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Posts tagged ‘Tamar’

Let the Pain Go.

girlinthought-prayEvery woman has endured one kind of heartbreak or another. We’ve all had the unfortunate experience of betrayal, and we’ve grieved over the difficulty of getting past it.

As Christian women, how do we process the hurts we go through? And where is our God in the midst of them?

In the book of 2 Samuel, King David’s daughter Tamar suffered an unspeakable violation at the hands of her brother Amnon, who afterward, rejected her and cast her away.

The Scripture says: “Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing.

She put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went” (2 Sam. 13:19, NIV).

Imagine how this tragic scene might have played out.

Tamar’s weeping came from the depths of her soul and ran through the canyons of her entire being.

Clutching her torn garments to her breast as if to reserve the last shreds of her dignity, she made her way across the courtyard.

The ashes with which she had covered herself were a silent witness to the stain of violation no tears could wash away. Nothing could. If she took a thousand baths, she would still feel unclean (see 2 Sam. 13:19).

Tamar was empty, spent, a prisoner of her own despair. She could still feel her half-brother Amnon’s eyes glaring at her with intense hatred. Still hear his words ringing in her ears, “‘Get this woman out of here and bolt the door behind her'” (2 Sam. 13:17). “This woman! This woman!” She had been deceived and raped, but being reduced to just another woman in her half-brother’s eyes was more than she could bear.

The sounds of her suffering carried on the wind, drawing the attention of her brother Absalom. He came bounding from his house to see what had so devastated her.

Absalom said to her: “‘Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.’

And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman” (2 Sam. 13:20).

She felt so ashamed as she shared her plight with him. Would he blame her for this? Would he say that she had done something to entice Amnon? The thought of his name caused her to shiver in repulsion.

She thought Amnon liked her. She had caught his gaze many times when he did not avert his eyes quickly enough to conceal his longing.

It was inconceivable that he had such evil intentions toward her.

Though they did not share the same mother, the blood of their father, David, joined them together in a familial bond that could not be ignored.

Now it was too late.

Amnon’s “love” had changed to hatred.

As a matter of fact, he hated Tamar more now than he had ever loved her.

Now he cast her aside carelessly, as if he had never known her at all.

Now where could she turn? Who would come to her defense? No one had been present to hear her cries, to witness this travesty.

Absalom could only clumsily comfort her by suggesting that she should not take this matter to heart.

Though Absalom did not accuse her, his attempts to calm her did not repair her shredded soul.

How could she not take it to heart? The inner core of her being had been brutally invaded. Her very soul had been ravaged and left for dead.

Yes, a part of Tamar had died that day.

It did not come back to life when, after several years, Absalom avenged her by killing Amnon.

His death could not console her devastated heart.

And as she wandered the halls of Absalom’s house, day in and day out she resigned herself to believing that only the night and her dreams would give her relief from the desolation that had taken up residence within her.


Men are mandated by God to treat the women in their lives with respect and honor. They are called to protect and cover us.

However, the heart of fallen man does not always heed the call of the Spirit.

When flesh rules, men and women alike fall prey to selfishness, impulsiveness, impatience, lust, covetousness, manipulation, strife and every evil work.

The cycle of violation that follows sinks the soul into deeper and deeper depravity, wreaking more and more destruction on others not aware of the pain of the offender.

Whether it is an abusive mother that builds fury in the heart of a young man, a father with a perverted sense of affection toward his young daughter, or some other past relationship or painful incident, no one knows the motivation of one who violates and damages another person’s heart, body or spirit.

There is no such thing as a small or insignificant violation or offense.

One cannot compare violations to rationalize which will cause less or greater damage.

The bottom line is the pain is a large reality to the person who has been victimized.

To try to explain away the pain or attempt to put it in any type of context is to demean the one who is already struggling to make sense of the occurrence.

Though the pain is the same, the circumstances can be different. One can be raped emotionally as well as physically.

