So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers, and took her: and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.” 2 Samuel 11:3-5

So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was lying down. Then she took flour and kneaded it. and made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes….Now when she had brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” But she answered him, “No, my brother, do not force me, for no such thing should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing. And I, where could I take my shame? And as for you, you would be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you.” However, he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Arise, be gone!” So she said to him, “No, indeed! This evil of sending me away is worse than the other that you did to me.” 2 Samuel 13:8, 11-16

I apologize in advance, as this is going to be a lengthy post. Apparently, I have much to discuss and further healing on my part. I have taken some pictures in the past few weeks that I thought were something that I would write on, but didn’t have it pinpointed until just now. As you may know by now, whenever I sit down to write, I always first pray and then ask the Lord to lead me to the scripture. Well when I opened my bible I opened it to 2 Samuel, right at the page that had a study note insert titled “Date Rape – A Tragic Encounter.” I read it, but still didn’t think I’d address this today. I flipped the page back and there read the note for “Bathsheba – Forgiven and Restored.” I love Bathsheba, but I still had no plans to address this type of circumstance (and I’ve address Bathsheba before, possibly Tamar as well – I’d have to look back in the archives). Then I went a couple pages ahead and read the note titled “Tamar – A Violated Princess.”  All the while, in the midst of reading these study note inserts, I also read the corresponding scriptures and the footnotes. So, throughout my writing, I believe that the inserts are worth copying in my text so at certain points you will be reading these as well. As I was beginning to thumb through other areas of the bible, The Lord stopped me and said these women and their stories are what I was to write on, using the two pictures that I took recently. Here is the first picture.

Snow covered hills

Here is the mundane winter scene that I encountered taking my kids to their granny’s each night over the past several months. Simple. Ordinary. But oh, you know me, not so my friend, not so. What struck me about these hills is the pure simple and regal majesty that they display. Springtime, it is preciously blooming to life. During the summer, you cannot see the outline of the hills because of the flowering of the trees. It is one big hill of green. During the fall, the foliage becomes brilliantly dressed in rich colors. But it is during the winter months, when there is a nice covering of snow that you see the outline so clearly. An elegant and graceful foundation for all that is “on the outside.”  When I saw this “clearly” I knew that I had to capture it and write about it, though I didn’t know how I would incorporate it into any scripture that I would write about, so I sat on the picture for a few weeks. But now, God not allowing me to turn from the stories of Bathsheba, Tamar, and me, I knew what to write and how to incorporate the visual with the words. The foundation of the trees is a backbone of dirt. This tremendous mound of dirt nurtures the brilliance we see each spring when the trees first flower and the green health during the summer and the vibrance of fall foliage. It is the dirt that gives the trees life and helps them grow each year. It is the dirt that is quietly hidden until the barrenness of winter is laid as if waste. During the season of winter, all things are bare and we see all the “imperfections” of the land. The parts of the earth that make the rest “shine.”

So to is it in the story of our lives. It is the dirt that makes us into the beautiful beings that we are. It is the dirt that molds our character and gives us sustenance to build upon. It is by God’s grace that we suffer and endure the winters in order to bear fruit in the springtime, health in the summer and colorful grace in the fall seasons of our lives. But we must have the barrenness to illustrate profoundly the emerging beauty. Lets just dive right in…

Bathsheba had a quiet and subtle dignity about her, even though she had to deal with things out of her control – being commanded by the king to give her body to him, the loss of her husband – at the kings command and the loss of her son – at God’s decree and being catapulted to the top ranking female in the kingdom, the Queen and Queen mother. Her world fell apart in a very short order of time. Yet through it all, through the winter season of her life, she came out shinning brilliantly with the colors of spring, health of summer and the timeless grace of fall.  Her willingness to accept what had become of her world, made her even more beautiful.  I have always loved the story of Bathsheba. I have never identified her as an adulterous, simply because it isn’t made known in scripture if she was a willing participant to David’s demands. I’m rather optimistic in assuming that she clearly wouldn’t have wanted to sin like that. (I know, we all have the sin nature and being desired by someone of that magnitude of power would be hard to resist, but let me bury my head in the sand on this one, I prefer it this way.) 😉

Bathsheba bore the sins of a king against her. She gave him a son, even though God took him from them. She willingly, as far as we can know, married the king, thereby securing the title of Queen. (How could this woman, from an adulterous affair become the queen when David already had several other wives, including Abigail, a woman with a quiet and gentle spirit and profound wisdom.) She bore the heir, the son that would be the next king. God surely showed favor to her and David. Yet, her strength and dignity that were formed in her darkest hours were covered in such beauty of her spring, summer and fall that we cannot fully see the resilience of her character under such splendor.

