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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Crime and Punishment (not about the book) (07/21/11)

TITLE: The Choice
By Alexia Oosthuizen
07/27/11


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“No!” Tamar hung her head and wept in disbelief. Abigail had just delivered the startling news that Avshalom had usurped his father’s throne. Tamar’s fingers felt cold and clammy against her forehead. Her head was swimming.

“How did it happen?” Abigail explained that the prince had slept with David’s concubines on the roof, and then raised a revolt at Hebron. “I just don’t understand how your brother garnered enough support to make the king think it necessary to leave Jerusalem.”
Tamar could guess. Avshalom, affable and most beautiful of all the men in the kingdom, must have been plying the hearts of the people for quite some time. All her life, he’d been able to coax Tamar into doing whatever he wanted.
Now his charm might well be the death of him. Heaven forbid!

Avshalom might not be the same person he’d been before her rape, but he was still the only person within the royal family who’d been as devastated over Amnon’s violation of her, as Tamar herself. Her father’s reaction to the horrific incident stung. Thinking about it still caused a burning in her throat.
Not now, Tamar! Avshalom needs you ... and so does father.

Anybody raised in David’s courts could attest to the fact that he was anointed of God, and as such, was not to be trifled with. Someone had to remind her brother of this. And since those around him were foolhardy enough to support him, that someone had to be her.

By the time Tamar reached Avshalom, she’d uttered countless prayers to Yahweh, for the strength and wisdom she needed to convince her brother to course correct.
“Tamar! What are you doing here?”
Tamar noted that although Avshalom was taken aback by her visit, he'd quickly readied himself for an argument.
“If you’ve come to talk me out of this, you’re too late. Our father has brought this on himself.”
As he defiantly threw his chin forward, Tamar once again marvelled at the luxuriant blue-black hair cascading down his back. No question, Avshalom was exceedingly handsome. If only he were home with a good wife and children, instead of here, plotting such wickedness.

“Is it not enough that Amnon is dead, brother?” Instead of answering, he returned her question: “Is it enough for you?
For two years I watched you mourn the death of your innocence, weeping inconsolably, and shutting out the world. Then, after I killed Amnon, you retreated even further. I could read between the lines of the sparse letters you sent while I was in exile. I saw that you too couldn’t understand why the king was more grieved over the death of Amnon than he’d been over your assault. Was the hurt our father inflicted not as bad as the pain caused by Amnon’s sin?”

Tamar closed her eyes, in an attempt to shut out the overwhelming sights and sounds within her brother’s buzzing, makeshift war room.
She considered his question. Was it?

The rape had left her feeling that she’d never be loved. Never have a husband, or children, or friends who’d look at her with respect. Then, David’s seeming refusal to acknowledge the matter, served to confirm her fears. She’d felt that she didn’t matter. Not even to Yahweh.

But the Almighty had shown her otherwise, over time. The nightmares had stopped, for one thing. And she was starting to enjoy the taste of food again ...
“Daughter, though my servant David showed no concern for your pain, I do. And the only thing standing in the way of your complete healing is your unwillingness to forgive.”

Tamar sucked in her breath at the perfect clarity of the whisper. If she did not forgive Amnon, bitterness would consume her as surely as it had Avshalom!

“No!”
“What?”
“I said, no ... It did, but not anymore. Amnon behaved like a brute, and our father’s indecision was unwise, but, if I continue to reflect on what happened, I will never move forward. I choose to forgive them.”

As she said the words, it was as though thick chains exploded off her chest, and she could truly inhale for the first time in years. Praise Yahweh!

“If I didn’t make them pay, who would?”
“Well, it is the LORD’s right to avenge. But you know what? I don’t need Him too, anymore. Would that you come to feel the same, before it is too late.”

His hard eyes said that was unlikely.


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Rachel Stone07/28/11
One of the saddest stories in the Bible. A good re-telling. I liked the highlighting of Tamar's choice to forgive.