God's Roadmap

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in his wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in his eyes (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 TPT).

Thursday, April 25, 2024

A Betrayed Woman Finds Hope and Courage


by Barbara Latta @barbaralatta

Intrigue, suspense, deception, rape, betrayal…and murder.

Does this sound like the scene from a crime documentary?

Would you believe a biblical cliffhanger?

In 2 Samuel chapter 13 we read about the events of the life of King David’s daughter, Tamar.

Raped by her half-brother, abandoned by her father, and then taken in for protection by another brother… or was that really his motive?

Miriam Feinberg Vamosh and Eva Marie Everson bring the mostly forgotten incidents of Tamar’s life to light in the new release, AhōtiA Story of Tamar

As an Israeli tour guide living in Jerusalem, Miriam met Eva Marie years ago when Eva traveled to Israel as a journalist. The two have remained connected not only through professional achievements, but also as friends.

They published a book together in 2008 about the beauty of Israel in Reflections of God’s Holy Land, and partnered again to write, Ahōti – A Story of Tamar. 

The Connection with an Ancient Document

The Bible doesn’t tell us all the details about the remainder of Tamar’s life. But a centuries-old document, Words of Gad the Seer, was discovered in the 1700s in India. This historic manuscript may be able to shed some light on what happened after this tragedy in Tamar’s life.

Gad the Seer, is mentioned in Scripture as an advisor to David. In 1 Chronicles 29:29–30 we are told that more information regarding the kingdom of Israel is recorded in other documents.

As for the events of King David’s reign, from beginning to end, they are written in the records of Samuel the seer, the records of Nathan the prophet and the records of Gad the seer, together with the details of his reign and power, and the circumstances that surrounded him and Israel and the kingdoms of all the other lands. (NIV)

Words of Gad the Seer is now housed in England. Professor Meir Bar-Ilan, an expert on this historic manuscript, contacted Miriam and suggested she was the person to write the saga of Tamar based on the document.

The Book’s Beginning and Authenticity

Miriam began by blogging about the characters as she learned about their lives. Later she told Eva Marie, “I want to start writing but I don’t know where to begin.” This was the first step in their work on this fictional account together as Eva Marie coached the formation of the manuscript and made suggestions. Eva Marie is most adamant that Miriam did the majority of writing the narrative.

In 2007, Eva Marie returned to Israel to join with Miriam to work on another book. They visited places that are not on usual tours to gather specific data. The two of them went to sites around the Sea of Galilee, which became part of the setting for the beginning of Ahoti.

One trek to gather material created a humorous situation. Eva Marie climbed an old wall to get a picture of Mount Hermon without pondering the fact that she would also need to get down. After consideration of nonexistent choices, she slid down the surface on her stomach while holding on to the ledge by her fingernails. Miriam stood below her and caught her feet. This was one incident that brought about a big laugh.

Their research also resulted in the two of them designing a new kind of tour. They shared their ideas with Israel’s Ministry of Tourism with the suggestion of beginning a tour in the wilderness instead of in Galilee, then concluding in Jerusalem.

Because Ahōti is a work of fiction and some of the details are based on information gained from Words of Gad the Seer, I asked them how they would respond to critics who may think this book attempts to rewrite Scripture.

Eva Marie responded, “We know that Tamar lived a life after all that happened to her. The biblical characters were not confined to just the words in print. We need to realize that there is more to all the stories than what is recorded in Scripture.”

As an example, she referred to the conclusion of the Gospel of John. The disciple alluded to the fact that all the works of Jesus couldn’t be contained in the books of the whole world. There is more about the life of Jesus than they were able to record.

Miriam told about the Jewish sages. “Jewish tradition uses the Midrash, the ancient sages. They discussed these stories in great detail. They would say “‘what if this happened’’’ in order to learn the biblical stories better. Even Jesus referred to these ancient sages when he replied to those who questioned him by stating ‘‘‘you have heard it said.’’’

These are things that can be built on, not claiming it is Scripture, but that make the story more interesting.”

One thing the sages have discussed is that the names of biblical character’s mothers are not listed. After sharing ideas, the sages attributed the name Nitzevet to David’s mother. This is the choice Miriam and Eva Marie used in Tamar’s account. Nitzevet is still recorded in modern synagogues as the name of King David’s mother.