What was done to her was not just, not fair. What she went through, the death of her beloved and devoted husband and her newborn son was a tremendous hardship. Yet, she rose above it all. The outline was clearly visible in her winter season, where her darkest hours were present, yet she triumphed and glorified the Lord in her spring, summer and fall seasons. Before I move on to Tamar, lets take a look at the study note insert for “Bathsheba – Forgiven and Restored.”

Bathsheba was the beautiful wife of Uriah the Hittite, who was a trusted and loyal commander in the king’s army. When Bathsheba knew she was pregnant by the adulterous encounter with King david, she sent word to the king. David brought her husband home from the battle, hoping Uriah would enjoy intimacy with Bathsheba and thereby perceive himself as the father of her unborn child. When this plan went awry, David arranged for Uriah’s death on the battlefield, then sent his messengers and brought Bathsheba to his palace. Though perhaps she could have rejected the king’s initial overtures, by this point she obviously had no choice in the matter.

Did she realize that her husbands’ death was the result of deliberate orders by the king? what went through her mind on hearing the prophet Nathan’s words of judgment on the king? When David came to comfort her after the death of their child (2 Sam. 12:24), did she recoil from the hand whose lust for her had cause the death of a loyal and trusting husband and brought judgment on her child? She mourned for her husband (2 Sam. 11:26), and her heart must have broken as she held her dying baby, watching helplessly as life slipped out of the tiny body. In spite of her love and even the king’s fasting and pleading before God for his son’s life, the little one died. However, in due time, another son, Solomon, was born to her.

As queen, she must have been aware of the various intrigues which occurred when david’s sons rose up against him and vied with each other to take power from the king. When David was near the end of his life, Bathsheba heard rumblings that another of David’s sons, Adonijah, had set himself up as king. Politically astute enough to realize that her own sons’ succession was in danger, she must have been grateful when the prophet Nathan presented a plan for insuring the fulfillment of David’s promise that Solomon would sit on his throne.

Realizing he must act quickly to establish Solomon as the successor to the throne in the eyes of the people, David gave instructions for the high priest to anoint Solomon as king. Solomon then served as co-regent until David’s death. As Queen Mother, Bathsheba enjoyed additional respect and exercised authority over the women of the king’s house.

Bathsheba lived long. She had been a victim of a king’s lust, a grieving mother, a political schemer, and a revered Queen Mother. Her experiences encompassed the worst and the best, the heights and the depths of human circumstance and emotion. But perhaps the notoriety of her scandalous adultery is ultimately overshadowed by her legacy as mother of the wisest of Israel’s Kings.

See also, 2 Sam. 12:15-24; 1 Kin. 1:11-31; 2:13-22.

Tamar, another woman of the bible that has fascinated me on several levels, also had a quiet dignity. Her character also was forged in the dark hours of winter. She had a gentle and quiet spirit, lived according to the law and pleaded by the rightness of it with her half brother, Amnon. First, as my regular readers my recall, I was sexually abused when I was a child, around 7 years old, by a family member. So, I really relate to her in a very unsavory way. But it is more than that. She was clearly older, of marrying age, definitely of the age of reason. She attempted to talk her brother out of sin and into a marriage instead of rape. But, even more now that I’m older and have endured a marriage symbolic of the rape of Tamar, I feel even more kinship with her. My marriage immediately started off with sex. Our first “date” was supposed to be having tea together, instead, he spent 2 hours trying to seduce me, and I eventually gave in. I should’ve done many things, but I didn’t and so here we are. We got pregnant, he despised me and the baby. He continued to use my body. He continued to “dispose of me” after each sexual encounter as if I were just filthy rags. After we got married, reasons to eventually be discussed in some future post, I’m sure, it was always the same, his sexual needs and nothing else. He loved my body, he never loved me. I’ve never been able to make him understand that either, but oh well, that doesn’t matter now, in light of our marriage; however, it does matter for my healing and to move on.