A person’s heart can be violated by the misinterpreted motives or deceptive actions of another.

The wound can sometimes be deeper than if a physical act had been involved.

Ruptured trust can give birth to fears that can grow and overwhelm its victim.

In their mind, a thousand “whys” remain unanswered.

There may never be a visible rhyme or reason behind actions of abuse, rape, betrayal, emotional battery or adultery.

Emotional devastation can go deeper than physical abuse, simply because it can be more difficult to locate the source of suffering in order to deal with it.

Neither party walks away unscathed by these painful encounters.

Regardless of what the eyes see, both people pay; both lose pieces of themselves.

Those who inflict pain on others are usually weaker than those they violate and have no knowledge of how to extract themselves from the prison of anger and pain they find themselves bound in.

The antagonist who never suffers the consequences of their actions comes to believe that there are none.

Which in the end only serves to increase their pain because their abusive behavior is a cry for help.

However this knowledge is usually lost on the victim who is trying to recover from her assault.

Both the perpetrator and the victim become people with the potential to hurt others over and over again until the root of their anger is addressed and done away with.

Such is the cycle of unresolved pain. Yet the power of God’s healing is always available.


In order to embrace the One who comes with healing arms to comfort us, we must first extricate ourselves from the offense.

We will never forget the experience, but we must choose to understand (this does not mean justify) and forgive the one who has wronged us.

If we allow ourselves to become prisoners of unforgiveness and bitterness, we are sentenced to live a life of seclusion, self-loathing and hopelessness.

How do you begin to forgive someone who has hurt you? Do you begin sifting through your pain to find the one grain of rationale that could excuse the other person’s behavior?.

Sometimes there is none. What does one do then?

We have all heard that hurt people hurt other people, and this is a fact that is resoundingly true.

It must also be noted that if someone truly loves you, they would never seek to hurt you on purpose.

Yet, loved ones do offend, they do jolt us emotionally, shock us, dismay us and sometimes even violate us through shattering the things that are nearest and dearest to our hearts.

Your body, your mind and even your self-esteem can be dealt a blow from which you feel you will never recover, but recovery is just a choice away.

The gift of free will that God gave to us is more powerful than we know.

Many of us have not exercised the greatest reaches of its capacity to bounce back, overcome and even forgive.

Forgive even when you are right and the other person is wrong.

The truth is that forgiveness has nothing to do with who is right or wrong.

Forgiveness is a free agent.

It is not attached to reason or agreement or even understanding.

It is however attached to wholeness and to your healing and liberation.

Unforgiveness is a prison.

It slams the door on new beginnings and entrenches you in your present pain.

It chains the heart and stops it from beating.

It suffocates joy and paralyzes your ability to move on. Unforgiveness is the cancer of the soul.

It slowly eats away the marrow of your existence and impairs your judgment, your personality and your ability to love again.

The desire to want to hurt the person who hurt you can be overwhelming.

We want them to feel the torture we think they deserve.

“How can he act as though nothing ever happened?” We ask.

“It’s not fair! Where is God in all this? Is there no justice!”

Yes, there is justice.

But justice comes only after we have released our offender into the hands of the One who is solely in the position to judge.


Only God knows both sides of the story.

The fears, the past wounds, the generational conditioning, the weaknesses, the insufficiencies of character and integrity.

He knows the things that we failed to notice—the things that should have warned us to guard our hearts.

Only God knows the hidden motives and unspoken regrets of the one who hurt you—their sickness, their brokenness.

The assumptions we make usually do more damage than the truth:

“He doesn’t even notice how much he hurt me!”

“How could he be so cold?”

“How could they just ignore my cries for help and walk away?”

“Doesn’t anyone see my pain?”

Our imaginations can be unmerciful.

Trust me, it’s never what you think.

Your guesses will always be more cruel than the reality of what really transpired, adding unnecessary injury to insult.

You must let it go.

