Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: HOT (08/10/17)
TITLE: Defiled and Deceived
By Elaine Hemingway
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Amnon, elder son of David, appeared to have inherited some of his father’s unbridled passion. While David had lusted after Bathsheba and greatly angered Yahweh, his desire had developed into love. Amnon’s craving though had become an obsession which he shared with his friend Jonadab who added to the cauldron of mistakes in the family line.
“Why should I not be allowed to take my sister Tamar to my bed?” Amnon growled. “There she was this morning, mine for the taking if I had dared, but outdoors could be dangerous.”
Jonadab stroked his young beard thoughtfully. What advice could he give the future king? he wondered. Like tinder to a fire, he set in motion a conflagration that would later consume the royal family in its intensity. His advice was simple, though morally unsound, and involved an unlikely formula for seduction. Tea, sweet and scalding, with bread, freshly baked and prepared by his sister’s fair hand seemed to be a recommendation worthy of action. What could be simpler or more innocent sounding than a request that Tamar would prepare f food for her brother when he feigned fever?
Later, at David’s request, Tamar took dough to the house of her half-brother, Amnon, and baked it for him, offering him warm chunks fresh from the oven. He sent everyone else from the room and took her arm, drawing her close to him. “Come into my bedroom,” he implored, “and sleep with me for I have yearned for you with a craving that cannot be denied.”
“Don’t force me,” she cried, but no-one heard. “Don’t do this wicked thing that should not be done in Israel. What will become of me?”
He ignored her cries, and took her, violently and viciously, then flung her aside with loathing. The flames of desire that once burned in his loins became coals of contempt as he cast her out of his room. Her torn clothes with her tears making rivulets down the ashes she had thrown over her head, were enough for her brother Absalom to build up an intense hatred for Amnon. It was a hatred that would lead to murder.
David, when he was told of the disgrace brought upon his daughter by his son, was furious but did nothing! Absalom waited for his chance of revenge.
Read this story in 2 Samuel 13:1-38 and recognise how far sparks can spread building into a conflagration that consumes a family, destroys relationships and reverberates through history as lessons for us all to learn.
• Families should be havens of trust.
• Impure thoughts are dangerous and not to be harboured.
• Tamar asked, “What about me? Where can I get rid of my disgrace?” We don’t know whether she turned to God, but we do know that Jesus came to help repair all damages and heal the sick and hurting.
• Even good friends can give bad advice. Advice should always be tested against God’s infallible Word.
As we read at the end of the chapter, Jonadab was still around stirring the pot after Amnon’s death. Had he learned anything from the outcome of his advice?
I am reminded of Sir Walter Scott’s poem, ‘Marmion’, where his words have become proverbial. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
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