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(Etienne Delaune, Incest of Loth)
This is a true story, and there is a victim at the time of this writing (2020 CE). I am changing the names and other identifying characteristics so that in case the guilty party repents, his name will not be tarnished.
Mishle (Proverbs) 10:12
12 Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all sins.
Our prayer is that the victim will be delivered from this evil situation, preferably by the full repentance of the perpetrator, so that his soul might be saved in the day of Yahweh-Yeshua.
[Note: this study builds on material found in “Yahweh’s Heart in Marriage”, which is one of the studies in the Covenant Relationship collection. It may be helpful to read that study before attempting to read this case study, as this study builds on the understandings found in that one.]
In “Yahweh’s Heart in Marriage”, we show how Yahweh never intended divorce to be permanent. We know this for several reasons, but principally that Yahweh gave the house of Ephraim (here called Israel) a bill of divorce (verse 8), and yet He also says He is still married to her (verse 14). This means that Yahweh views divorce more like what is today called legal separation.
Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 3:8-14
8 “Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.
9 So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.
10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says Yahweh.
11 Then Yahweh said to me, “Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says Yahweh; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says Yahweh; ‘I will not remain angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against Yahweh your Elohim, And have scattered your charms To alien deities under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says Yahweh.
14 “Return, O backsliding children,” says Yahweh; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Tzion.”
Logically, the only way Yahweh can divorce Israel (Ephraim) in verse 8, and yet still be married to her in verse 14 is if Yahweh’s definition of divorce means legal separation. And as we show in Yahweh’s Heart in Marriage, Scripture is entirely consistent with this.
Originally, Yahweh intended marriage to be for life, and the men were to forge a brotherhood in which every man was to treat his wife with love and respect, even going going so far as to pursue their wives in the case of adultery, to win them back through love and dedication, just as Yahweh wins Israel back (Hoshea 3:1-4). Yet instead of that, Ephraim has ironically opted for the same legal system that the Pharisees advocated, in which a man and his wife can get divorced for “any reason.”
Mattityahu (Matthew) 19:3-6
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’
5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what Elohim has joined together, let not man separate.”
Today the kind of strong brotherhood the Scriptures speak of does not exist in Western culture, and divorce is relatively easy to get. Other forms of sexually immoral activity are also condoned, because the hearts of men have grown cold. Yet in the interest of establishing Yahweh’s justice inside of our communities, let us begin our case study.
Case Study: Incest
Many years ago, a Christian woman we will call Sarah had several children by an earlier husband. Among these was a girl we will call Tamar. Afterward, Sara got a “permanent” (Western-style) divorce. Sarah then went to Bible college, where she met a believing man we will call Amnon. Tamar was only 2 years old when Amnon and her mother Sarah got married, and Amnon was the only father Tamar has ever known. She grew up loving Amnon, and admiring, and she thought of him only as her “dad.” She greatly respected him, and trusted his counsel.
Because of Amnon’s studies in Scripture, he felt it was important to leave the United States, and relocate to a certain historically Catholic country, to establish a place of safety and refuge for the end times. The place where they went was extremely remote, and while there were very many Catholics, there were not many Protestants—and among the Protestants that they did know, none of them believed in obeying all of Scripture.
Because they were so isolated, and did not know any other families that believed in obeying all of the Word, Tamar’s family was very close.
When Tamar was 17, her mother Sarah had a child delivered at a hospital in the US, and the doctors talked her into becoming sterilized (for population control). Amnon could not fathom what Sarah had done, so he spoke with her, and persuaded her to help him talk his adopted daughter Tamar into becoming his second wife, to bear him more children. He used the story of Lot and his daughters as an example of allegedly righteous daughters keeping their father’s lineage alive. And even though she had many misgivings, because she trusted, loved, and admired dad, she consented.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 19:30-38
30 Then Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains, and his two daughters were with him; for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar. And he and his two daughters dwelt in a cave.
31 Now the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth.
32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.”
33 So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
34 It happened on the next day that the firstborn said to the younger, “Indeed I lay with my father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.”
35 Then they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
36 Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father.
37 The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day.
38 And the younger, she also bore a son and called his name Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the people of Ammon to this day.
Tamar had not wanted to marry young, and the idea of marrying her dad had never crossed her mind. What she dreamt of was what any healthy 17 year old woman would want, which was to find a righteous believing man who would be her “knight in shining armor” (her words), who would love her, and then together they could raise a family in Yeshua. However, they did not know of any other families who believed in obeying all of Scripture.
The agreement was that if Tamar would bear Amnon’s children, then if someone else came along later that she wanted to marry, she could. But in the meantime, she would be helping to “keep her father’s lineage alive.”
Tamar had severe misgivings, but, she told herself that all the great people in Tanach (the Older Covenant) had to go through difficult situations, and so she “just needed to use more faith, to make the situation right.” So, because she wanted to support and obey her dad, she agreed that she would bear Amnon’s children, and that if another man came along later who was right for her, she could marry him.