You need to forgive, not for the sake of the one who hurt or violated you—for your own.

It’s time to redirect your focus and move on.

And you won’t be able to do that if you continue to nurse and rehearse your anger, the many wrongs done against you, all the reasons why.

If you can’t forgive for your own sake, forgive for God’s sake.

He needs your hands open in order to bless you. Cooperate.

The one who wronged you does not deserve so much of your time, energy or attention.

Your fixation is standing in the gap between that person and God, shielding him from conviction.

Move out of the way.

Free him to receive the proper correction from God.

Free yourself to receive your healing.

Forgive because you need to be forgiven.

How can you expect what you are unable to give yourself! Forgive my dear sister, because you are not alone.

We have all been prisoners of our unspoken pain and suffering. So come and join us on the other side.

Choose to forgive because it is what God requires of you, and it is what is best.

He will help you to forgive from your heart and not just from your head.

Ask Him for strength to release your offender, for to release him (or her) is to release yourself.

Trust God to free you from your anger and your pain and from all the questions that continually assault your mind.

Let Him speak words of comfort to you and assure you that He has taken heed to the things that have transpired.

Although you may never forget what has happened, He will enable you to forgive even as He has forgiven you.

By Michelle McKinney Hammond.


The last words addressed by Judah to his sons were the following: “I was the fourth son begotten by my father, and my mother called me Judah, saying, ‘I thank the Lord that He hath given me a fourth son.

‘ I was zealous in my youth and obedient to my father in all things. When I grew up to manhood, he blessed me, saying, ‘Thou wilt be king, and wilt prosper in all thy ways.

‘ The Lord granted me His grace in whatever I undertook, in the field and in the house. I could speed as swiftly as the hind, and overtake it, and prepare a dish of it for my father. A deer I could catch on the run, and all the animals of the valley. A wild mare I could outstrip, hold it, and bridle it. A lion I slew, and snatched a kid from its jaws.

A bear I caught by the paw, and flung it adown the cliff, and it lay beneath crushed. I could keep pace with the wild boar, and overtake it, and as I ran I seized it, and tore it to pieces. A leopard sprang at my dog in Hebron, and I grasped its tail, and hurled it away from me, and its body burst on the coast at Gaza. A wild steer I found grazing in the field. I took it by its horns, swung it round and round until it was stunned, and then I cast it to the ground and killed it.”

Judah continued and told his children of his heroism in the wars that the sons of Jacob had waged with the kings of Canaan and with Esau and his family. In all these conflicts he bore a distinguished part, beyond the achievements of the others. His father Jacob was free from all anxiety when Judah was with his brethren in their combats, because he had had a vision showing him an angel of strength standing at the side of Judah on all his ways.

Judah did not conceal his shortcomings, either. He confessed how drunkenness and passion had betrayed him first into marriage with a Canaanitish woman, and then into improper relations with his daughter-in-law Tamar. He said to his children:

“Do not walk after the desire of your hearts, and vaunt not the valiant deeds of your youth. This, too, is evil in the eyes of the Lord. For while I boasted that the face of a beautiful woman had never allured me in the wars, and reviled my brother Reuben for his transgression with Bilhah, the spirit of passion and unchastity gained possession of me, and I took Bath-shua to wife, and trespassed with Tamar, though she was the affianced of my son.

First I said to Bath-shua’s father, ‘I will take counsel with my father Jacob, to know whether I should marry thy daughter,’ but he was a king, and he showed me an untold heap of gold accredited to his daughter, and he adorned her with the magnificence of women, in gold and pearls, and he bade her pour the wine at the meal.

The wine turned my eyes awry, and passion darkened my heart. In mad love for her, I violated the command of the Lord and the will of my father, and I took her to wife. The Lord gave me a recompense according to the counsel of my heart, for I had no joy in the sons she bore me.

