Q. Anonymous Question
How should we understand 2 Samuel 12:7-12 and 2 Samuel 16:20-23
1) Do these verses show that God gave these 10 concubines of David to Absalom to rape? If so, how can we justify this? i.e. to punish David for what he did to Uriah and Bathsheba he caused these 10 concubines of David to be raped? What about the rights of these women (10 concubines)?
2) In 2 Samuel 16:23 we read ‘Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice.’ But Ahithophel is the one who said ‘Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself obnoxious to your father, and the hands of everyone with you will be more resolute’ (2 Samuel 16:21) Did Ahithophel really speak for God? If so, how can we justify this advice?
3) Also, in Leviticus 18:8 we read ‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.’ So even if the above the verses in 2 Samuel are not talking about rape of the 10 concubines but that it was consensual, how can the verses in 2 Samuel be reconciled with Leviticus 18:8?
I’ve opted in this instance not to answer your questions. To be perfectly honest, your effort to preserve your anonymity is troubling, and prompts me not to answer your questions. Your questions are posed in a way that protects your identity. My response, on the other hand, has the potential of becoming very public. To ask honest questions is a good thing, but to hide your identity is neither necessary or commendable.
Your questions could be read so as to imply that a reasonable explanation cannot be given. If this were the case, such questions remind me of the questions Jesus was asked -- namely, that they were not sincere, but asked only to make Jesus look bad. Their questions assumed that there was no answer possible or that, if given, the answer would be incriminating or detrimental to Jesus in some way. (Notice how Jesus turned the tables on His questioners in Matthew 21:23-27.) We should note that our Lord’s answers were based on the fact that Jesus knew who His questioners were, and what the motives of His questioners were as well (see Mark 12:15).
There is another reason why I am not able to answer your questions as posed. The Book of Proverbs instructs us to respond to others on the basis of their character:
7 Whoever corrects a mocker is asking for insult; whoever reproves a wicked person receives abuse. 8 Do not reprove a mocker or he will hate you; reprove a wise person and he will love you. (Proverbs 9:7-8, NET).
1 A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke (Proverbs 13:1).
A rebuke makes a greater impression on a discerning person than a hundred blows on a fool (Proverbs 17:10).
7 Whoever corrects a mocker is asking for insult; whoever reproves a wicked person receives abuse. 8 Do not reprove a mocker or he will hate you; reprove a wise person and he will love you (Proverbs 9:7-8).
4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you yourself also be like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own estimation (Proverbs 26:4-5).
Please understand me. I have no way of discerning your character or motives, and therefore I am not able to properly respond. But I go out of my way to deal with honest questions, which are prompted by a sincere desire to better understand God’s Word.
And, by the way, there are answers to your questions, which I would be glad to offer, to a known questioner.