We saw yesterday that David, as king, decreed a fourfold judgment upon himself because of the sin concerning Uriah the Hittite and his wife Bathsheba. The first judgment was the death of the infant conceived by adultery. The second judgment occurred by the desolation of Tamar. Her life was essentially taken from her, because non- virgins were not given in marriage in Israel. In the biblical way of doing things, it is one man and one woman for life. The man who takes a woman’s virginity is the one man. A virgin sheds blood, and that is the blood of the covenant that is made between that one man and that one woman.
This is why, when Amnon rejected Tamar, his rejection was worse than the rape (2 Sam 13:16). He was the one man who had made a blood covenant with her, but then he repudiated the covenant. As a result, Tamar had her future and her life taken from her, because the only future available to her now, is not the happy future of a beloved wife and mother, but desolation in her father’s house.
But notice that she did not go to her father’s house. In the Torah, a woman’s father is the one who makes sure all things are done justly for that woman. If a man takes a woman’s virginity, then he pays the bride price for that woman to her father, and she becomes his wife (Deu 22:28-29). And he cannot diminish her food, clothing, or marital rights (s-x and children) all the days of her life. David is Tamar’s father. What did he do for Tamar? When he heard of it, he was very angry, but he did not do justice for her, because Amnon was his first- born son and his heir. In a sense, by his inaction, he took Amnon’s side against Tamar and perverted, not only justice as king, but righteousness as a father.
So Tamar lived desolately in her brother Absalom’s house. In the biblical way of doing things, fathers care for their unmarried daughters, and when the father is no longer able to do so (because of death), the oldest brother takes on that responsibility as head of the family.
So Absalom became responsible for his sister Tamar, but because their father was still alive with the unrepented sin of not treating his children righteously, resentment burned in Absalom’s heart. If David had taken care of Amnon’s sin, Absalom would have been able to go on. Therefore, Absalom became the one who executed justice for Tamar against Amnon, by killing him (Deu 22:25-27), and this was the third of the fourfold judgments against David.
Some have charged God with unfairness because of the sword that is being employed against David’s children. But this was the sword that David himself used. God is not arbitrarily choosing some horrible punishment for David, but David’s own sin chose this punishment for him:
1) He used his power as king to force Bathsheba to be unfaithful to her husband.
2) He used his power as king to kill her husband with the sword.
3) He used his power as king to cover up his crimes.
4) His own authority as king spoke the judgment the man was to suffer who had taken the poor man’s ewe lamb.
His punishment would not have been so harsh if he had been a private citizen. But no private citizen could use the authority and the resources of the state to abuse people and manipulate them for personal gain as David had. Abuse of power is a very bad thing: it is a violation of Honor your father and mother (respect God- ordained authority) when authority takes advantage of the command to honor, respect, and obey in order to abuse and commit sin.