Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone. (II Samuel 13:15)
The title of our entry is ‘falling in hate’. It is play on words that is not original with me, but one I recently heard in passing listening to an old sermon. Most understand the concept of ‘falling in love’, but what could it mean to ‘fall in hate’? Our passage gives insight into the answer; then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. How much did Amnon love Tamar his beautiful half-sister? I think we have to define what type of ‘love’ Amnon was moving in before we can answer that.
Falling in Lust
We learn from the passage that the type of ‘love’ Amnon was feeling was a love that could change and become the opposite of what is typically understood as love. So we know that this is not God’s love that he is moving in or even a natural love one should have for his siblings. Perhaps our best description is lust. James addresses the attitude of Amnon saying:
From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4:1-3)
Amnon wanted his sister to consume upon his ungodly lust and was willing to deceive and strategize to fulfill it. This behavior borders on the demonic. He looked on his own half-sister with desire to such an extent that he had gone mad. His behavior was exceedingly irrational. Yet, he devised a plan to lure his sister into a trap in order to take her by force. He had it all figured out. He was caught up in the moment to the extent that he was utterly blinded to the reality of what he was planning to do. He had to have known that if he went through with his plan someone would find out. Yet there is a larger question to explore.
It will soon become evident that what Amnon really wanted was not simply Tamar his half sister- she was just a means to an end. Notice what she tells him; Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee. Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice. (2 Samuel 13:13ff) It cannot be known whether David would have actually given Tamar to Amnon to be his wife or merely rebuked him. (See Leviticus 20:17) Either she was stalling or she was serious. At any rate, his behavior exposes a terrible truth about adamic nature; he did not want her in the sanctity of marriage, he wanted her in the iniquity of an illicit lustful act.
Why else would he plot and scheme to get her in a vulnerable place and then refuse to heed her counsel? After all, she consented to be with him in the context of marriage. Whether she was serious or not, he would not hear it. Had it been love, love would have waited. Lust is like a raging lion looking for its next victim to consume. The more innocent the victim the higher the sense of defilement. Satan is a defiler and profaner. The antidote for Amnon’s lust was a right relationship in loving holy matrimony, but had that happened it would have extinguished the illicit desire. This is utterly sobering and a clinic on the human condition. The man appears to be intentionally building his own lust to a boiling point and rejecting the way of escape.