Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 13

Tamar is bitterly sad

2 Samuel 13:19

A visitor to the palace would recognise the king’s unmarried daughters by the beautiful dresses that they wore. These young women were virgins; in other words, they had never had sex with a man.

Therefore, they were available to marry a suitable husband. Their father, King David, hoped to arrange good marriages for them all. He wanted his guests to see his daughters so that he could discuss this matter with them.

Tamar tore her dress to show that she no longer considered herself suitable for marriage to any man. She was not still a virgin. This had happened in a very shameful way, because her own brother had forced her to have sex. She placed ashes on her head to show everyone that she was deeply sad. Although she herself had done nothing wrong, she felt ashamed.

Her action to place her hand upon her head probably meant that the hand of God was against her (see Jeremiah 2:37). In other words, truly terrible things had happened that were out of her control. In her opinion, that meant that God was punishing her. She probably understood little about God. Her mother came from a foreign nation where the people did not serve the true God.

Tamar wept publicly. She no longer cared what other people thought about her. She saw no reason to hide her sad feelings. She considered that nobody would ever be able to comfort her. She was suffering so deeply.

Next part: Absalom protects Tamar (2 Samuel 13:20)

 

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