August 31, 2011 Devotion Sharing (2 Sam. 13)
Submitted by Lem M., Gracepoint Davis Church
2 Samuel 13:21-34
“We have known David as a man of decisive action, but in this and subsequent episodes narrating the drama of his own family, David is curiously passive and indecisive. Perhaps David is himself so morally compromised by his own flagrant crimes that he cannot confront the excesses of his sons. David may be angry, but he joins the conspiracy of silence around the rape of Tamar, and in doing so he unwittingly allows Absalom’s murderous revenge to run its course.” 
What was notably missing after the statement that King David “was furious” about this incident (v. 21)?
King David was furious about the rape of Tamar, but what was notably missing was a rebuke and punishment for Amnon. This is unlike David who is usually a man of decisive action. In past DTs we have seen David spring into action to battle the enemy, chase after the Amalekites who took their families, and even go to Nabal to teach him a lesson on respect. In this text however, David does not quickly respond to the rape with swift judgment. This was a great injustice done to someone in his own household and yet he does not exercise authority that is his responsibility. The text also fails to mention that David grieved over the situation or even went to comfort Tamar. At the very least David should have confronted Amnon about the rape and rebuked him and punished him. The commentary above notes that David joined the conspiracy of silence around the rape. This incident caused Tamar to be a desolate woman who hid in shame in the house of her brother. Amnon on the other hand continued to go about his princely life and engage in princely behavior. The injustice was too great and because of David’s silence, Absalom decided to serve justice by murdering Amnon.
What may have been behind’s David’s refusal to render proper judgment on Amnon? What tragic consequences did this lead to?
The possible reason for David’s refusal to render proper judgment on Amnon is that he doesn’t feel as though he has the authority to deal with situation. This rape of Tamar happens after David’s adultery with Bathsheba. David was rebuked by the prophet Nathan for having abused his kingly position to fulfill his fleshly craving for Bathsheba. This sounds very similar to the situation with his son Amnon. Perhaps David thought he could not rebuke or punish Amnon when he himself fell to sin. Punishing his son would have been too difficult because David would feel the sting of hypocrisy with every word because of his own moral failure. In the past I had a hard time bringing a word of correction to a brother knowing that I had the same issue. I remember talking to a brother in my college years about his foul temper and bullying. That was a hard talk because every word was an indictment on my character. Perhaps David felt the same way and so he remained silent. His silence however led to the tragic consequence of Absalom having to murder Amnon. Absalom administered the justice that David failed to give and this caused greater rifts in his family which caused sin to grow as we’ll see in the following chapters.
What lesson does this have for me?
The lesson I can draw from this text is to swiftly and decisively deal with sin. When I have to confront someone of their sin there is always a moment when I have to battle my emotions. I recognize that I am as sinful as the person I am about to correct and in some cases I am struggling with the same issues they are struggling with. I have to continue battling that instinct to back away from confronting the person and stay silent. I have to keep in mind that my main priority is upholding God’s honor instead of worrying so much about my honor. The consequence of silence is just too great. Satan would want nothing more than for people to remain silent about sin whether in confession or correction of sin. Silence provides room for sin to fester and grow. Abasalom was probably hoping that his father, King David, would respond to Tamar’s rape. The fact that David remained silent probably caused Absalom to despise David. Absalom, infuriated with Tamar’s disgrace he planned for Amnon’s death. This is a warning to me. In my silence and refusal to confront sin this leaves the door open to greater sin. I also lose credibility as a leader in the process. Anyone who knew about this situation would have been crying out for David to respond. They say that the true character of a leader comes out in dealing with critical situations in a timely manner. In refusing to address sin in a decisive and timely manner I am allowing for future tragedy of sin that will have a rippling affect in my life and those I love.
 Bruce C. Birch, “The First and Second Books of Samuel,” The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. II (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1998), 1305.