Sexual Abuse – page 10 of Scriptures Describing Abuse
Four stories in the Bible tell of sexual abuse
1. Judges 19 – The story of the Levite’s concubine. (see The Levite’s Concubine by Barbara Roberts)
2. Genesis 38 – The story of Tamar and her father-in-law Judah.
Judah defrauded Tamar of her right to marital intercourse by withholding his third son from her (who should have married her by the levirate marriage rule).
This story shows abuse by withholding of sexual intimacy when it was rightfully due. (See 1 Cor. 7:5)
3. Second Sam. 13:1-18 – The story of Amnon’s rape of his half-sister Tamar (a different Tamar to the one in Genesis).
Assisted by the advice of his cousin Jonadab, Amnon deceptively arranges for Tamar to be alone with him in his bedroom (verses 11-18):
But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.
Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!”
But she said to him, “No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me. ”But he would not listen to her. He called the young man who served him and said, “Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her.” Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves, for thus were the virgin daughters of the king dressed. So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her.
This story is the opposite of the earlier Tamar story. It shows sexual abuse (actually incest) by rape, and the violence, deception and hatred that go with it. Amnon set it up so that it would not look like rape: he thought he would get away with it entirely. Note how Tamar had a coat of many colours – there is a typological connection between Tamar and Joseph in Genesis (see ch. 11).
4. Genesis 39:7-19 — Where Joseph who was falsely accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife.
Other types of sexual abuse
Having sex when you know the woman is menstruating is forbidden by the Mosaic law (Lev. 15:19, 25; 18:19; 20:18) and is also condemned by Ezekiel (Ezek. 18:6). Also, there should be a period of abstinence after the birth of a child (Lev. 12:2-5). Having sex outside of these laws is an aggressive act, it pollutes the land, and is a perversity. This obviously sets a limit on the power each spouse has over the other spouse’s body (1 Cor. 7:4): neither may use each other when menstruation is happening.