November 20, 2019
In The Big Voice: God Or Merman, Jim says "I'm a Catholic.
I knew nothing of the bible." It's a funny line--but so true. As
someone with 12 years of Catholic education, I can say that I was never taught
anything from the Bible. The only Bible bits I knew -- and knew well --
were readings from Mass. I knew Noah, of course. And the story of
Moses, including the parting of the Red Sea, getting the ten commandments and
lots of stuff in the New Testament, but as for Bible Study, there was
this makes it awkward for me sometimes because Compassion
International is a Christian based organization and the kids frequently either
send me Bible verses, or ask me what my favorite verse. Sometimes they
tell me that they love the story of Noah or Moses. I have probably read
more of the Bible in the last 10 years or so, just looking up quotes to send to
the kids or following up on something they have written.
The ten year old girl I received a letter from yesterday is one
of newer sponsorships. She's one of the better writers and also draws
In her long letter yesterday, she told me that September 27 is
Bible day in her country, and celebrates the 450th anniversary of the
translation of the Bible into Spanish. She asked me how we celebrate Bible
day in this country and she told me that "the brothers" told them Bible stories
and that her favorites were Jesus healing the lepers, the story of Jonah and the
story of Amnon and Tamar.
Amnon and Tamar were new names to me. It was a real eye
opener to read brief summary in Wikipedia.
Although he was the
heir-apparent to David's throne, Amnon is best remembered for the rape of
his half-sister Tamar, daughter of David and Maachah. Despite the biblical
prohibition on sexual relations between half-brothers and sisters, Amnon had
an overwhelming desire for her.
This girl is TEN ! It made me
understand why so many people want to bring the Bible with them to a deserted
For those who have not heard the
story, here is the New International Version of it:
In the course of time, Amnon
son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of
Amnon became so obsessed with his sister Tamar that he made himself ill. She
was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.
Now Amnon had an adviser named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother.
Jonadab was a very shrewd man. 4 He asked Amnon, “Why do you, the king’s
son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?”
Amnon said to him, “I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”
“Go to bed and pretend to be ill,” Jonadab said. “When your father comes to
see you, say to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me
something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her
and then eat it from her hand.’”
So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him,
Amnon said to him, “I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some
special bread in my sight, so I may eat from her hand.”
David sent word to Tamar at the palace: “Go to the house of your brother
Amnon and prepare some food for him.” 8 So Tamar went to the house of her
brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the
bread in his sight and baked it. 9 Then she took the pan and served him the
bread, but he refused to eat.
“Send everyone out of here,” Amnon said. So everyone left him. 10 Then Amnon
said to Tamar, “Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your
hand.” And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her
brother Amnon in his bedroom. 11 But when she took it to him to eat, he
grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.”
“No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not
be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. 13 What about me? Where could
I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the
wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from
being married to you.” 14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was
stronger than she, he raped her.
Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he
had loved her. Amnon said to her, “Get up and get out!”
[typical man...gets what he wants
and then he hates the woman and tosses her out!]
“No!” she said to him. “Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what
you have already done to me.”
But he refused to listen to her.
He called his personal servant
and said, “Get this woman out of my sight and bolt the door after her.”
So his servant put her out and
bolted the door after her. She was wearing an ornate robe, for this was the
kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore.
Tamar put ashes on her head
and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and
went away, weeping aloud as she went.
Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has that Amnon, your brother, been with
you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing
to heart.” And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman.
When King David heard all this, he was furious. And Absalom never said a
word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced
his sister Tamar.
Apparently later in the story Absalom
Absalom ordered his men,
“Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you,
‘Strike Amnon down,’ then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Haven’t I given you
this order? Be strong and brave.” So Absalom’s men did to Amnon what Absalom
had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got up, mounted their mules and fled.
No wonder we were never taught the
Bible in Catholic school The nuns don't acknowledge anything sexual,
especially not rape and murder. But now I'm curious what what other
goodies in the Good Book I have been missing.
I've asked my Compassion child what
the brothers have told her about this story. Questions like this are
rarely answered, but I will be curious to see if I do get an answer