Tattered Garments

And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.
Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.
And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.
And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.

So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house. II Samuel 13:16-20

The account of Tamar, the daughter of King David, ranks as one of the most tragic accounts of a woman recorded in the Old Testament. The Bible records many woman who suffered either by their own mistakes and shortcomings or due to circumstances beyond their control (Eve, Naomi, Rizpah, Esther, and Hanna, to name a few).

But, Tamar’s story is unprecedented in its scope and poignancy. The pure, innocent, virgin daughter of the King is sexually abused and then unmercifully rejected by her brother, Amnon. The Lord pronounced judgment over the household of King David in response to his moral failures over Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. And judgment came swift and severe.

There is a payday for our sins. And that is reasonable. But, oftentimes the innocent are affected because of the sins of others. Such is Tamar’s case.

And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.
And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? II Samuel 13:12-13

Tamar was left destitute, humiliated, shunned and forsaken. Absolutely tragic. The scene as recorded in II Samuel chapter thirteen ends with Tamar living her days “desolate” in her brother Absalom’s house. Her life so impacted her brother that he even named one of his own daughter’s after her (II Samuel 14:27).

Tamar’s life descended on a trajectory starting at the wind currents of shame (vs. 13) and ended at a personal tsunami called desolation (vs. 20). Not a very promising outcome for someone beaten by the ravages of life.

The name Tamar in Hebrew (תָּמָר) is derived from a root word that means ‘upright, as a palm tree’. Palm trees are associated with areas refreshed with springs and fresh water. Palm trees are also known for their resiliency and durability to withstand severe storms and the most violent weather conditions.

But, it’s interesting to note that Tamar’s story does not end in II Samuel chapter 13. Nothing else is recorded in the Bible concerning her life …… except in one more place. And a most unlikely place at that. Tamar is mentioned one more time right here:

These were all the sons of David, beside the sons of the concubines, and Tamar their sister. I Chronicles 3:9

In the midst of the Book of Chronicles, the official document chronicling the generational tree from Adam to Noah, the ancestry of fathers and sons of the ‘who’s who’ of Israel’s patriarchs, stands a shining light.

Tamar may have been forgotten and forsaken by her natural family, but not by her heavenly Father. I Chronicles 3:9 has God’s fingerprints all over it. This is how God operates. God is good. He never forgets. He never forgets the things people go through. God is a righteous and merciful judge.

God made sure that Tamar’s life did not end in obscurity. Her legacy lived on. She lived up to her name – a palm tree dwelling in the midst of the true living waters of life and forever sealed in the granite of God’s eternal word.

No Tamar, your life did not end up desolate and cloaked in shame. No, the Lord made sure that your name, your legacy would stand tall and strong, just like the meaning of your name said it would. And Tamar, there was no need after all to rend your beautiful coat of distinction. For God was there with you the whole time.

These were all the sons of David, beside the sons of the concubines, and Tamar their sister.

Do you know any Tamar’s?

God is good!

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

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