An ancient lesson for Modern Ears

Once upon a time, there was a fellow named, of all things, Amnon. I say, “of all things,” because, ironically, Amnon means “faithful.” hmmm… Well, Amnon had a half-sister, and her name was Tamar (Tamar means “palm tree,” but this has no bearing on my story). Amnon got it into his head that Tamar was the only woman in all the wide world for him. His longing for her was so bad, he couldn’t eat, he just lay around mooning over Tamar. And a friend of his (with friends like this, who needs enemies?) helped Amnon lay a trap. He called for his sister Tamar to come bring him some supper and to feed him… and when she came to help him in his hour of need, he grabbed her and… he raped her.

And the Bible says, in 2 Samuel 13:15 — because this is a Bible story, in case you didn’t recognize our cast of characters — that after he had his way with Tamar, after he had used her to gratify his own selfish impulses, “Amnon hated her with a very great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her.”

Do you know anyone who ever wanted anything so badly that they just couldn’t think of anything else, except how to get that very particular thing? Think of kids, how they get fixated on a toy they just “gotta have!”… and they save their money and they whine and fuss and pitch temper tantrums until they get that toy… and two days later you’re walking through the living room and there sits that super-fantastic-terrific-totally-awesome-gottahave toy… abandoned. Forgotten. Nope! it wasn’t what the build-up made it out to be; time to move on to newer, brighter, bigger, better, more in-fashion, more explicitly guaranteed to make us happy, popular, cool…

What’s worse is that even adults can treat one another as Amnon treated Tamar. We can cozy up to someone, win their trust, their affection, then exploit them and abandon them in a fit of self-righteous contempt.

“The hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her.” There’s a lesson in that for a lot of us, I think.

3 thoughts on “An ancient lesson for Modern Ears

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