Tamar and Amnon, Rachel and Jacob, Love vs Lust
Hello blessed beloved child of God, I hope you’re fine by God’s grace and ready to start an awesome week in Him. As for me, I’m fine by God’s grace.
Today I want to talk about a subject which is probably important for every human being; love.
I think a good way to know what love is, is to know what it is not. Love is not lust, and we’re going to compare the two today.
The aim of this blog post is dual:

  • Such that you will know if what you feel or demonstrate towards someone else is love or lust
  • Such that you know whether this person loves you or is just lustful over you

People usually confuse lust with love. They are just lustful for someone but they say they love the person.
We will contrast love and lust by looking at two stories in The Bible, and by God’s grace you’ll be able to distinguish between love and lust in your daily life. This is not to judge anyone but to bring life in Christ.

1. This is What Lust Looks Like

Jan Steen - The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202.
Amnon and Tamar, painted by Jan Steen
The first story is one which we don’t usually speak of in Church, probably because it’s hard to read, painful, but it has many lessons in it.

2 Samuel 13:1‭-‬9‭, ‬9‭-‬18‭, ‬18‭-‬19 MSG

Some time later, this happened: Absalom, David’s son, had a sister who was very attractive. Her name was Tamar. Amnon, also David’s son, was in love with her. Amnon was obsessed with his sister Tamar to the point of making himself sick over her. She was a virgin, so he couldn’t see how he could get his hands on her. Amnon had a good friend, Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah. Jonadab was exceptionally streetwise. He said to Amnon, “Why are you moping around like this, day after day—you, the son of the king! Tell me what’s eating at you.” “In a word, Tamar,” said Amnon. “My brother Absalom’s sister. I’m in love with her.” “Here’s what you do,” said Jonadab. “Go to bed and pretend you’re sick. When your father comes to visit you, say, ‘Have my sister Tamar come and prepare some supper for me here where I can watch her and she can feed me.’” So Amnon took to his bed and acted sick. When the king came to visit, Amnon said, “Would you do me a favor? Have my sister Tamar come and make some nourishing dumplings here where I can watch her and be fed by her.” David sent word to Tamar who was home at the time: “Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare a meal for him.” So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house. She took dough, kneaded it, formed it into dumplings, and cooked them while he watched from his bed. But when she took the cooking pot and served him, he wouldn’t eat. Amnon said, “Clear everyone out of the house,” and they all cleared out. Then he said to Tamar, “Bring the food into my bedroom, where we can eat in privacy.” She took the nourishing dumplings she had prepared and brought them to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. But when she got ready to feed him, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, sister!” “No, brother!” she said, “Don’t hurt me! This kind of thing isn’t done in Israel! Don’t do this terrible thing! Where could I ever show my face? And you—you’ll be out on the street in disgrace. Oh, please! Speak to the king—he’ll let you marry me.” But he wouldn’t listen. Being much stronger than she, he raped her. No sooner had Amnon raped her than he hated her—an immense hatred. The hatred that he felt for her was greater than the love he’d had for her. “Get up,” he said, “and get out!” “Oh no, brother,” she said. “Please! This is an even worse evil than what you just did to me!” But he wouldn’t listen to her. He called for his valet. “Get rid of this woman. Get her out of my sight! And lock the door after her.” The valet threw her out and locked the door behind her. She was wearing a long-sleeved gown. (That’s how virgin princesses used to dress from early adolescence on.) Tamar poured ashes on her head, then she ripped the long-sleeved gown, held her head in her hands, and walked away, sobbing as she went.

When you look at this story carefully, you realize that the word used for Amnon’s feelings for Tamar was “love” but the truth is, what he felt for her was actually lust. He was so lustful over her that he wanted just one opportunity to be alone with her in order to have sex with her.

1.1 You Think It’s Love But All You Think About Is Sex

Amnon wanted his sister Tamar in his bed. He didn’t care about her character, about her love for God, about her purity, her virginity or her reputation. He didn’t even care about her dreams.
He was sick over the fact that he couldn’t be alone with her in a room to have sex with her.
He had no interest in knowing her character, no interest in finding about her dreams, whether she was planning to get married, what type of man she wanted, none of that meant anything to him.
The only thing which mattered when he thought about her was having sex with her, meeting his needs.
This is not love, it is lust. It is self-centred, and it doesn’t care about God’s plan for the life of the other one, it doesn’t care about God’s Word, it cares just about a need (sex) which has to be satisfied.
Remember that Amnon was the son of Kind David, king of Israel. This means that he knew God’s Word about incest, he knew God’s Word about extramarital sex but he didn’t care at all. He didn’t even care about the fact that Tamar could be stoned if he had sex with her out of marriage, he didn’t care about what would happen to her after he would have accomplished his deed and fed his need, he didn’t care about what would be said about his father. That’s what lust does, lust cares about nothing else. The need has to be fed and who cares who suffers after ?
Lust says “me, me, me”, “who cares about God?” , “Who cares about what happens to him/her after?”

