2 Samuel 13:12-14 NASB

12 But she said to him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this disgraceful sin! 13 As for me, where could I [f]get rid of my shame? And as for you, you will be like one of the [g]fools in Israel. Now then, please speak to the king, for he will not [h]withhold me from you.” 14 However, he would not listen to [i]her; since he was stronger than she, he violated her and slept with her.

When Tamar is forcibly held by his brother it seems she does nothing other than negotiate with him.Tamar could have cried out for help but instead she chooses to negotiate with his brother.The narrative clearly shows that there were people around who could have rendered help had she cried out for help.

Was she complicit in this?


5 Answers 5


Tamar was an inexperienced virgin. She was under incredible, immediate, and existential duress caused directly by a person right in front of her, Amnon. She was not negotiating with him. She was not thinking calmly or clearly. She was just trying to say anything to delay Amnon.

2 Samuel 13:13

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."

What about me? What about you? Can you not hear the distress in her questions.

Her "negotiation" tactic directly contradicts Leviticus 18:9

"'Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.

Was Tamar complicit in her rape case in 2 Samuel 13?

Absolutely not by their standards or ours.


In summary, from the account in2 Samuel ch13;

v7 She went to the chamber in the first place in obedience to the express command of her father. v9 they were alone in the room, everyone else having been sent away. v11 He took hold of her. He would have been much stronger. v12 The law about "crying out" is based on the implied assumption that in the city, at least, instant help would be available. That was clearly not true in this household (nor could the assumption be justly applied in modern cities). Tamar was in the case of the girl caught in the countryside, where there was "no one to rescue her" (Deuteronomy ch22 v27). Her proposal was an attempt to avert the final outcome, being left desolate and unmarriageable. Was she hoping to trick ker brother into taking her to David first and being told "Leave her alone"? Sadly, I doubt it. David's failure after the event to do anything more than being angry (v21) suggests to me that she was right; the indulgent father David would have handed her over.

In short, she was not being complicit, but trying to use persuasion as the only defensive tactic available to her.


At this time in the world the view of people vastly differed from our current world view and understanding. Which can be seen in various OT scriptures.

Deuteronomy 22:23-29

Deuteronomy 21:10-14

In Jewish faith one of the 613 commandments states that if a woman is raped she must marry her attacker. (If she so chooses)

Another thing to make note of is that Amnon was the son of David the King. So with this a certain level of power and influence likely would have come from his position. Again influencing the woman’s reaction.

The definition of complacent matters here.

pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect

agreeable and eager to please

It can be witnessed here now that she was not complacent. This said she also didn’t say yes. Clearly she didn’t want to do it. There is likely much more to her story that only Jesus knows.

  • "In Jewish faith one of the 613 commandments states that if a woman is raped she must marry her attacker. (If she so chooses)" There's no element of choice in that law in the Law of Moses, aside from the choice of the rapist to commit that crime. If a virginal woman gets raped, she gets forced to marry her rapist, neither her nor her father is allowed to object, and they're not allowed to ever divorce. However, the rapist is obligated to pay her father her bride price, and is required to properly treat her as his wife afterwards.
    – nick012000
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 10:12
  • @nick012000 almost every word of that is simply misinformation. In Tractate Ketubot 39b it is stated explicitly that (1) she can choose to refuse the marriage, (2) her father can choose to refuse the marriage, (3) she is allowed to divorce him whenever she wants, and (4) not only does she get the bride's price, but she also gets compensation for embarrassment and compensation for the loss of her status as a virgin.
    – Sam
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 18:10
  • The law was made to protect the woman, being that (1) most men want virgins, and (2) this women had her status outright stolen from her in the most embarrassing way possible: finding a husband to take her in and support her after that would be an immensely difficult task. God therefore commanded that the man take her in and pay for his sin - literally and figuratively - to the extent that the Sages refer to it as "drinking from his plant pot", because he must keep her even if she is blind, deformed, etc., and not allow her to suffer from this man's tragic wrongdoing and sinful choices.
    – Sam
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 18:10
  • There are also very heavy fines placed on him in the event that she wants to divorce (enough to fully support her for an entire year), to ensure that he doesn't terrorize her until she says that she wants to get divorced of her own volition.
    – Sam
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 18:10
  • "In Tractate Ketubot 39b" That's not the Law of Moses, that was handed down to Moses by God. That's the Law of Man, that the Pharisees and their predecessors and successors added onto it.
    – nick012000
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 22:27

“No, my brother!” she cried. “Do not humiliate me, for such a thing should never be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing! Where could I ever take my reproach? And you would be like one of the fools in Israel! Now speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.”

Let us first observe that the girl says no three times in far from uncertain terms. But there is subtle irony here too and the key is in the question where to take the reproach. Amnon would be like one of the fools in Israel she says, but the other fool would then be the father and king who should have protected her in the first place. So the final sentence is no negotiation or plea, but a cynical sum up of the situation and indictment of the ultimate responsible actor, king David, who would not even have protected her if the truth was told in his face. And just so it happened, he didn't even do something when he finally heard about the crime afterward.


This is so misinformed on both responders it's sad. Nowhere in the 613 Bible only laws does it say that if a man rapes a virgin that he gets to marry her. In fact, God Himself said if she doesn't cry out it isn't rape. Of course, the example He gives is where no man could hear her scream out so it means if she doesn't cry out to God at minimum then it's not rape.

To cry out doesn't only mean verbal because if her jaw or mouth is ripped out and she can't cry out you think God won't know her heart/mind? Further, it says a man who rapes a woman is to be put to death.

So tell me how is he going to marry the woman by force if given a choice? There is no verse(s) that support the Talmudic ideas on this topic. They're all wrong.

  • 1
    -1 Unfortunately, this post is mere opinion that is not Biblical. The following verse is in the Torah. "If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days." (Deuteronomy 22:28-29, KJV). The man was only put to death in cases where the woman was either married or betrothed (engaged); but not for a single virgin as Tamar was.
    – Biblasia
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 10:18

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