Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves; for thus were the virgin daughters of the king clad of old. So his servant put her out, and bolted the door after her. And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent the long robe which she wore; and she laid her hand on her head, and went away, crying as she went. – 2 Samuel 13:18-19 (RSV)

*   *   *

This Tamar is a daughter of King David who is raped by her half-brother and then faces only a cover-up from her brother and father. It’s an example of keeping it quiet and within the family, our own little secret, even though the festering erupts two years later, when Absolom arranges the murder of the offender, Amnon.

We should note, too, that the Hebrew word describing her robe, as one worn by a virgin daughter of a king, appears one other place, describing the robe Jacob gave to his favored son Joseph.

*   *   *

Thus the evil One in the Time of sore Conflict, seeks to aggravate the Soul’s Grief; and what he cannot do by Storm, he will attempt by Terror, secretly striving to make the Soul impatient under its Exercise, thereby to drive it into Despair. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

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