I asked if they thought Words of Gad the Seer was the same document that is referred to in the Bible. Miriam stated, “There is no single opinion about when Words of Gad the Seer was written. The most common idea is that it was written in the Middle Ages. When the professor did his research, he discovered more elements in the manuscript that went further back in time than the Middle Ages. He suggested it is much older. It has been said that the original was brought from the Holy Land by displaced Jews during the exile to Yemen then to India then to England.  The clues he uncovered indicate the age goes back to land of the Bible.”

View from Mt. Tabor to Mt. Hermon

These two authors peer deeper into Scripture to answer questions that we may never ask as we skim over this account such as: How did Absalom know so quickly that Amnon had been with Tamar? Why did David suggest Tamar go to make bread for Amnon? Where was Tamar’s mother during all this?

Family Consequences

Eva Marie shared insights about Tamar’s apparent intelligence. While this horrific act was being committed against her, she still had the presence of mind to recall the commandments of the Torah against such behavior. She begged her half-brother to stop in the name of decency.

The Bible portrays David as a man after God’s own heart, but he was not guiltless. We can see some of the ways David reacted to not only the tragic rape of his daughter, but other circumstances that occurred in his family.

Miriam said, “Many sermons have been written about families. You can relate it to your own family, or the people in the congregation can relate it to their families. It is up to the minister or rabbi or imam to point out how little human nature has changed, and we can see ourselves in every Bible story, usually not in a positive light. How can we act differently than those characters in the Bible who acted against God’s will?”

This book gives hope to any person who has been betrayed, gone through tragedies, or after committing sin. Miriam said, “If God loved David so much in spite of everything David did, then we all have hope.”

Redemption for Victims

The message these two authors want readers to take from this book is this from the words of Eva Marie. “If you are a victim, or a victor as I like to say, of any kind of sexual abuse, you are so much more than that. Don’t let that define you.”

Tamar’s courage and determination can be an inspiration to women everywhere who have been subjected to abuse, betrayal, and rejection of any kind. Her portrayal can encourage us to stand strong in difficult times knowing that God is our protector and shield.

What an honor this was for me to speak to both women as they took time from their busy schedules to talk about this beautiful book. Miriam in Jerusalem and Eva Marie in the US.

These two women with differing backgrounds are connected through the Holy Land and the Bible and have forged a lifetime relationship built upon the Holy One of Israel.

They focus on the similarities within each of them instead of their differences. This is what makes their relationship work and what creates the fabulous stories they can write together.

Miriam said, “As many Christians as I have met over the years, Eva Marie is one of the few who not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk.”

Eva Marie shared this about Miriam. “Ahoti means my sister in Hebrew, and she is ahoti to me.

Don’t miss this biblical tome of suspense, romance, and courage. Tamar’s story is a page-turner you won’t be able to put down. As the late news commentator, Paul Harvey said, “And now you know the rest of the story.”

AhōtiA Story of Tamar releases May 14 and is available for pre-order now.

Have you learned something about the story of Tamar you didn’t know before? Share your thoughts.

 Ahōti: A Story of Tamar by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh and Eva Marie Everson @eversonauthor is filled with suspense, intrigue, and murder and available for pre-release now. (click to tweet) 


  1. While I view this as a "female" book, one that I may never read, it does sound like there's lessons there that every young woman will gain from. Thank you for sharing the story behind the story, Ms. Barb. Sure makes it intriguing.

    1. Yes, J.D., this is a female book, but your kindness to read the article and comment are appreciated. You may know some women who would enjoy this as a gift. Thanks again for sharing. Blessings!

  2. Sounds so interesting, Barbara. Thank for getting the word out on this new book! Years ago I read The Red Tent, a novel based on the Bible and loved it. I definintly want to read this.

    1. I loved reading this book, Candyce. It opened my eyes to the possibility of exploring the "what ifs'' in biblical stories. I think you will like it too. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

  3. This sounds very intriguing. I love stories that give us insights into biblical lives and times.

    1. Debbie, I love those biblical stories also. Ahoti is one that does capture the essence of the Jewish culture and times. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

  4. Yvonne Morgan5/5/24, 9:23 PM

    I’ve been looking for my next read so I will check it out. Thanks for the recommendation Barbara.

    1. Yvonne, I think you will find this book one that will keep you reading. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

  5. Barbara, this book looks like one I won't want to miss. Thanks for sharing it with us. -Annie

    1. I think you will enjoy Ahoti, Annie. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

  6. Thanks for such a thorough look at Ahoti! It sounds like an amazing book well worth the read!