Day One Hundred Two, II Sam. 12, I Chron. 3, II Sam. 13-14
For today’s reading, I’m going to lift some material again. I don’t think is directly from any notes over a particular lesson, but it is directly from my memory of what I’ve heard my preacher teach about this particular material on a few different occasions. (Did I mention that I love how he is able to teach in a way that gives me a better understanding, not just of what is going on, by maybe a little bit of insight into why it’s happening???)
If you recall in the reading a couple of days ago, the Lord assured David that because he’d done this evil, the sword would never depart from his household, and indeed, David’s life and family seems to be in disarray from that point forward.
And not only does it get ugly, but it also gets a little complicated here, so try to keep up. Two of David’s sons were Amnon and Absalom (each by different mothers). Absalom had a sister (Amnon’s half-sister) named Tamar. Amnon wanted Tamar. Desperately. He took the advice of his friend (who was also his cousin) Jonadab, which was to feign illness so she would come and care for him. And when she did, he raped her. He utterly disgraced her, then had her thrown out to the curb.
Absalom was infuriated with Amnon and did not speak to him. He took Tamar into his home and took care of her. A couple of years later, Absalom lured Amnon out at sheep-shearing time. Absalom, Amnon, and all the kings sons went out. Then, when Amnon was drunk, he gave orders to his men to kill him. After Amnon was dead, Absalom ran away.
Well, you know how word travels, and you know how rumors spread, and by the time the Telephone Game ended with David, the news was that Absalom had killed all of the kings sons. David was distraught, tore his clothes, fell facedown. Never fear, though! Our friend Jonadab (whose bright idea it was to lure Tamar in the first place) showed up in time to give David a more accurate report: only Amnon is dead. The rest of David’s sons returned home, and they all grieved for Amnon.
Meanwhile, Absalom has run to granddaddy. He went to Talmai, king of Geshur (his mother’s father) and stayed there three years. Scripture says David wanted to go to him. So why didn’t he?
That’s a good question? Why didn’t David do a lot of things throughout this episode. I mean, a couple of years passed between the time that Amnon raped Tamar and the time that Absalom killed Amnon. What did David do when that first happened? Well, Scripture says when David heard of Amnon’s actions toward Tamar, he was furious. And??? And that’s all it says. And what about after Absalom killed Amnon? He lets Absalom run home to grandpa and doesn’t speak to him for three years??? One has to seriously wonder why a father doesn’t address such actions with his sons.
Until, as I heard it so brilliantly put…can you imagine what was going on in David’s mind? Perhaps the guilt of David’s own sin prevented him from addressing these things. I mean, what’s he supposed to say to Amnon, “Listen, son, you can’t just have any woman you want.”??? “Really, Dad???? You did.” Or to Absalom, “Look son, you can’t settle your problems with physical violence”??? “Why not, Dad??? You did.”
When I first heard those ideas taught, I couldn’t help but just be shocked as I realized that’s a very real possibility, and it just highlighted for me how destructive sin really is. It highlighted for me how David’s sins might’ve affected how he handled (or didn’t handle, in this case) future situations, which just led to even more sin.
But also, it was a wake up call to the reality that sin still works the same way. It is destructive. It leads to even more sin. It has consequences that can last a lifetime. I can’t help but think of the passage in James 1 that says that when we are dragged away and enticed by our own evil desires, they give birth to sin. And when sin is full-grown, it gives birth to death.