10 June 2017

Maacah Mother of Tamar: Mother Lioness

2 Samuel 13

Tear my clothes,
throw ash upon my head.
Today my daughter is dead.

Why do we bear daughters
only to watch them be consumed
by the fires of the lust of a man
eating them alive?
Today my daughter is dead,
alive but dead,
an empty shell,
a rejected husk,
a ghost condemned
for another's lust.
Why do we bear daughters
only to watch them be destroyed
by a world that blames the helpless
and lets evil win the day?

They say a snake corrupted Eve -
today, it speaks to Adam
for it lives between his legs.
Why do we bear daughters
only to watch them be devoured
by merciless greed,
then cast away shamed,
a broken reed?

I want to tear him apart,
I want to rip his throat,
I want to bite off his manhood,
show no mercy to this merciless brute
who had no mercy for her.
Why do we bear daughters
only to watch them be regarded as objects,
playthings to be used and cast aside?
Why do we bear sons
if this is what they become?

I want to devour him
and leave nothing left,
I want him destroyed
the way he destroyed her.
I want to wail to the skies
forty days and forty nights,
tear my clothes,
throw ashes on my head
for today my daughter is dead.

Why did you create us
only to watch us like this,
tearing at each other
like wild beasts?
O God, like me you bore children
and you watched them fall apart.
Does your Mother-heart
break like mine?
O God, do you mourn
every day and every night
for your degenerate children
who wander as though dead?
O God, do you long, like me,
to go out in fury
like a mother lioness,
tearing evil limb from limb?

Or do you, like me,
tear your clothes,
throw ash upon your head,
and mourn your broken children,
alive but dead?


[10. June 2017]

Thought I'd write from the point of view of Maacah, mother of Tamar. Tamar, daughter of David, was raped by her half-brother Amnon. With "alive but dead" I try to refer to how in a shame culture, being shamed in this way (by rape) can make a woman completely lose her worth in society. Tamar would have been made unmarriagable, all her chances for a future destroyed. To society, she was as good as dead.

Victims of rape generally reap more consequences than the perpetrators. Perpetrators get away; punishments are all too often not at all proportionate to the crime. A raped woman is innocent of what happened, but all too often is treated like a sinner. She suffers because of the sin of another.

When the Bible talks about justice and punishment and judgement, I believe it talks about things like this... about God standing in for the suffering and abused.

I decided to play with female imagery of God again here... not everyone's cup of tea, but it is a fact that God as God is "genderless", i.e. definitely not male, and that the Bible uses a lot of feminine imagery for God. I think the mother lioness fits to God... mother animals can be extremely ferocious when their children are attacked. While I am certain that God loves both perpetrators and victims, and salvation is about restoration and healing for both, I also believe (also from some of the pretty gory imagery that we read e.g. in the prophets) that God can be as ferocious as a worried mother animal when it comes to defending those who are wronged. The hard part is that we are all His children (tried to touch on that a bit in the last two stanzas which talk about all the children, not just the daughters), perpetrators and victims alike. God wants all to be saved; at the same time He does not stand for injustice. God's mourning over us must be all the greater, then... a combination of Maacah here, and Ahinoam, Amnon's mother.

Other poems about Tamar and Amnon here.

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