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Part 4: Injustice of Tamar Daughter of Kind David ( 2 Samuel 13:1-22)


Observation of the Narrative of Tamar Daughter of King David:


In my doctorate, research the problem I encounter is that the dismissal of women's voices denies the church the complete revelation of God and God's work among human beings. In this narrative, we witness a pre-meditated violation against Tamar, the daughter of King David. In telling the story, we are privy to the true nature of the drama unfolding, and the characters are not. King David's son Amnon falls in love with his half-sister Tamar (13:1). He obsesses over her and eventually tells his cousin Jonadab. Jonadab makes a plan so that Amnon can get what he wants, a sexual encounter with Tamar (13:2-6). Unknown to Tamar, she is about to be sexually trafficked by her cousin and raped by her half-brother.


With the #MeToo Movement and #ChurchToo Movement, it is becoming very clear that this is a story that many women have experienced and continue to experience. What is horrifying is that it is just as prevalent in churches as it is outside. I encourage you to open your bible up to this passage and look through Tamar's eight statements. She speaks very clearly that she is not a willing participant, just like many women do today. Regardless of what she says she is still raped, and quickly silenced by those who are supposed to care for her. She never experiences justice and just fades out of the story. Her voice is the voice of many, this story needs to be examined and told in our churches regardless of its horrific nature, the trauma, and tragedy, and the lack of justice and restoration. What is even more difficult is that God is not a character in this story. This story does not bring easy answers and only more questions.


Tamar obeys her father King David's order to go to Amnon's house and prepare breadcakes for him (13:7-8). She lives in a patriarchal power structure, therefore, must obey her father, who is also the king. Once Tamar realizes what is about to happen, she makes “eight articulate statements”[1] that tell us that she is not a willing participant and to give her brother an honorable way out.[2] After the rape Amnon "was seized with a very great loathing for her,"[3] (13:15) and throws her out of his room Tamar is shamed in every way. "Amnon's banishment is worse than the sexual violation, for Tamar has little recourse as a victim of both rape and later revulsion by the king's son."[4] It is her full brother Absalom that silences her. There is no positive resolution, no justice for Tamar.


[1] Keree Casey, “What Part of ‘No’ Don’t You Understand? —Talking the Tough Stuff of the Bible: A Creative Reading of the Rape of Tamar—2 Sam. 13:1-22,” accessed January 18, 2023, https://doi.org/10.1177/0966735009348549. [2] Gerald West et al., “Rape in the House of David: The Biblical Story of Tamar as a Resource for Transformation,” Agenda (Durban) 18, no. 61 (2004): 36–41, https://doi.org/10.1080/10130950.2004.9676038. [3] Casey, “What Part of ‘No’ Don’t You Understand?” [4] Rachel Adelman, Rachel Adelman, “Tamar 2 | Jewish Women’s Archive,” accessed February 9, 2023, https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/tamar-2.


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