Let me explore this for a moment. As a child and sexually abused, I learned that men used women for their own personal use. I was depraved as a child. I was essentially told, as was Tamar, “shhh, don’t tell anyone, just deal with it.” I became promiscuous as a teenager and encountered more of the same, it was all about sex, every relationship. (During this time in my life, I didn’t walk with the Lord.) Once I became a Christian, I abstained from sex, as much because I knew it was wrong to engage in sexual conduct outside of marriage and serve the Lord as it was for my own personal healing. Yes, my own personal healing. I firmly believe now that sex outside of marriage really takes a toll on a person emotionally, mentally and most importantly spiritually. I had to learn how to completely trust in God for everything. By the way, I’m still learning to trust God and I’m mountains removed from when I first decided to follow Jesus 14 years ago.

Tamar was scandalized. She was put aside, never to marry, never to enjoy life as a pristine virgin princess again, only as a disgraced member of her brother Absolom’s household. King David, her father, though angry, didn’t support her and give her the opportunity for healthy healing, nor punished the heir to the throne at the time, Amnon. Absolom took vengeance on her behalf. Yes, the bible is just as messy as our lives, we are and they were completely human, dealing with our sin natures. Just as Tamar was discarded by her half brother Amnon, I, too, was discarded, not once, but over and over time after time, year after year for nearly 9 years, by the one man that should’ve loved and cared for me as if I were fine porcelain china, something to cherish, a Christian man that should’ve, known based on scriptures, how to treat and love his wife. From here, lets take a look at the other two study notes regarding Tamar.

Date Rape – A tragic Encounter

The pain of being raped while on a date evokes strong emotions such as shock, denial, shame, guilt, anger, and depression.  The woman may ask herself how she could have allowed such a situation to occur, why her judgment of character was not better, or what she did that might have cause the man to rape her. She may feel dirty or sinful as a result of the abuse she has experienced. She may also feel hostility and anger, wanting the individual to suffer as she has suffered.

The victim of a date rape needs the comfort of believers (2 Cor. 1:3,4) during the initial period of shock as she begins to accept what has happened to her. The victim must not take upon herself responsibility for the perpetrator’s behavior.

The emotional healing process nearly always includes:

1) Asking God’s cleansing for the guilt she feels, even as the innocent party (Ps. 51:10-13).

2) Forgiving the rapist for his actions lest she harbor anger that might lead to bitterness or some other destructive behavior (Gal 5:19-21; 1 Thess. 5:15; Heb 12:15).

3) Renewing her commitment to the Lord, knowing that He does not will evil upon her and that when He allows a tragedy, He is ever working to bring restoration and growth (Rom 8:28).

4) Moving forward with her life with determination to grow through this experience, allowing God to guide her as she develops relationships with other believers.

See also Gen. 34:1-4; Ex 22:16, 17; Matt. 5:27-30; 15:19; 1 Thess. 4:3-8

There is a lot packed into just one of these study notes, but here’s the other for good measure:

Tamar – A Violated Princess

Many women, though not members of a royal family, can identify with Tamar. what they have in common with her is the horrifying experience of having been raped by someone they assumed could be trusted, whether a family member, a friend or an acquaintance.

Tamar should have had little reason to fear for her personal safety. She was the daughter of King david and Princess Maacah (see 2 Sam. 3:3) and the beautiful sister of Absalom. She wore the richly colored robes of a princess and no doubt lived a secluded, pampered life.

Her half brother Amnon, overcome by her beauty and his own lust, with the help of his crafty friend and cousin, concocted a foolproof method by which he could spend time alone with her. Pretending to be sick, he requested of his father King David that Tamar be the one to come and prepare a meal for him and feed him in his illness.

Having no reason to be suspicious or fearful of her own half brother, Tamar obliged by going to Amnon’s house to make breadlike cakes for him. When she offered the cakes to Amnon, however, he refused to eat them. Sending all the servants from the room, he asked that Tamar bring the cakes and feed him in the bedroom.

