The obsession of lust

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Today’s piece is none like any other we have done on this platform before. It is one of a kind. Perhaps one of many like it to come. It is story, a Bible story to precise, narrated by none other than my little brother Brian- a very shrewd and intelligent fella. All credit goes to him. I cannot count the times I have taken credit for something he has done and him something I have done because people cannot tell us apart. We pretty much look alike except I’m an inch or two taller if you look closely. I am merely the instrument through which it gets to you. Today I play the role of a commentator. It is quite a catchy story, told without the cryptic divinity we are used to. The kind that made me not want to miss Sunday school. The only thing that prevented me from falling asleep in church in those early days. Perhaps its why I became a good story teller after all. So, dear people, take your children to Sunday school, sit back and let Brian take us back there for you to see what your child might be missing. I loved it, I hope you will too.

The scripture begins by admitting that Tamar was a beautiful girl, a virgin, and Amnon her step-brother had fallen in “love” with her. It’s fascinating how the virginity of Tamar bothered and frustrated Amnon to a point of illness for it seemed impossible to do anything to her. This keeps me thinking – we still have virgin hunters today? Jonadab, the Dr. Love in the story notices the haggardness(thinning) of Amnon day by day. He probed him on the probable reasons why this was happening. Being a friend, Amnon says to him, “Am in Love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s Sister.” it’s funny how he makes his relationship with Tamar appear farfetched. He would as well have said my step sister. Dr. love in his shrewdness comes with a crafty idea that seems so appealing and feasible to Amnon.

 “Go to bed and pretend to be ill. When your father comes to see you say to him: ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and eat from her hand’”

By now, Amnon has already adopted the advice quickly and completely to deceitfully arrange a private meeting with Tamar. He didn’t need to say “And force yourself on Tamar.” They say a wise man sees ahead. They shared in the same pool of wickedness with Dr. Love. David came, indulged the fiction of Amnon and sent for Tamar. I wonder what type of a father does this, even when it’s so plain and bold that there is a smelling rat under the bowl. First. Amnon’s behavior was clearly childish, he acted like a baby. Who refuses food unless it is served the way we want it? Could it have been that David – having many wives, children, state responsibilities – didn’t take time to be a true father and thus tented the guilt by being soft and indulgent to his children?

David joined the characters that aided the rape of Tamar. Amnon refuses to eat the food anyway. Meaning whatever he had told his father was a white lie. He then sends everyone out of the room and asks Tamar to take the food to the bedroom. Now to Tamar, did she still think that Amnon was straight after all this suggestive acts?  After all she was her brother. Amnon tells Tamar, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” Here, his evil naturally manifested itself. This guy was a spoilt prince who always took what he wanted. Tell me, is it that his hands were lame? That the only way that food would have been granted permission for swallowing was if and only if Tamar put it in her mouth. What a selective and sensitive digestive system! What happens today?? What schemes are put in place??

In response to Mt. Everest order, Tamar easily saw how evil and disgraceful this was and says:

 “No my brother, do not force me, for such a thing should not be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing. And as for you, you would be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king; he would not withhold me from you.”

Tamar here shows her wisdom, as she wisely asks Amnon to consider the result of his desire, both for her and for him. It would shame Tamar and reveal Amnon as one of the fools. Blinded by lust, Amnon would not see the inevitable result of his desire. There is something exceedingly tender and persuasive in this speech by Tamar, but Amnon was a mere brute, and it was all lost on him. She even proposes a possible marriage which she knew had a zero probability of happening. She probably said this as a ploy to get away from Amnon. Because the ill brute was stronger and the planning had appeared to be full blown, he raped her. Let me use a Christian word, he forced himself on her.

After his ‘expression of Love’ to Tamar, says to her “arise and be gone.” It’s now clear that her virginity really bothered this rotten prince. Amnon was only interested in what he would get from her and not out of being concerned about her. How do boys/men behave after they have taken the one thing your body has kept intact since birth? The one thing they can only get from you. Y’all know the answer to that. For Amnon, we are told clearly that he hated Tamar with greater hatred than the love he had for her. Tamar was a reminder of his foolish sin. As a prince, he wanted every reminder off his visual.

