Saturday, October 29, 2016


Women of the Dawn

Tamar ~ "She Hath Been More Righteous Than I"

Key Scripture:  Genesis 38; Ruth 4:12; 1 Chronicles 2:4; Matthew 1:3.

Her Name Means:  "Date or Palm Tree"

Her Character: Tamar was daring, courageous. She was assertive of her rights and subversive of convention. She was also deeply loyal to Judah’s family.

Her Sorrow: That the men in her life failed to fulfill their responsibility, leaving her a childless widow.

Her Joy: That her daring behavior resulted, not in ruin, but in the fulfillment of her hopes to bear children.

Family Connections: Judah (Tamara's father-in-law) was one of Jacob's 12 sons. The scripture says that Judah moved away from Jacob's camp after he and his brothers sold their younger sibling Joseph into slavery. Judah and his unnamed wife had three sons: Er, Onan and Shelah.

Her Story: Tamar is first described as marrying Judah's eldest son, Er. Because of his wickedness, Er was killed by God. Since it was required that the next of kin care for a brother’s widow, Tamar was given to Onan, but he also died. His actions were deemed wicked by God and so, like his older brother, he died prematurely. Judah viewed Tamar to be cursed and was reluctant to give her his remaining and youngest son Shelah. Shelah was still a boy and could not marry Tamar, so Judah asked her to return to her father’s house and wait until Shelah was grown up. However, once Shelah was old enough, Judah did not honor his promise. Tamar remained an unmarried widow.

After Shelah had grown up, Judah became a widower. After Judah mourned the death of his wife, he planned on going to Timnah to shear his sheep. Upon hearing this news, Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and immediately went to Enaim which was en route to Judah's destination. Upon arriving at Enaim, Judah saw the woman but did not recognize her as Tamar because of the veil she wore over her face. Thinking she was a prostitute, he requested her services. Tamar's plan was to become pregnant by this ruse in order to bear a child in Judah's line, because Judah had not given her to his son Shelah. So she played the part of a prostitute and struck a deal with Judah for a goat with a security deposit of his staff, seal, and cord. When Judah was able to have a goat sent to Enaim, in order to collect his staff and seal, the woman was nowhere to be found and no one knew of any prostitute in Enaim (Genesis 38:12–23).

Three months later, Tamar was accused of prostitution on account of her pregnancy. Upon hearing this news, Judah ordered that she be burned to death. Tamar sent the staff, seal, and cord to Judah with a message declaring that the owner of these items was the man who had made her pregnant. Upon recognizing his security deposit, Judah released Tamar from her sentence. Tamar's place in the family and Judah's posterity secured, she gives birth to twins, Perez and Zerah.

Their birth is reminiscent of the birth of Rebekah's twin sons. The midwife marks Zerah's hand with a scarlet cord when it emerges from the womb first, but Perez is born first. Perez is identified in the Book of Ruth as the ancestor of King David (Ruth 4:18–22).

Her Place in God's Divine Plan: More than likely Tamar had no knowledge of the hand of God in the events of her life and totally unaware of the power of God at work. But He was at work nevertheless, bringing good out of tragedy and blessings out of less than honorable events. That's the beauty of this story of Tamar. God's power to bring positive things from the negative, even sinful, events of our lives is just as much at work now as in Tamar's day. We may not see it today or tomorrow, or perhaps ever, but we can trust the God we love to do what He loves, to bring blessings to us in spite of ourselves.

Her Challenges Along the Way: The struggle of losing two husbands and disguising herself as a sacred prostitute, risking death by fire to have a child.

Her Victories: Tamar was forgiven and returned to her father-in-law's family, where she gave birth to twin sons. Thus she fulfilled her duty to her husband and her family, and helped fulfill God's promise to Abraham of many descendants. Tamar sacrificed her reputation and nearly her life to achieve her goals, thus restoring two sons to Judah, who has lost two.

Lesson We Can Learn from Her Legacy: What do you do when the cards are stacked against you, as they were for Tamar? Do you give in, or fight back? Tamar was fighting for justice. According to the law of the land at that time, she had the right to have a child. In time, