2 Samuel 13:5-7 “Well,” Jonadab said, “I’ll tell you what to do. Go back to bed and pretend you are ill. When your father comes to see you, ask him to let Tamar come and prepare some food for you. Tell him you’ll feel better if she prepares it as you watch and feeds you with her own hands.” So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. And when the king came to see him, Amnon asked him, “Please let my sister Tamar come and cook my favorite dish as I watch. Then I can eat it from her own hands.” So David agreed and sent Tamar to Amnon’s house to prepare some food for him.
It was just two chapters earlier that a plan, similar in many ways, was devised.
It was the springtime; the time that Kings went to war. That year, however, David stayed home and sent his chief commanding officer, Joab, in his place. One evening while on his rooftop, he saw a very beautiful woman taking a bath in her nearby dwelling courtyard, which was customary.(1)
“We are told that it is regarded in the East as improper for one neighbour to look over the battlement of his house into the inner court of the next dwelling.”(2) Interested by what he saw and possibly embarrassed at how he saw it, David inquired about her. He found her name to be Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah the Hittite, was one of David’s mighty men away on the nations’s battle campaign.
David sent for Bathsheba, slept with her and sent her home. In a few weeks, she sent him word of her pregnancy. David, in an effort to cover his sin, sent a message to Joab to send Uriah home to the palace and with feigned benevolence for Uriah, gave him a gift, probably wine, and told him to go home to his wife, hoping he’d sleep with her. If she became pregnant, Uriah would think the baby his. Instead, Uriah slept at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard. His remarkable integrity had to be staggering to David, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.”
In order to compensate for Uriah’s astonishing actions, David’s scheme plunged to a despicable depth.
“So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. The letter instructed Joab, ‘Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.’ So Joab assigned Uriah to a spot close to the city wall where he knew the enemy’s strongest men were fighting. And when the enemy soldiers came out of the city to fight, Uriah the Hittite was killed along with several other Israelite soldiers.”
David sent for Bathsheba as soon as her time of mourning was over and made her his wife.
In a few months, after the baby was born, Nathan, the prophet confronted David, “From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own. ‘This is what the LORD says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.’” 2 Samuel 12:10-12.
David confessed his sin to Nathan with genuine sincerity, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the LORD has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the LORD by doing this, your child will die.” The child died shortly afterwards. However, David would live to see more heart-rending consequences in the lives of his children.
1) Please name any destructive attitudes you have detected that may have been in your family for years.
Surely Amnon and Jonadab had heard the story of David’s aberrant but adulterous and murderous act. Although, the scripture makes it clear that David truly repented, one has to question if he adequately communicated his deep regret for those unthinkable, contemptible deeds.
Let’s explore David’s confession regarding his adultery with BathSheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah.
In Psalm 51, David laments “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins,and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness…”
David’s confession and God’s forgiveness of his horrid sin has given great hope and joy to millions since it was first penned in circa 900 B.C. Yet, one must ask, “Did David continue to struggle with embracing his own forgiveness when thoughts of condemnation came?” And if he did, could this have caused his family to be more vulnerable to consequences of their father’s sin? Could Nathan’s prophecy have been a predicted because of David’s own fear of his children following in his steps?
We will see as this story unfolds, that it seems King David was reluctant to discipline his sons. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary concurs, “he was too indulgent to his children. Thus David might trace the sins of his children to his own misconduct, which must have made the anguish of the chastisement worse.”(3)
Could he have been so ashamed and guilt-ridden that he could not bring himself to correct his sons? Have you ever been reluctant to confront behavior patterns in others or you own children because of your past failures?
How would you have responded to Amnon, had he protested, “Who are you to condemn me?”
Could David’s own attitude of shame and regret have so tainted David’s memory that indulgence in his children had been foreseen by the prophet? Could that be a partial meaning to this scripture in exodus 34:7, “I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected–even children in the third and fourth generations." Could it be that families hide past sin in order to “keep up the family name?”
Have you ever shared with your friends and/or family your deep regret over past actions? Sometimes, our past choices bring such painful and shameful memories, it’s easier to never mention them. Can you think of reasons to share or reasons not to share these bitter recollections ? Please list them here…
If there is true repentance for sin, our expressions of it will never be easily shared. It should be hard to say. And It should only be shared to rejoice in and as an example of God’s complete forgiveness through Christ.
(2) What role, if any, does pride and/or shame play in our attempt to cover our past?
