Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Character Studies in 2 Samuel: Introduction and Amnon
Note: I'm starting a new series of posts today on "Character Studies from 2 Samuel." Here's the intoduction and the first study on Amnon.
The book of 2 Samuel describes the difficulties that arose during the reign of King David. Serious problems in David’s rule develop following his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah the Hittite. Most disheartening is the rebellion of Absalom, David’s son, and the civil war that follows. The story of David’s rise and fall and his rising again is made all the more gripping in 2 Samuel by the colorful descriptions of the various characters within the narrative. They are historical figures, but their presentation in the narrative is also meant to convey timeless spiritual traits and situations. Anyone who has ever gone through a crisis in his family, school, work, or church has met with such characters. The reader might sometimes even the faces of friends, enemies, and acquaintances as he scans 2 Samuel. He may even see himself in some of the characters. They appear as illustrations and warnings.
Amnon is a man consumed by his lust. He is a user and an abuser. Amnon becomes obsessed with his half-sister Tamar. He is so distressed by his desire for her that he becomes physically sick (2 Sam 13:2). He hatches a crafty plot to secure the object of his illicit desire. He pretends to be sick, then he asks his unsuspecting father to send Tamar to be his nurse and to prepare for him a special meal. He gets the vulnerable girl alone, lures her to his bedroom, and attacks her. She resists his advance and protests, “Do not do this disgraceful thing!” (v. 12). She urges him to take the honorable course and seek her hand in marriage from the king. The response: “However, he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her” (v. 14). Amnon becomes a rapist. No sooner has he taken Tamar, than he hates her, “so that the hate with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her” (v. 15). Amnon's love is fickle. He callously sends Tamar away: “Arise, be gone!” (v. 15). He throws her out and bolts the door behind her. Little did Amnon then know that his lust would cost him his life. In ill treating Tamar, he signed his death warrant at the hands of Absalom.