•Continued from last edition
‘Please, let me go. You’re hurting my wrist,’ she protested.
‘And I will hurt you more if you are not nice to me,’ he threatened.
‘What do you mean?’
‘I think you know what I mean. But since you want it spelt out, I will hurt you more if you don’t have sex with me,’ his eyes blazed with lust.
‘No, no, no. Don’t do this evil thing, my brother. Protect me from shame.’ she pushed against his chest and tried to run her knee into his groin.
He hit her and pushed her backward. She stumbled.
‘Has everyone gone deaf? Why would no one come to my rescue?’ Tamar screamed. ‘Mother, dear mother.’
‘Save your breath. No one can hear you.’
‘Amnon, if you ask Father for my hand in marriage, I’m sure he will agree straight away. Please, don’t ruin my life.’
She begged. She fought. She scratched. She bit him. Amnon was desperate, strong and rough.
‘Just this one time,’ he growled, sweating. ‘Then we can talk after that. Stay still, I say.’
She wept, ‘Once is enough to ruin my life time. Forgive me any wrong I may have done. Do not punish me thus.’ She kicked at him, screaming. He stuffed her mouth with the napkin with which she had mopped his brow. He shoved her hard on the floor so she was stunned, he pinned her legs to her shoulders and knew her to his satisfaction.
‘Whore!’ he muttered standing up and wiping his lips where she had scratched him.
‘Get out now!’ he snarled, totally disgusted with her. He couldn’t stand her sight.
‘Oh! No! I beg you,’ she knelt down, holding his ankles. ‘Don’t send me away. Let’s tell father so we can formalise this union.’
He kicked her off. ‘Hanni,’ he called out. ‘Where are these servants when you need them?’
‘I will serve you. Anything but not this.’ Her nose ran. Her eyes were red. Her body shook with violent sobs. She was all sweaty. Her hair was disheveled and she was bleeding.
‘How will I get to my chambers? What do I tell my brother? I’m no longer a maiden, thanks to my brother.’ Hanni,’ he called out again, and the servant came running in.
‘Push her out and lock the door behind her. Then clean up this place. Stop grovelling, you piece of thrash.’
‘Let’s go, my princess,’ the servant gently tried to help her from her kneeling position.
Amnon smacked his head, ‘Take her out, Idiot, not escort her.’ Then, he pushed her violently out and the servant bolted his door after her.
‘Tamar has put ashes on her head, torn her beautiful dress and is wailing with her hands on her head!’ was the report given to her mother.
‘Oh dead mother am I. Where was I when my daughter needed me most? What dead instinct do I have that my breasts didn’t hear my daughter’s wail? My heart is broken in a thousand pieces. Why didn’t this happen to me instead of my innocent daughter?’ She waited.
‘Now you, get Absalom for she has refused to say who did this to her.’
‘Did Amnon rape you?’ he asked his wailing sister as soon as he saw her. She couldn’t even raise her head when he asked. She didn’t even run into his arms as usual. She only nodded her head. Then he gently pulled her into his arms. Rocking her gently as she held her tightly in his arms.
‘Do not worry too much about this incident. He is your brother,’ consoled Absalom. ‘Come and live with me.’
‘My lord,’ wept Maacah when she reported what Amnon had done to Tamar, ‘ Amnon is quite unrepentant.’
David was enraged and really worked up but he didn’t take any action.
‘I hate Amnon for this wickedness to my beloved sister, but I will say nothing, ‘ he told his mother. ‘These things happen and must not be disclosed to the public. To protect Tamar. ‘
‘Greetings your majesty,’ greeted Absalom when he came before King David. ‘My lord, I have sheep shearers near Ephraim. I will be honoured if you come with your sons and servants to witness the event.’
‘I am honoured, Son, but the burden of entertaining us all would be too much for you alone to bear.’
‘Father, you have always said it would be a delight to witness this childhood experience again. You have turned down my invitation over and over again.’
‘Come here,’ his father said fondly, stroking his beautiful hair as he spoke. ‘Great shall you be. Successful shall the shearing be. Joy shall fill your heart. You shall go and return safely. Yahweh shall always be your strength.’ Then he kissed Absalom on both cheeks.
He got to the exit and came back to his father. Kneeling before him, he asked, ‘ Let my brothers, the princes come with me my lord. I will be thrilled if they are there. Amnon must not be left out.’
‘Why must Amnon go with you? You know he’s next in line after me and I need him to observe everything. ‘
‘My lord, a few hours of absence won’t make a difference in a whole lifetime. Besides, all the princes will be there. It would be odd if he’s left out.
David sighed and gave them leave. ‘Do try to be done before the shadows become long.’
‘Yes, my lord, thank you, your majesty.’ And Absalom activated his final plot.
‘Cheers Adonijah, cheers Cheleab,’ Amnon cheerfully clicked his goblet with his brothers. ‘It’s always so refreshing to be out in the open country.’
His brothers nodded in agreement as they drank and chatted, watching the shearing.
‘I know you all have heard of how this shearing works. Let me go over it again as the action is taking place,’ Absalom offered.
‘O no thanks brother, this isn’t a class.’ They protested.
‘Let’s do this,’ continued Absalom. ‘Anyone with questions is free to ask them as we go. Deal?’
‘Yes!’ They all shouted and, laughing loudly, the drinking continued.
‘It is this one,’ said one of three men suddenly standing around the princes. ‘Strike him now! ‘
The three assassins struck Amnon as the other brothers scrambled for their mules, and rode furiously home. Each was relieved to be alive’.
‘Hey! Everyone, leave now. I will call for you when next I need you. ‘
As they dispersed, he called to another.
‘You, give my mother the message that I am well. Tell her I have gone to stay with her father, the king of Gehur. Let her know that the pain and shame of Tamar has been avenged. Tell her Israel does not deserve a rapist, a man who disrespects women as king. Tell her I will see her again. Tell Tamar to weep no more.’