“But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother; and Jonadab was a very crafty man.”
II Samuel13: 3
“The Friends We Choose”as PUt Away your
“Bad company is a disease; who lies with dogs, shall rise with fleas.”
What are the qualities I look for when choosing the friends in my life?”
How have I been influenced by those I choose to associate with?
“Tell me the company you keep, and I’ll tell you what you are.”
“A foe to God was never true friend to man, some sinister intent taints all he does.”
The Bible is such an interesting book. But as with most enlightening volumes, a quick once over rarely sheds the illumination necessary to uncover all the truth and instruction we will find when we dig deeper.
This is so true of the event we are studying about during the next few days.
This incident is often described as the rape of Tamar by her bother Amnon. A tragedy which involved the lives of several of David’s children.
However, upon closer scrutiny, we find there are many layers to this heartbreaking calamity.
First of all, the seeds of this impetuous act were planted by David himself whose own example, witnessed by his children, was not a stellar model of restraint and purity.
Second, we find that even within the life of an extended family, with people we call our relatives, there are relationships which develop that do not uplift or empower. As the above quote by Edward Young states clearly, “A foe of God was never a true friend to man,” and the accuracy of this truth is more than evident in the friendship between Amnon and Jonadab, two people who were actually related.
In II Samuel 13: 3, we are told that these two men were friends. But there’s more to this association. They were “kin-folk.” Jonadab was the son of David’s brother. He was David’s nephew, making Amnon and Jonadab cousins. Someone once said you can choose your friends but not your relatives. In this case, obviously, relatives chose to become friends.
But it becomes evident that Amnon’s choice of friends was as flawed as his lustful thoughts toward his half-sister Tamar, for the Bible tells us Jonadab was, “a very crafty man.” This is how the Amplified Bible translates the word “subtile” which is used in the King James Version to portray Jonadab, as “artfully cunning.” To expand on this Biblical characterization of Jonadab, I looked up the words “crafty” and “cunning” in Webster’s dictionary. An individual who is crafty is described as, “skillfully underhanded and deceptive.” And a “cunning” person is portrayed as, “shrewd and skilled in deception.”
I take time to paint a more complete picture of the type of person Jonadab was because not only does the description speak volumes about Jonadab, it also tells us a lot more about Amnon and the type of characters he chose to associate with, even when they were his relatives.
This is an important point for us to glean from II Samuel 13: 3. David’s large family gave opportunity for many relationships to develop. However, because an individual was a relative, didn’t mean their influence was a heavenly one. I know this is a complicated issue, but there have been times in my own family when the bad influence of a family member on others within the family circle has had terrible consequences and life-shattering results.
Obviously, this is what happened in David’s own family. As we carefully unravel some of the thread that went into weaving a tapestry of deceit and betrayal right in David’s own family, we will see, all too vividly, the results of choosing the wrong friends –- even within your own family.
Not long ago I read a beautiful piece written by an unknown author about the elements that need to be part of an uplifting friendship – a friendship that elevates our lives. I’d like to share this with you for whether we choose relatives as friends or friendships come into our lives from meeting complete strangers, we do well to remember that those whose lives reflect a spiritual cord of love and beauty make a friendship flower. Or as the French proverb so eloquently states friendship can become “an image of God.” This is the most heavenly vision possible of a faithful friend.
Into a Box of Friendship
“Into a box of friendship
To insure that it is strong
First a layer of respect
On the bottom does belong
Then to the sides attach
In the corners where they meet
Several anchors full of trust
Devoid of all deceit,
The height of friendship can be measured
By the sides of four
So make them all a larger cut
And the box will hold much more.
Now fill it up with courtesy,
Honor and esteem,
And passion for a dream.
Add to that your honesty,
Emotions, joy and love
And since they’re so important
Place them up above.
But leave the box wide open
So all can see inside
To learn what makes a friendship work
From a box where God abides.”
“It is my joy in life to find
At every turning of the road
The strong arm of a comrade kind
To help me onward with my load.
And since I have no gold to give,
And love alone must make amends,
My only prayer is, while I live –
God make me worthy of my friends.”
Frank Dempter Sherman
Dorothy Valcấrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Transformation Garden is now on Facebook. You can get the daily devotional every day, Monday through Friday on our site. Plus, take a look at our new, free bookmarks, too.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 602-368-1245.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.