Tamar never found a man she thought was righteous, who believed in obeying all of Scripture. Because of this, she continued to have relations with Amnon in secret. She tried to end the relationship many times, because she felt bad inside, only to get talked back into it again by Amnon (who has a gift for talking).
As far as the outside world knew, Tamar was a single mother with two children, who still lived at home.
Then, in 2018, Tamar’s mother Sarah repented of the marriage between Amnon and her daughter, and she fled back to the United States. Two years later (in 2020), Tamar sought counsel with Nazarene Israel. Although her situation is a difficult one, we will try to explain what we believe to be Yahweh’s heart in the matter.
Living by Yahweh’s Precepts
As we explain in Nazarene Israel, Yahweh gave Israel His Torah at Mount Sinai as a marital contract. The bride (Israel) said her “I do’s”, and promised to obey.
Shemote (Exodus) 24:7
7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that Yahweh has said we will do, and be obedient.”
Yeshua tells us not to think that the marital covenant has been abolished.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:17-20
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill [i.e., to fulfill a first part of them].
18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Torah till all is fulfilled.
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
In verse 20, the “righteousness” Yeshua speaks of is our obedience to Yahweh’s commandments. Only, we need to obey it better than the scribes (i.e., Karaites) and the Pharisees (Orthodox). We need to do it through His Spirit. But how can we obey the Torah through Yeshua’s Spirit, in the dispersion?
Yahweh’s Torah Regarding Near of Kin
According to Scripture, Amnon’s marriage to Tamar is unlawful, and wicked, and it should never have taken place. Leviticus 18:17 prohibits a man from uncovering the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, because they are near of kin.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 18:17
17 “You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, nor shall you take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness. They are near of kin to her. It is wickedness.”
In Hebrew, the term wickedness is zimmah (זִמָּה). Zimmah goes beyond ordinary sin in that it indicates evil planning which goes contrary to Yahweh’s will. Here is how Strong’s Hebrew Concordance defines it.
OT:2154 zimmah (zim-maw’); or zammah (zam-maw’); from OT:2161; a plan, especially a bad one:
KJV – heinous crime, lewd (-ly, -ness), mischief, purpose, thought, wicked (device, mind, -ness).
A similar verse in Leviticus 20:14 prohibits a man from marrying both a woman and her mother, and indicates that the [voluntary] offenders are to be burned with fire, so that there may be no wickedness among us.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 20:14
14 “If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is wickedness. They shall be burned with fire, both he and they, that there may be no wickedness among you.”
The only caveat is that this implies planning or plotting. This only applies to Amnon, who schemed to get his wife Sarah to help him convince her daughter Tamar to enter the unlawful marriage.
It is true that Sarah sinned, in that she should have known better. However, she is not guilty of wickedness in that she did not scheme, or devise the plan (but rather, she was talked into it).
Clearly, Tamar is not guilty of zimmah, as she is the victim. Only Amnon is guilty of premeditating a plot that goes contrary to Yahweh’s will.
Dealing with Wickedness in the Dispersion
If we were living in the land of Israel and the Torah was our constitution, the correct thing to do would be to burn Amnon by fire, so that there would be no wickedness among us. This is an extreme judgment, which is fitting for extreme evil (and Yahweh considers sexual sin to be extremely evil). However, because we did not keep the Torah in the past, now we are out in the dispersion, where we cannot keep the Torah, but must suffer the consequences, so that we will become eager to obey it. And in the meantime, we are to obey the laws of the governments appointed over us.
Romim (Romans) 13:1-2
1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from Elohim, and the authorities that exist are appointed by Elohim.
2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of Elohim, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
While plotting sexual immorality merits burning in Torah, no Judeo-Christian nations today call for burning those who plot wickedness (and in fact today the trend is in the opposite direction, to allow depravity of all kinds).
Burning the wicked was also not allowed in ancient Corinth, which is why the Apostle Shaul (Paul) told the Corinthians to put the one committing wickedness and malice outside the camp (verse 8), so that the assembly would not inadvertently become leavened through the acceptance of sexual sin. While this may not be the letter of Torah, it is a perfect discipline in the dispersion, in that it obeys Yahweh’s precept that sin (and especially sexual sin) is not allowed inside the camp. Notice also Shaul’s astonishment that the brothers allowed the sin of uncovering the nakedness of nearness of kin. Even the gentiles knew it was wrong (and it was only Yeshua’s people who behaved like they did not know).
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 5:1-13
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles — that a man has his father’s wife!
2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.
4 In the name of Yahweh Yeshua Messiah, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of Yahweh Yeshua Messiah,
5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of Yahweh Yeshua.
6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.
10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person.
12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
13 But those who are outside Elohim judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
So if Yahweh’s people seem to have difficulty identifying evil, how can we know that the plan Amnon devised was evil?
One way we know Amnon’s plan was evil was because it had to be kept a secret from the public. If it were not evil, it would have been made public from the start.