Tamar responds by letting him know that the idea of sending her away is even worse than the rape. But Amnon was a ‘sikio la kufa’. He called his attendants and said to them,” Here! Put this woman out, away from me and bolt the door behind her.”Of course what Amnon did to Tamar was wrong but he could have somewhat redeemed the situation by either marrying her or paying the bride price to compensate for the fact that Tamar was less likely to be married for she was no longer a virgin. Tamar deserved better treatment as an Israelite. Tamar deserved better treatment as a relative. Tamar deserved better treatment as a sister. Tamar deserved better treatment as a Princess. Despite all this, Amnon spitefully treated Tamar as this woman.

Tamar mourned the withdrawal of his dignity and could not keep it to herself. She cried and poured ashes on herself. She tore the robe of many colors worn by virgins. She didn’t treat it as something to be kept in secrecy. She needed not to hide the truth. Her value was nowhere to be found. Her brother comforted her and asked her not to take the matter to her heart. After all, Amnon was their brother. Absalom automatically knew something had happened though his brother thought he had concealed everything. The Bible is so clear that Tamar did not go to her father.

King David heard all this and was angry but did nothing at all, not even to reprove the crown prince. Why?? This is often how the iniquity of the fathers is carried on by the children to the third and fourth generations. A child will often model a parent’s sinful behavior and will go further in the direction of sin the parent is pointed towards.

On his part, it was a grave miscalculation. Why did he not reprove him at least very sharply for his foul act?

They say a man never hears his own voice till it comes back to him from the phonograph. Certainly a man never sees the worst of himself until it reappears in his child. – Meyer

All this time Absalom played it cool. He spake not anything to his brother Amnon neither good nor bad.

Two years went by and Absalom never ceased plotting the revenge of Amnon’s lust against Tamar. The sheep-shearing festivities came. Absalom had a great feast and invited all the king’s sons. David was hesitant to attend the feast but Absalom insisted that at least to allow Amnon to be in the feast. This was a similar form of cunningness as previously seen in Amnon. This invitation through David made him partly responsible for their meeting, just as Amnon used him to lure Tamar into a private meeting.

This was Absaloms plot and order to his servants:

“Watch now, when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘strike Amnon!’ then kill him. Do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and variant.”

As a cunning killer, Absalom waited until Amnon was relaxed and vulnerable. Amnon probably came to the feast nervous about being with Absalom but after a few cups of wine he was relaxed. And in that moment, Absalom ordered “Strike Amnon”. Na Amnon akamadwa!

Do you remember in 2 Samuel 12:10 when God told David that the sword will never depart from his house in judgement of his sin? This was definitely a partial fulfillment of this very promise.

As David had committed adultery, made Uriah drunk, and then murdered him: so Amnon committeth incest, is made drunk and is then murdered. – Trapp

Then David learns of what transpired, first, that all the King’s sons are dead. No sooner than later, Dr. Love; Jonadab comes with a more relieving offer:

“Let not my lord suppose they have killed all the Young men, the king’s sons, only Amnon is dead. For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar. Now therefore, let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead.” Vs 32 & 33

David didn’t respond with a sense of unbelief. I suppose he knew what Absalom was capable of doing. Jonadab longed to present himself as a good man but he had orchestrated the whole course of events to go in that direction behind the curtains (the behind the scenes’ guy). David and his servants wept bitterly and mourned. Absalom was so bold to punish Amnon because his father was reluctant to punish him.

Absalom fled to Talmai the King of Geshur, this made sense for him because his mother’s father was the King of Geshur. After 3 years, David longed to be reconciled with Absalom again. He had no damn idea in his head to correct him of the mess. David’s indulgence towards Amnon is repeated towards Absalom and he meets a similar end.

I sincerely hope you got something from it.

Yours truly,

©C.J. NJOROGE

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About The Philosopher King

Writer, philosopher, painter and a student of life and politics. Follow on Twitter @cj_njoroge. Instagram @cj_njoroge

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