“And now, my children, I pray you, do not intoxicate yourselves with wine, for wine twists the understanding away from the truth, and confuses the sight of the eyes. Wine led me astray, so that I felt no shame before the throngs of people in the city, and I turned aside and went in to Tamar in the presence of them, and committed a great sin.

And though a man be a king, if he leads an unchaste life, he loses his kingship. I gave Tamar my staff, which is the stay of my tribe, and my girdle-cord, which is power, and my signet-diadem, which is the glory of my kingdom. I did penance for all this, and unto old age I drank no wine, and ate no flesh, and knew no sort of pleasure. Wine causes the secret things of God and man to be revealed unto the stranger.

Thus did I disclose the commands of the Lord and the mysteries of my father Jacob to the Canaanite woman Bath-shua, though God had forbidden me to betray them. I also enjoin you not to love gold, and not to look upon the beauty of women, for through money and through beauty I was led astray to Bath-shua the Canaanite.

I know that my stock will fall into misery through these two things, for even the wise men among my sons will be changed by them, and the consequence will be that the kingdom of Judah will be diminished, the domain that the Lord gave me as a reward for my obedient conduct toward my father, for never did I speak in contradiction of him, but I did all things according to his words.

And Isaac, my father’s father, blessed me with the blessing that I should be ruler in Israel, and I know that the kingdom will arise from me. In the books of Enoch the just I read all the evil that ye will do in the latter days. Only beware, my children, of unchastity and greed, for love of gold leads to idolatry, causing men to call them gods that are none, and dethroning the reason of man.

On account of gold I lost my children, and had I not mortified my flesh, and humbled my soul, and had not my father Jacob offered up prayers for me, I had died childless. But the God of my fathers, the merciful and gracious One, saw that I had acted unwittingly, for the ruler of deception had blinded me, and I was ignorant, being flesh and blood, and corrupt through sins, and in the moment when I considered myself invincible, I recognized my weakness.”

Then Judah revealed to his sons, in clear, brief words, the whole history of Israel until the advent of the Messiah, and his final speech was: “My children, observe the whole law of the Lord; in it is hope for all that keep His ways. I die this day at the age of one hundred and nineteen years before your eyes. None shall bury me in a costly garment, nor shall ye cut my body to embalm it, but ye shall carry me to Hebron.”

Having spoken these words, Judah sank into death.

By Louis Ginzberg.


When the sons of Jacob saw how inconsolable their father was, they went to Judah, and said to him, “This great misfortune is thy fault.” Judah replied: “It was I that asked you, What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? and now you say the sin lies at my door.

” The brethren continued to argue: “But it was thou that didst say, Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and we followed thy advice.

Hadst thou said, Let us restore him to his father, we had heeded these words of thine as well.”

The brethren hereupon deprived Judah of his dignity, for hitherto he had been their king, and they also excluded him from their fellowship, and he had to seek his fortune alone. Through the mediation of his chief shepherd Hirah, he became acquainted with the Canaanitish king of Adullam, Barsan by name. Though he was well aware of the corruption of the generations of Canaan, he permitted passion to get the better of him, and took a Canaanite to wife.

The Adullamite king gave a banquet in his honor, at which his daughter Bath-shua poured the wine, and intoxicated by wine and passion Judah took her and married her. Judah’s action may be compared to that of the lion who passes a carrion and eats of it, though a cur preceding him on the way had refused to touch it. Even Esau came in time to acknowledge that the daughters of Canaan were wicked, and the lion Judah must needs take one of them to wife. The holy spirit cried out against Judah when he married the Canaanite woman of Adullam, saying, “The glory of Israel went down in Adullam.”

The first-born son of Judah from this marriage was named Er, “the childless,” a suitable name for him that died without begetting any issue. At Judah’s desire, Er married Tamar, a daughter of Aram, the son of Shem, but because she was not a Canaanitish woman, his mother used artifices against her, and he did not know her, and an angel of the Lord killed him on the third day after his wedding. Then Judah gave Tamar to his second son Onan, the marriage taking place before the week of the wedding festivities for Er had elapsed.

