I Am Nothing

Based on Second Samuel Thirteen and written from the perspective of Tamar.


I was preparing lunch for my friends when I saw Father approaching my house. If only I had known what the consequences of his visit would be. Leaping up from the table, I raced to answer the door. When I opened it, Father greeted me and remarked, “Tamar, your brother Amnon is ill, and has requested that you go to his house to prepare food for him.” I was immediately moved to compassion. Gathering my things, I came to you, Amnon. I wanted to help you in your time of sickness.

Why did I go? The events that happened next could have been avoided if only I had stayed inside my own home. If only I had told Father that I couldn’t come to you. If only I had kept my lunch date with my friends. If only I had made a maid go complete the task instead of myself. If only…

I didn’t do any of these things. In my ignorant obedience I wrapped up the dough that was intended for my friends, and I came to you. I once again began the process of preparing the cakes on a table in front of you while your servants watched. The thought crossed my mind “Why didn’t you ask one of them to do this?” but I quickly dismissed it. As I was kneading the dough, I noticed beads of sweat on your forehead. Thinking it was a result of the fever, I fetched a cool cloth, came close to you, and wiped away the perspiration. Was this the action that caused what happened next? How stupid am I? I should never have gotten that close to you. I should never have touched you. Was that what placed this evil in your mind? Was this all my fault-- am I to blame? How could I be such an idiot?

I formed the cakes with my hand, being careful to give them a shape that would bake evenly. After setting them aside to rise, I crossed the room and stood, looking out of the window while we waited for them to rise. In doing that, did I call too much attention to myself? I should have just stayed at the table, and not have allowed the light to shine on me. I should have just been patient.

When the cakes had finished rising, I placed them in the oven. I should have been more aware of how I was bending over. Surely it was something I did then that caused what happened next. While I was pulling the cakes out of the oven, you requested everyone leave the room, and made sure they locked the door behind them. I placed the cakes within your reach and turned to go, but you stopped me. I should have left.

Instead, I did everything you asked me to do. You told me to come closer. I came. I sensed that something was terribly, terribly wrong. I knew I should be running away from you, but instead, I drew near. Why did I come closer to you? Why didn’t I listen to my instincts? I should have gone.

You told me to feed you out of my I hand. I did. I picked up one of the cakes I had spent so long making. Somewhere inside of me, something screamed to get out of this room, to run away from you. Extending my hand, I forced myself to ignore this voice and feed you. I should have gone.

I should have gone. I should have gone. I should have gone.

When I reached out my hand to feed you, you grabbed it. You held it tight. No sick man can have that kind of grip. You jerked me to you. I could feel your hot breath on my face as you hissed, “Come, lie with me, my sister.”

I tried to get away, but you were too strong. I should have fought harder. I tried to reason with you,“No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now, therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.”

I should have said something different.

When you had finished, I fell into the corner of the room. You told me to get out. I couldn’t move. You grew angry with me. I grew angry with myself. Why had I come here? Why had I taken care of you? Why had I gone to the window? Why wasn’t I more careful with my actions? Why didn’t I leave your chamber with the servants? Why wasn’t I strong enough to push you off of me? Why couldn’t I have been more persuasive with my words? Why didn’t I do the right things?

Once again, you told me to leave, to get away from you. I reached deep inside myself and summed up just enough strength to grab your robe. I clung to you and I begged, “No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.” (2 Sam 13:16) Once again, I was not persuasive enough. You did not listen to my pleas. What more should I have said?

You called your manservant to have me cast out of your room. You locked the door behind me. I had become wasted. I had become unclean. I had become desolate. I tore off my colorful robe which marked me as a virgin. It no longer belonged to me. I put ashes on my head, for I was worth less than soot.

When our father, King David, found out, he did nothing. He must have done nothing because I was worth nothing. Two years have passed, Amnon. Our brother, Absalom took me in. He hated you for what you had done to me, so he murdered you, and then ran away. Absalom must have not understood what our father knew-- that I am worth nothing. The King did nothing because I am worth nothing. And now, you are dead. Because of nothing. I speak to you, but you are not there, and I am nothing. What a sight this must be, nothing speaking to something that has gone. Amnon, I am the reason you died. You died for nothing. I should have done something.

Note from the Author: Second Samuel Thirteen articulates a very important lesson: When we ignore sin, the innocent suffer far more than the guilty. Because sin-- especially sexual sin-- is uncomfortable to talk about, we often ignore it, as if it were nothing. The result? Victims like Tamar will not be able to recover from the terrible injustices done to them or understand that they have worth. When King David ignored the heinous sin of rape within his family, Tamar, Amnon, and Absalom all suffered. Tamar lived the rest of her life as a desolate woman. Amnon was murdered by his own brother. Absalom was forced to flee from his home. When we treat sin as nothing, it remains in the dark. When sin festers in the dark, it only metastasizes. When sin metastasizes, the innocent suffer more and more. We must not be like David. Rather, we must bring sin to the light by exposing it, and no longer allow the innocent to suffer for the crimes of the guilty.