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grant; and the prophet's prediction of God's raising up evil to him out of bis own house, more conspicuous. For Amnon's barbarous behaviour now precluded all possibility of concealing his guilt. The moment his brutuality was indulged, he commanded his fifter out of his fight : Arise, faith he; begone -To which she answered, That this second evil treatment was worse than the first. The first had passion to plead, and might be concealed, and repented of the second was a designed, deliberate indignity, that must draw eternal infamy after it. Therefore the had reason to add, that there was no cause for it. She had given him no cause for aggravating his first offence, by loading it with an immediate and public scandal, and indelible reproach, upon her, himself, and his house ; upon the religion, and people of God. But he, as deaf now to decency and humanity, as he had been before to all sense of shame and conscience, called to his fervant that attended him, and bid him turn out that woman from him, and bolt the door after her The servant obeyed, brought her out, and bolted the door after her.
TAMAR thus treated ; not parted with as an innocent woman, cruelly injured ; but thrust out as a prostitute, that had seduced to sin; is the strongest image of innocence, barbaroully abused, and insufferably insulted, that history affords us. The greatest injury, loaded with the greatest indignities ! contumely added to cruelty ! Oppressed with forrow, and overwhelmed with Thame, she put ashes upon her head, and rent ber garment of divers colours, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying ; at once hiding her shame, and despairing to conceal it.
In this condition the passed on to her brother Absalom's house, who seeing her confusion and distress, easily apprehended the causes of it ; and put the question to her, Whether her brother Amnon had been with her? covering the gross injury he suspected, under the veil of the most decent and distant phrase that could hint his suspicion to her. And as if all that had not been enough, to fave her blushes, and let her see, that he understood her distress, he stopped her short, from attempting any answer, by begging her, That she would say nothing of the matter but endeavour to forget the injury, since it
was a brother who had done it. But hold
How David resented this rape, we learn from the text; which informs us, that he was very wroth; but how he punished it, we know not.
The truth is, it was to no purpose for him to punish it legally, and hardly possible to punish it equitably; inasmuch as that could not be done without at once exposing the infamy of his house, and cutting off the next heir of his crown. And how hard was it for a father to do this? especially a father who was partly accessary to the guilt, by a very unguarded compliance with
his son's irrational request. The legal punishment of a rape, upon a virgin unbetrothed, was a fine of fifty shekels of silver, to be paid to the father of the damsel, and an obligation upon the ravisher to take her to wife, without a power of divorce, Deut. xxii. 28, 29. The first of these penalties was insignificant in the case before us, and the second impracticable ; because the marriage must be incestuous.
This case is also attended with another difficulty: The
rape was committed in a city, and the damsel did not cry out ; and in that case, I apprehend, the law of Deut. xxii. 23, 24. must be executed upon her. It is true, she was not a damsel betrothed, and therefore the letter of that law does not extend to her case; but the equity of it does, because the crime committed, and Tamar's offence against that law, was equally great, and Amnon's injury equally irreparable: consequently, had he been sentenced to death*, The must have suffered with him; and therefore David could not punish him, as he ought, without involving her in his fate
* As he certainly must have been by the law of Levit. xx. 17. for uncovering his fifter's nakedness.
and I apprehend it to be a rule of cquity, rather to let the guilty escape, than destroy the innocent and the injured.
But it may be asked, What becomes of the power of the Sanbedrim in that case ? If that court was now in being, and David could protect Amnon from it, could he not as well have protected both himself and Bathsheba ?, Consequently, how did he lie under any necessity of destroying Uriah, to fcreen either himself, or Bathsheba, from an infamous punishment ?
I ANSWER, That supposing that court in being, and that Amnon could be punished by it as he deserved, and Tamar at the same time acquitted, (which could not be, unless they could take upon them to dispense with a law of God) yet, what court takes cognifance of causes not brought before it ? And how could this cause come before it, when all the persons interested in the prosecution of it, were at least equally interested to conceal it ; which was by no means the case in the affair of Bathsheba ; whose husband was a very considerable man, (greatly provoked) and greatly, allied, as will be seen hereafter. And therefore the two cases are, in