There, to her horror and despair, he raped her. She protested; she resisted; she begged him to to disgrace her by this shameful act. She tried persuasion; she even suggested that a request for permission to marry her would probably be granted by the king (Abraham had married his half sister Sarah; see Gen 20:12), but she could not escape his violence.

After his lust was satisfied, Amnon’s feelings changed from “love” to utter hatred and contempt. Compounding his sinful act, he had the servants throw Tamar out as if she were a piece of trash to be discarded after use.

Tamar’s grief was such that she tore her beautiful robes and put ashes on her head in grief and humiliation. Understanding the emotional damage involved in rape and the consequent necessity for strong support of its victims, we can imagine how she must have felt. Her own brother Absalom callously brushed off her experience, “Hold your peace … do not take this thing to heart” (2 Sam. 13:20). even King David, her own father, though he was angry, did nothing. While Absalom eventually had Amnon killed in retribution (2 Sam. 13:32), Tamar suffered the lifelong emotional trauma. Even though she was a princess, her royal status could neither protect her from an act of sexual violence nor provide the emotional support she needed to begin the process of healing. Countless women like Tamar have known the fear, pain, and shame of being raped by someone they trusted; and, like her, they need love, understanding, and compassion, which ultimately can be found only in the Lord, who is the “God of all comfort” (2 Cor 1:3; see also 2 Cor. 5:17; Heb. 4:16).

These excerpts are copied straight from the  NKJV study bible that I’ve been using lately. Now, let me conclude with another picture and a little more of my thoughts.

Grandma's Wandering Jew

I am not a green thumb by any means (I’m also not a clean perfectionist either, so please disregard any mess you may see in the background). In fact, I have killed every single plant I have ever owned or cared for, except for Grandma’s Wandering Jew. I’ve come close a few times and this is as skimpy as I’ve gotten it in the 10 years that I’ve cared for and owned this plant. But, this is one plant that I cannot kill.  I don’t think this plant thrives on neglect naturally, but the one in my care has miraculously survived for 10 years, being neglected. This plant has a special place in my heart because it was my Grandma’s. If I ever did kill it, it would be that last living tie to her that would be severed, so I am always thankful that it survives in spite of me.

But, there is something else here that I wish to share as is relates to all the aforementioned in my post. As women, as victims of abuse, we are survivors. No matter how much neglect or abuse or pain that we suffer at the hands of another, we are survivors. Not only that, just as in the first picture above, this too is the backbone of the foundation of our character. We can choose to let it eat us alive, or we can choose to hold our heads up high and be overcomers of the evil that has befallen upon us. Personally, I choose to not only survive, but to glorify the Lord with the testimony that He has so graciously bestowed upon me. How can I say that? Because just like the date rape note says, “God does not will evil upon me” and when He allows tragedy, He is ever working to bring restoration and growth.” It is in that growth that you see the spring, summer and fall seasons of my life, character and personhood. I AM  a daughter of the KING, a PRINCESS of Him most High. Yes, evil has happened to me. Yes, I wasn’t as on guard for my own wellbeing as I should’ve been, but I belong to the “Lover of my Soul.” And I am to be great in His eyes, if no other. But in the meantime, He can use my words, my testimony to reach souls that are struggling as I have done, to take heart and courage that they are not alone, to give them a hope found only in Him. As my Wandering Jew has somehow managed to survive all these years, so to have I. I may not be as lush and beautiful as I once was on the outside, but on the inside, I’m becoming more solidly bound and made perfect in my foundation, based on the only foundation of Christ. My “limbs” bare their flowers, fruit and leaves in due season, albeit differently than before. My body has changed, I no longer sport the “girlish figure” that I once did, but now I have been bestowed with more grace and wisdom from the Lord on High as He walks me through this life, hand in hand, feeding me from His lavish abundance of grace and mercy.

I am forgiven.

I am loved.

I am fulfilled and satisfied.

I am beautiful, by His grace.

I am complete in Him.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me, and know my anxieties;

And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24


PS I may have to pick a new day to write as the last 2 Sundays (as well as next Sunday) have been used up with the kids daddy. As for now, this lengthy post more than makes up for the 2 missed Sundays, i’m sure, since it is so long. Have a blessed week! Talk to you soon. And as always, comments and interaction are encouraged and appreciated.