Monday, September 01, 2014

Betrayal

During her empty, tear-washed days the small betrayals tormented her mind the most, wriggling through her waking thoughts like worms piercing tunnels through the soil. She felt as if everyone around her had let her down, and her father most of all. How could he fail to protect her? How could he fail to bring down the full weight of justice and its consequences on the man who had violated her? As King, should he not uphold the law of God against a man who raped a virgin daughter of Israel? As a father, should he not support and love his ravaged daughter, giving her back the worth that had so wickedly been stolen from her? She could only conclude that a son was w9orth so much more to him than a daughter; that he saw her as being as worthless as Amnon had made her feel. Oh yes, reports said that David was very angry when he heard what her brother had done to her, but since he did nothing about it she wasn’t sure what his anger was about, or who he was really angry with, and her wretchedness increased. If her own father would not speak healing into her life, or defend her honour as his own, then desolation was all that she had.

It was when she lay on her bed at night, and tossed and turned, longing for the respite of sleep, yet fearing the terrors that returned in her dreams, that the huge betrayal came back to overwhelm her, so that she struggled to breathe as if his hand was still weighing down upon her face to stifle her screams, and her body spasmed in pain as if his violation tore her all over again. The whole bitter sequence of his deception, mindless lust and then furious rejection of her played itself out over and over in her mind. In what way had he not harmed and dishonoured her? In what way had he not treated her, a princess of Israel, his own half-sister, more despicably than the Law allowed him to treat the meanest slave girl? He had gone to so much trouble to gain access to her – feigning illness, demanding that she cook for him, and that nothing less than food from her own hands would cure him (and she blamed herself bitterly for not being suspicious at this point – but did her na├»ve pleasure in his attention really make her deserving of what he did?), demanding that all others leve the room and she feed him alone in his own bedroom (why, oh why didn’t she, or someone else say that this was ridiculous and unnecessary? Was everyone afraid to say ‘no’ to a prince who had been denied nothing all his born days? But then, why should anyone expect such actions from a man who seemed so ill?) and then, despite her vehement protestations, the rape that would haunt her dreams as long as she drew breath. Then came the final, most cutting, humiliation of all: having desired her so fervently, against all reason, decency or sense, once he had sated his lust he now despised her as passionately as he had wanted her, and had her flung from rooms in disgusted repudiation.


She had been betrayed, her very identity as a princess of Israel had been stolen from her, forever. Tamar sat alone and wept, and no one offered her consolation. No one stood by her to tell her that the God of Israel was a Father who would never fail her, that the Redeemer of Israel cared so much that He would one day come and be broken Himself so that Life and justice could be restored.

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