. Then she can serve you the food.”
So Amnon went to bed and pretended to be sick. When the king came to see him, Amnon said, “Please, ask Tamar to come over. She can make some special bread while I watch, and then she can serve me the bread.”

In a male dominated society where women had few rights, David thought nothing of ordering his daughter to do his bidding and disregarding the custom of the time where a young girl was kept from meeting men: “Go over to Amnon’s house and prepare him some food.”

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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