2 Samuel, chapters 13-15

Then Tamar put ashes on her head, and she ripped apart the fine robe she was wearing; and she kept her hands on her head and walked off, crying out as she walked.
~2 Samuel 13:19

Tamar, King David’s daughter, had just been raped by her half-brother, Amnon (2 Sam. 13:10-14).

In the above text, we can note how her initial reaction to draw attention to the gross act and violation of God’s law was spot on.

Tamar did not blame herself for the rape nor did she try to hide her half-brother’s actions, neither for her own sake nor for her family’s.

However, neither her aggression nor her distress were formally processed.

Absalom, Tamar’s full brother, met her and instead of helping her make a formal accusation, he asked her to keep quiet (2 Sam. 13:20).

Israelite law provided for a formal trial in such cases (Lev. 20:17; De. 19:15).
In this case, though, King David worried more about not hurting the feelings of his son Amnon than seeking justice for his daughter (2 Sam. 13:21).
Absalom did seek justice, but through his own means, and he ended up murdering Amnon (2 Sam.13:22,28,29).

What we learn from this passage is that when a person falls victim to rape, those of us who have the emotional and legal resources to help that person should pay attention to their cry of distress and do everything in our power to help them attain justice through a proper conduct.
We should never quiet a victim for the sake of anyone’s reputation, because “open reproof is better than concealed love,” (Dan. 2:22; Prov. 27:5).

Genesis, chapters 36-39

~Genesis 38:26

Then Judah examined them and said: “She is more righteous than I am…”

Judah was pretty set on executing his twice-widowed daughter-in-law, Tamar, when he found out she had prostituted herself (Gen. 38:24).

After her second husband died, he deceitfully promised her she could marry his third son once he was old enough (Gen. 38:11).

This was a common Hebrew practice, termed “brother-in-law marriage,” realized to preserve the first husband’s lineage (Gen. 38:8; Deut. 25:5,6). This arrangement also served to provide materially for women who otherwise might end up in dire poverty.

But when Judah’s son came of age, Judah was afraid he would also die so he did not keep his promise to Tamar.

When she realized she had been lied to, she disguised herself as a prostitute and had sexual relations with Judah, who by then was also a widow (Gen. 38:14-16).

Tamar was cunning enough to ask him for some of his personal belongings which she later used to hold him accountable for his actions (Gen. 38:18,25).

The lesson I wish to point out is that although Judah had acted shamefully, he readily admitted he had been wrong.

Judah was a prominent man, eventually receiving his father’s blessing. This was a privilege since only one of his father’s 12 sons could become an ancestor to the Messiah (Gen. 49:10).

Even so, he did not use his influence to hide his error or to crush the woman who brought it to light, thus setting an example for future leaders who likewise make grave mistakes.