And she answered him, No, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not you this folly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Do not thou this folly.—Tamar, now left alone in the power of her half-brother, endeavours to escape by reasoning. She first speaks of the sinfulness in Israel of that which was allowed among surrounding heathen, quoting the very words of Genesis 34:7, as if by the traditions of their nation to recall the king’s son to a sense of right. She then sets forth the personal consequences to themselves; if he had any love for her he could not wish that shame and contempt should meet her everywhere; and for himself, such an act would make him “as one of the fools in Israel,” as one who had cast off the fear of God and the restraints of decency.2 Samuel 13:12. Nay, my brother — Whom nature both teaches to abhor such thoughts, and obliges to defend me from such an injury, with thy utmost hazard, if another should attempt it. Do not force me — Thou oughtest to abhor it, if I were willing; but to add violence is abominable. No such thing ought to be done in Israel — Among God’s people, who are taught better things; who also will be infinitely reproached for so base an action. Thus she represents to him that, whatever other nations did, among whom idols were worshipped with filthy lusts, they who worshipped so pure and holy a God; and had such divine laws, ought not to be guilty of any such abomination. Do not this folly — That is, this wickedness, the foolishness of which she prays him to consider, as, for a moment’s gratification of a brutal desire, it would highly provoke the Divine Majesty, and bring lasting disgrace and wretchedness upon them both. Would he expose a sister to infamy? Would he expose himself to indelible reproach?Genesis 34:7. The natural inference is that Tamar knew the passage in Genesis, and wished to profit by the warning that it contained. (Compare also 2 Samuel 13:13.) Nay, my brother, whom nature both teacheth to abhor such thoughts, and obligeth to defend me from such a mischief with thy utmost hazard if another should attempt it.
Do not force me: thou shouldst abhor it, if I were willing; but to add violence to thy filthiness is abominable.
In Israel; among God’s people, who are taught better things; who also will be infinitely reproached for such a base action.
do not force me; which was another forbidding expression, signifying she would never freely yield to his will; and to force her, to defile her against her will, to commit a rape upon her, would be very criminal indeed:
for no such thing ought to be done in Israel; among God's professing people, who were better taught and instructed; and to give into such impure practices would bring a dishonour upon them, and upon the religion they professed; she urges the honour of religion, and the reputation of Israel, and the glory of the God of Israel:And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. no such thing ought to be done in Israel] Israel was a holy nation, sanctified by the peculiar presence of Jehovah among them; and therefore all acts of unchastity were an offence against the true character and calling of the nation. Such acts might be common among heathen nations, but to Israel they were forbidden by the Law, which placed them on a loftier level of morality.Verse 12. - Do not force me; literally, do not humble me. It is to be regretted that the word should be changed, as it bears testimony to the nobleness of the Hebrew women, who regarded their chastity as their crown of honour. The word folly is used in the sense of unchastity in Genesis 34:7 and elsewhere, and it is noteworthy that the Jews thus connected crime with stupidity. Vain, that is, empty persons were the criminal part of the population (Judges 9:4), and to call a man "a fool" was to attribute to him every possible kind of wickedness (Matthew 5:22). The thought which lay at the root of this view of sin was that Israel was a peculiar people, sanctified to God's service; and all unholiness, therefore, was not merely criminal in itself, but a proof that the guilty person was incapable of rightly estimating his privileges. Tamar urges this upon her "empty" brother, and then pathetically dwells upon their mutual shame, and, finding all in vain, she even suggests that the king might permit their marriage. Such marriages, between half-brothers and half-sisters were strictly forbidden, as tending to loosen the bends of family purity (Leviticus 18:9; Deuteronomy 27:22); but possibly the Levitical code was occasionally violated, or Tamar may have suggested it in the hope of escaping immediate violence.
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