1.2 You Follow Poor Advice Which Only Reinforces Your Lust

I’m pretty sure that Amnon had many godly people around him, but the person he chose to be his “good friend” was not godly, and could only give him the type of advice which reinforced his twisted intentions towards his sister.
It’s not because you consider them to be your good friend that they’re actually good for you and that they can give you godly advice.
When someone is lustful, they will leave all the good advice, and all the people who really speak God’s Word to them, and they will choose a twisted way to fulfill their needs.

1.3 Lust Isolates The Other One

When someone is lusting over you, the person isolates you all the time.
If they want some time alone with you it’s not to surprise you with a wedding ring and a proposal. They want time alone with you to touch you, to have sex with you. If they can’t convince you, they force you.
When you really love someone, you know that you are human and you have needs for intimacy, and you try to protect the person. You make sure not to isolate this person, you make sure not to suggest anything indecent, not to touch them in an indecent way. You prefer places which are open, where you’re not alone, where there are other people, so that you won’t lose control or won’t force them.

1.3 Lust Doesn’t Care About Consent

Amnon finally gets to be completely alone with Tamar.
He asks her to have sex with him but she refuses. She begs him not to do that to her. She tells him to ask their dad for her hand so that he can marry her. She doesn’t want to have sex out of marriage, she begs him but he rapes her.
If you really love someone and the person begs you not to do something, or the person tells you “no”, even if you deeply want it, you’ll let go, or you’ll give up because you really love the person right?
If you were Amnon and the girl you “loved” told you “come see my father and ask to marry me” , you would run to her father and ask to marry her right? (Which wasn’t possible here because she was his sister, they had the same dad but not the same mom)
But Amnon didn’t love her. What he felt for her was lust, not love. So he didn’t care about her pain, he didn’t care about her, he didn’t care about her humiliation, he cared about nothing, only his need (sex) and once he met it, he threw her away.
You may be stronger than the other, you may be more skilled at convincing and manipulating, but if you love this person you won’t force your way, you will protect this person from you instead of using their weakness to gratify your sexual desires. This is not love, it is lust.

1.4 Lust Doesn’t Last Long Once Fulfilled

Once Amnon raped Tamar, he wasn’t interested in her anymore. He even asked his guards to throw her out of his house.
Now that his need was met, now that his obsession was cleared, he threw her away.
That’s why so many girls are brokenhearted when the guy who promised to marry them broke up after he had sex out of marriage. The truth is he wouldn’t have married you. He didn’t love you. It was just lust. Now that he has gotten what he wanted he throws you away.
That’s why you dated this girl and were sure that it was going to workout but now that you’ve had sex she has disappeared and went to haves sex with another guy. She didn’t love you, she felt lust for you.
That’s reality. It’s painful but it’s real. That’s one of the numerous reasons why God tells us to wait for marriage to have sex, because it will filter out many people who are just into the business of lust, the one who really loves you will stay, and will wait patiently without putting you in danger.
Even when he will be tempted he will think of your relationship with God, your honour, your reputation, your dreams, and he’ll protect you from him, he will go to God to meet his needs instead of lusting over you, blackmailing you to have sex, or forcing you. You can force someone to say yes by manipulating the person, or you can force them like Amnon, through rape, but one way or another, you have forced your way because it wasn’t love, it was lust.

2. This Is What Love Looks Like

Jacob and Rachel at the Well, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902), gouache on board, 10 3/8 x 8 1/4 in. (26.4 x 21 cm), at the Jewish Museum, New York

Rachel and Jacob at the well by Joseph Tissot

The second story is one I really love, because it is a story of patience. When I read it I deeply desire before God, a man who will love me and wait the right way like Jacob.
Genesis 29: 18-22 NIV

After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, Laban said to him, “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.” Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak (delicate) eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her.” So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast.

2.1 True Love Waits

Yeah I know you’ve already heard this phrase so many times but it says the truth. When you really love someone you are willing to wait and you do what it takes to wait well. The complete story of Jacob and Rachel is more complicated because finally he didn’t serve just 7 years for Rachel, he served 14 years. You can go to your Bible and read the full story, but the big issue here is because Jacob really loved Rachel, he waited.
As you’ve seen above Lust doesn’t wait, lust wants it “now”, but here you see Jacob so in love with Rachel that he waits for 7 years before asking to finally have his wife in order to have sex with her.
Jacob waited well. No where in The Bible is it written that he pressurized Rachel during these 7 years telling her ”I have needs, I have a sex drive, I want to have sex now, I’ll marry you later”. No where in The Bible is it written that he isolated her in a room so that he would force her to have sex, or that he pressurized her everyday telling her he needed physical touch and that he wanted her to meet his needs so that he would wait better. Jacob never did any of these things because he really loved Rachel.
If a man really loves you, he’ll wait for marriage to demand sex from you, and he will really wait without making you guilty for him waiting. If he really loves you he will wait without even telling you about his needs for sex because he knows that he’s not entitled to talk to you about such things since you’re not God, you’re not his Pastor, you’re not his spiritual leader, you’re not his wife. He will not try to get any sexual gratification from you, because he loves you.