A whole year Onan lived with Tamar without knowing her, and when, finally, Judah uttered threats against him on that account, he did, indeed, have intercourse with her, but, giving heed to the injunctions of his mother, he took care not to beget any children with her. He, too, died on account of his iniquity, and his name Onan “mourning,” was well chosen, for very soon was his father called upon to mourn for him.

Now Judah conceived the plan of marrying Tamar to his youngest son Shelah, but his wife would not permit it. She hated Tamar because she was not of the daughters of Canaan like herself, and while Judah was away from home, Bath-shua chose a wife for her son Shelah from the daughters of Canaan. Judah was very angry at Bath-shua for what she had done, and also God poured out His wrath upon her, for on account of her wickedness she had to die, and her death happened a year after that of her two sons.

Now that Bath-shua was dead, Judah might have carried out his wish and married Tamar to his youngest son. But he waited for Shelah to grow up, because he feared for his life, seeing that Tamar had brought death to two husbands before him. So she remained a widow in her father’s house for two years.

Endowed with the gift of prophecy, Tamar knew that she was appointed to be the ancestress of David and of the Messiah, and she determined to venture upon an extreme measure in order to make sure of fulfilling her destiny. Accordingly, when the holy spirit revealed to her that Judah was going up to Timnah, she put off from her the garments of her widowhood, and sat in the gate of Abraham’s tent, and there she encountered Judah.

All the time she lived in the house of her father-in-law, he had never seen her face, for in her virtue and chastity she had always kept it covered, and now when Judah met her, he did not recognize her. It was as a reward for her modesty that God made her to become the mother of the royal line of David, and the ancestress of Isaiah, and his father Amoz as well, both of whom were prophets and of royal blood.

Judah passed Tamar by without paying any attention to her, and she raised her eyes heavenward, and said, “O Lord of the world, shall I go forth empty from the house of this pious man?” Then God sent the angel that is appointed over the passion of love, and he compelled Judah to turn back. With prophetic caution, Tamar demanded that, as a pledge for the reward he promised her, he leave with her his signet, his mantle, and his staff, the symbols of royalty, judgeship, and Messiahship, the three distinctions of the descendants of Tamar from her union with Judah.

When Judah sent her the promised reward, a kid of the goats, by the hand of his friend, in order to receive the pledges from her hand, Tamar could not be found, and he feared to make further search for her, lest he be put to shame. But Tamar, who soon discerned that she was with child, felt very happy and proud, for she knew that she would be the mother of kings and redeemers.

When her state became known, she was forcibly dragged before the court, in which Isaac, Jacob, and Judah sat as judges. Judah, being the youngest of the judges and the least considerable in dignity, was the first to give a decision, for thus it is prescribed in criminal cases, that the prominent judges overawe not the lesser and influence their decisions unduly. It was the opinion of Judah that the woman was liable to the penalty of death by burning, for she was the daughter of the high priest Shem, and death by fire is the punishment ordained by the law for a high priest’s daughter that leads an unchaste life.

The preparations for her execution were begun. In vain Tamar searched for the three pledges she had received from Judah, she could not find them, and almost she lost hope that she would be able to wring a confession from her father-in-law. She raised her eyes to God, and prayed: “I supplicate Thy grace, O God, Thou who givest ear to the cry of the distressed in the hour of his need, answer me, that I may be spared to bring forth the three holy children, who will be ready to suffer death by fire, for the sake of the glory of Thy Name.” And God granted her petition, and sent the angel Michael down to succor her.

He put the pledges in a place in which Tamar could not fail to see them, and she took them, and threw them before the feet of the judges, with the words: “By the man whose these are am I with child, but though I perish in the flames, I will not betray him. I hope in the Lord of the world, that He will turn the heart of the man, so that he will make confession thereof.” Then Judah rose up, and said: “With your permission, my brethren, and ye men of my father’s house, I make it known that with what measure a man metes, it shall be measured unto him, be it for good or for evil, but happy the man that acknowledgeth his sins.