Yochanan (John) 3:19-21
19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in Elohim.”
In Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume 4, in the study, “Why Give Your Wife a Ketubah”, we show how a ketubah is a written public record of our marriage agreements. A ketubah is a kind of marriage contract, except that the terms of the covenant are spelled out in writing. We also show how we as Israelites are required to obey Yahweh’s example in this matter by establishing written records of the marital agreements with our wives, and posting them prominently in our homes, so that anyone who visits can see. However, this would not be possible in the case of Amnon and Tamar, because the violations of Leviticus 18:17 and Leviticus 20:14 would make any marital agreement immediately null and void, as there is no way to simultaneously obey Yahweh’s example while breaking His Torah—and any suggestion that it is possible represents a wicked plot against Yahweh, by invoking the name of Yahweh as a cover for evil.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 20:14
14 “If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is wickedness. They shall be burned with fire, both he and they, that there may be no wickedness among you.”
We also know that the marriage was evil because Tamar never wanted it. Amnon even had to talk her into it by pretending that the example of Lot’s daughters was righteous. (To be generous, perhaps Amnon made the not-uncommon mistake of thinking that every action that is recorded in the Torah is exemplary, and is worthy of emulation, but this is not true. Lot was never righteous, and his offspring Moab and Ammon are traditionally the enemies of Israel. Lot’s example is not to be imitated, and anyone who is filled with Yahweh-Yeshua’s Spirit would know this.)
Sin is a Failure to Love
Amnon’s big problem is that he fails to love Yahweh, and fails to love his neighbor (in this case his daughter). His actions are entirely selfish, and disobey both Yahweh’s Torah, and his daughter’s best interests.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 22:35-40
35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Torah?”
37 Yeshua said to him, “‘You shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 On these two commandments hang all the Torah and the Prophets.”
Any husband has the responsibility to learn Yahweh’s ways, and to lead his family in them by example. When each man in Yeshua’s kingdom does this, the kingdom comes together, and functions. However, while Amnon might believe he has Yahweh-Yeshua’s Spirit, he cannot, because his fruit is contrary to what Yahweh commands.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 12:33
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.”
As Tamar’s adoptive dad, Amnon’s job was to look out for Yahweh’s interest, and to look out for his daughter’s interest. This calls for putting Yahweh’s and Tamar’s interests before his own. Yet rather than helping Tamar to realize her perfectly normal dream of finding a man who would love and care for her, he used his position of authority and his gift of persuasion to talk her into doing what he wanted, instead.
Tamar was conflicted because she wanted to be a good daughter who supported her father. She did well, except that she failed to be as wise as a serpent (Matthew 10:16), and allowed herself to be misled. Yet the greater fault clearly lies with Amnon, who told her that they could get “married”, and that she could bear him children, and then if another man ever came along they could get a “divorce”, and she could marry him, even though that is contrary to Yahweh’s Torah (and even the gentiles know it is unclean). Amnon’s scheme is a perfect example of twisting Yahweh’s word to devise an evil plot, and in this it is a perfect example of wickedness. It is also exactly how Satan operates.
Luqa (Luke) 4:9-12
9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of Elohim, throw Yourself down from here.
10 For it is written: ‘He shall give His messengers [angels] charge over you, To keep you,’
11 and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'”
12 And Yeshua answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt Yahweh your Elohim.'”
We should also point out how Amnon’s malicious plan was against Philippians 2, which tells us that if we have any love or fellowship with Yeshua’s Spirit, then we should esteem others as better than ourselves, and to look out for their interests (which Amnon did not do). This applies especially to children.
Philipim (Philippians) 2:1-4
1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Messiah, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
That Amnon would be more concerned with his wants and desires than with Tamar’s best interest is another clear indication that he cannot be led by Yeshua’s Spirit, because his actions are not motivated by love.
Yet even now, for all of this, what Tamar wants at the time of this writing is for her adoptive dad to repent from the heart, so she does not need to leave, in order to raise her children up in an environment that is not filled with unclean spirits. She wants to keep him as her dad, and not as her husband. But for this, Amnon needs to be repent not just of his sin, but of his sinful nature.
Yochanan (John) 16:7-8
7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment….”
There is something vital here that is usually overlooked. Notice how Yeshua does not say that when the Set-apart Spirit comes, it will convict the world of its sins, but rather that it will convict the world of sin. That is, it will convict all those who receive the Spirit that our fleshly human nature is evil, and sinful, such that the only way we can truly obey Yahweh, and please Him, is to repent of our sinful animal nature. We must repent of seeking to do our own will, thinking that it is His will. That is, we must fall on the Stone, and be broken, lest He fall on us, and grind us to powder.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 21:44
44 “And whoever falls on this Stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
Let us pray that Amnon and all those like him, who use Yahweh’s name to achieve their own ends, will wake up, and repent from the heart, and fall on the Stone, so that their souls might be saved in the day of Yahweh-Yeshua.