I love this scripture in Isaiah 61:7, “Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” In many Bible headings, this chapter is named, Good News of Salvation. This was the infamous chapter that Jesus quoted in Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for he blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Through Jesus, we are promised that we shall receive double honor in place of shame. My goodness, fellow daughters, how great a salvation!
Dear Ladies, the New Testament Gospel of Jesus Christ leaves no reason to accommodate fear, shame, nor pride. When we understand the vastness of what Christ had done for us, we are free from the past. We dilute the sacrifice of Jesus when we do not fully embrace our forgiveness. There are consequences of sin. There are attitudes that are passed down from parents to children. However, I am convinced the more we embrace our forgiveness, the less the consequences.
In Matthew 5:25, Jesus presents a striking scenario that my husband expounded upon in a sermon years ago. I have never forgotten it. It can show us how to deal with accusations of our own past sin, whether it be from our own minds or from others, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.” KJV
When we experience tormenting thoughts of shame and regret for our sin, we can reply with these words, “I agree that what I did was contemptible, despicable and disgraceful but because of what Jesus has done for me, my guilt has been taken away. My sin is gone. I am new.”
Put this into practice by articulating a response to the struggles in your own mind of weakness and past failures. If possible, go to a private place and agree with your adversary, however, claim the blood of Jesus that makes you new. Walk out of that jail! Refuse to live like your still in prison!
Matthew Henry’s Commentator provides a thought-provoking observation, “Godly parents have often been afflicted with wicked children; grace does not run in the blood, but corruption does. We do not find that David's children imitated him in his devotion; but his false steps they trod in, and in those did much worse, and repented not. Parents know not how fatal the consequences may be if in any instance they give their children bad examples.” (4)
Behaviors, attitudes, mind sets are passed from one generation to the next. The way we think determines the way we act. Many times, painful memories, if not dealt with properly, will provide a breeding ground for destructive attitudes that can effect the behaviors of our descendants.
How can you reduce or remove the probability of the consequences of your own sin being experienced by your children and grandchildren?
When you notice a reoccurring wrong thought or attitude, find a scripture to transform the way you think. Use an appropriate SCRIPTure for a preSCRIPTion to change those thought patterns!
Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree:” KJV Rick Renner in his book, Sparkling Gems, gives beautiful insight to the word redeemed. “…it pictures a buyer or redeemer who has gone to the slave market to purchase a slave for the solitary purpose of bringing him out of that place of slavery so he can be set free. Therefore, this particular word for “redeem” conveys the though of permanent removal from captivity…Paul is telling us plainly that Jesus’ sacrificial death didn’t only pay the penalty for our sin: His death removed us from living under the curse henceforth!”(5)
You’ve all probably heard the story of the bear who had been help captive in an eight by ten cage for years. One day someone had such compassion on the beautiful animal that they purchased the bear for a great price. They took the caged bear, out into it’s wild, natural habitat, unlocked the cage door, flung it open, and made sure to clear the way for the bear! But the bear refused to come out. His mind had become imprisoned, which is far worse.
5) Even though Christ has set you free, are there areas where your mind is still imprisoned? Will you be so courageous as to name them here?
“So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. And when the king came to see him, Amnon asked him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and cook my favorite dish as I watch. Then I can eat it from her own hands.’ So David agreed and sent Tamar to Amnon’s house to prepare some food for him.”
In weakness of character and with feelings of entitlement, Amnon followed Jonadab’s wicked plan verbatim. He knew that Tamar was guarded and protected and even though, he was her half-brother, she would have been strictly forbidden to be alone with him. In Amnon’s malicious mind, his only hope was deception.
Inside the palace, each of David’s wives had their own quarters. There, they lived, along with their daughters, separated from the King’s other families. These polygamist arrangements left the eldest full-brother the garrison of his younger siblings. Although he would have had his own separate champers, Absalom was the archetypal big brother.
Tamar was noted for her remarkable beauty, the only daughter of King David ever mentioned in scripture. Her virginity was a precious attribute that was celebrated and protected in preparation for an influential and kingly marriage. Even her robes spoke of her virtuousness and royalty. She was a precious jewel. She was also vulnerable.
Resources for devo 4…
(1) Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, “and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; in a bath in her garden, or in an apartment in her house, the window being open:” http://gill.biblecommenter.com/2_samuel/11.htm
(2) Pulpit Commentary, http://pulpit.biblecommenter.com/2_samuel/13.htm
(3 )Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary http://biblecommenter.com/2_samuel/13-7.htm
(4) Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary http://biblecommenter.com/2_samuel/13-1.htm
(5) Sparkling Gems, page 121-1227