Because I took the coat of Joseph, and colored it with the blood of a kid, and then laid it at the feet of my father, saying, Know now whether it be thy son’s coat or not, therefore must I now confess, before the court, unto whom belongeth this signet, this mantle, and this staff. But it is better that I be put to shame in this world than I should be put to shame in the other world, before the face of my pious father.

It is better that I should perish in a fire that can be extinguished than I should be cast into hell fire, which devoureth other fires. Now, then, I acknowledge that Tamar is innocent. By me is she with child, not because she indulged in illicit passion, but because I held back her marriage with my son Shelah.” Then a heavenly voice was heard to say: “Ye are both innocent! It was the will of God that it should happen!”

The open confession of Judah induced his oldest brother Reuben to make public acknowledgment of the sin he had committed against his father, for he had kept it a secret until then.

Tamar gave birth to twin sons, Perez and Zerah, both resembling their father in bravery and piety. She called the first Perez, “mighty,” because she said, “Thou didst show thyself of great power, and it is meet and proper that thou shouldst be strong, for thou art destined to possess the kingdom.” The second son was called Zerah, because he appeared from out of the womb before his brother, but he was forced back again to make way for Perez.

These two, Perez and Zerah. were sent out as spies by Joshua, and the line that Rahab bound in the window of her house as a token to the army of the Israelites, she received from Zerah. It was the scarlet thread that the midwife had bound upon his hand, to mark him as the child that appeared first and withdrew.

By Louis Ginzberg

Righteousness from Brokenness.



Genesis 38:1-2,24-26 And it came about at that time, that Judah departed from his brothers and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.

Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua; and he took her and went in to her…

Now it was about three months later that Judah was informed, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is also with child by harlotry.

” Then Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned!

” It was while she was being brought out that she sent to her father-in-law, saying, “I am with child by the man to whom these things belong.

” And she said, “Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?”

 Judah recognized them, and said, “She is more righteous than I, in as much as I did not give her to my son Shelah.

” And he did not have relations with her again.

Forgive me for feeling so outraged but why does the Bible record such depressing details of key figures who were supposed to carry God’s blessing?

This chapter – I encourage you to read it before you continue – shows the brokenness of Judah and his family.

The reason I’m so upset is that Judah is Jesus’ ancestor!

This is a record of Judah’s disobedience by marrying a Canaanite woman which was forbidden by God, choosing another for his oldest son Er and their brokenness cost him the lives of his first 2 sons, makes him the father of two more sons born through an incestuous relationship with his daughter-in-law and a life of pure shame.

Is there any point to this story and what is God speaking to us through it?

I’ve always been told how identical my son looks to me.

What shocks me more is how similar his likes and dislikes are and that has led me to believe that we are a representation of our families in nature and character.

When we consider Jesus and His life, we see nothing of His ancestry in Him. His life, His choices, His purpose are all evidence that He was certainly not of His family and certainly not of this world.

When we read Jesus’ response to the Jews in John 8:31-59, it is evident that the Jews held onto the hope of being Abraham’s descendants and therefore the natural heirs to God’s kingdom.

However, Jesus reminds them that even though they are physical heirs of Abraham, because of their sin, they have been alienated from God and need cleansing, not just a cleansing by animal sacrifices but a permanent cleansing to become heirs of the God’s kingdom.

He also reveals to them that He is not one of them but of God who sent Him to live among us and lead us by the example of His life, save us by His shed blood and give us the only and most assured hope of eternity in God’s kingdom to come.

Are you holding on to the belief that your life is secured by your own goodness or do you need the saving grace of a Holy and Righteous Savior to free you from the brokenness of your sins?

 Open your heart to Jesus Christ, invite Him in and live a life transformed by His love for you.

In His Loving Service,

John 8:31-32 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

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