2.2 True Love Works For It

Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, so he had to pay for the bride price. The bride price here meant working for 7 years in order to marry her. He worked hard, he worked pretty well, because he was in love with Rachel.
I live in Cameroon, in Africa. In my culture, paying a bride price is still common. However, there are men who say they can’t afford to pay for the bride price, so they ask the woman to have sex with them while they aren’t married yet, and they say they will pay the bride price in the future. When the woman refuses they try to isolate her like Amnon did so that they can have sex with her though they aren’t married.
This is not love, it is lust. Love is what Jacob did. He worked for the relationship. He worked and when he was ready, he asked to marry her, and eventually he had the sex but after marriage. Someone who really loves you won’t look for excuses. He won’t try by any means to convince you such that he has you at “lower price”, so that “while he is working he has sex with you and he will marry you later”
No, love works for the relationship first, then gets married, then has sex. This is how the order is.
In your case maybe you already have all the money to get married, but you don’t want to work for the relationship. You don’t want to know the person’s family, you don’t want to get to know the person, you don’t want to build anything, you don’t want to get married, you don’t want anything other than having sex and leaving. This is not love it is lust.

2.3 When You Love Someone You Get Married

When you really love someone, you’ll make sure to marry them before trying to get any form of sexual gratification. This is what Jacob did. He got married.
The fact that he says after the 7 years “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her.” shows that all this while he had sex drive, he had needs for intimacy, he wanted to have sex with Rachel but he knew it was out of order. He cared about her, he cared about her father, he cared about what God would think of all of it, he cared about his relationship with God, he cared about her reputation, so he kept things in the right place. He waited for her, and he worked for her, and when the time came he married her. After having married her he eventually had sex, and his marriage with her lasted till she died.
This is totally different from Amnon who just wanted to have sex with Tamar, didn’t want to marry her, didn’t care about her reputation or about her future. He raped her and threw her away.


Now that you know the difference between love and lust, you can better analyze your relationships and see where you have to adjust.
Our God is good and merciful and He forgives us if we are repentant. Today, you can change your ways, and repent. You can turn to God and He will fulfill your needs. Your change will be a process, but He will be there for you. You can find an accountability partner, a Christian elder, a Pastor, who will instruct you, pray for you and help you put order in your relationship.
Jeremiah 3: 13 AMP

Only understand fully and acknowledge your wickedness and guilt, That you have rebelled (transgressed) against the Lord your God And have scattered your favors among strangers under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the Lord

May be you’re the one who let lust come into your relationship. Maybe you really loved or thought you loved your significant other, but now all you want is sex. Maybe you’re lusting over your significant other and putting him/her in tempting and sinful situations, not caring about their relationship with God, their parents, their future, their reputation. You can confess it all to God, repent, change your ways, and apologize to this person, and make real changes to wait and work for your relationship before God.
Maybe you’re the one who was used and thrown away, manipulated or forced into sex. Maybe you feel hurt and broken. God forgives, God saves, God redeeems. Turn to Him and receive His grace. Make Him The Provider of all your needs and count on His wisdom for your future.
Perhaps you’re the one who’s in a relationship now with someone who doesn’t love you, who is lustful towards you, who’s isolating you and putting you in sinful situations, who doesn’t respect your boundaries nor your relationship with God, whom you beg to respect you but who keeps forcing you, who wants sex now and who pretends they will marry you later. Don’t wait to be raped before you quit the relationship. Run away now, and turn to God to restore you. Don’t fall for their manipulation. Confess your sins to Him, receive His forgiveness, and move on. Stop thinking you can change them. Just leave and run for your life. If this person really loved you they wouldn’t do wrong to you this way. They would behave like Jacob and not like Amnon.
Romans 13: 10 Good News Translation

If you love others, you will never do them wrong; to love, then, is to obey the whole Law.

1 Corinthians 6:18 NLT

Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.


Father Lord God Almighty, I pray for discernment, wisdom, and grace. I can’t direct my life by myself and make the best decisions by myself. I often confuse love with lust and this pushes me to treat people the wrong way or to let people treat me the wrong way and to sin against you. I confess it all to You, I pray for Your forgiveness. I pray that You may help me to take the right steps to live out of love in Christ Jesus and to put Christ Jesus at the center of my relationships for real. Restore to me all that I have lost everytime in my life where I let lust lead instead of love, directly or indirectly, and help me make better choices from this day forward, in Jesus Christ’s Name.Amen

It’s Now Your Turn

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Victoria Eyog


helpothers289 · August 7, 2018 at 11:45 pm

Thanks for this great post. Very enriching

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