I think I have finally come to understand Amnon, which is big news because I have always just considered him to be one of the ten top jerks found in the Bible.
Reading 2 Samuel 13, I first find myself sympathetic to him since he is overcome with infatuation. Amnon is powerfully drawn to Tamar, his step-sister, and is consumed with thoughts of her. His desire for her leads to his scheme to get near her. So far, everything is understandable though admittedly, not desirable. Infatuation is an intensely powerful experience and it tempts us to force the matter with all sorts of silly schemes. Up to this point he is not acting any different than anyone I have ever known. Then, we move on to the rape, where he crosses a big line, a really, really, big, ugly line. He now enters into self-centered jerk territory.
What has always puzzled me though are his feelings immediately afterward: “Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her.” 2 Samuel 13:15
Huh? Where did that come from? He uses her and then kicks her out without even an apology. Exceptional jerk.
You know that verse that talks about how if you judge others you end up judging yourself? As it turns out, I am an exceptional jerk as well.
I think Amnon hated her so passionately because he blamed her for his own sin.
I was reading a post by Cracked.com on Five ways Modern Men are Trained to Hate Women when all the dots connected regarding this verse. In the authors opinion, men learn to hate women because women hold power over them because of the man’s desire for sex. Furthermore, women threaten to ruin them as men are prone to think sexually in highly inappropriate contexts. Sounds like Amnon fits that to a tee.
But is it justified?
I thought about the things I most passionately hate. Nothing had to do with sex,
I saw that what I despised were things that have in the past made me look foolish, and that I criticize the most things that I fear could make me look foolish in the future.
We tend to aggressively criticize things that hold a sway in our being. If my love for something or someone reflects poorly on who I am, eventually I will hate it for the conflict it causes within me.
There is a good chance that the things you and I feel most vehemently against are actually things we condemn because we are scared to death that they will condemn us. We most passionately hate the things that have power over us.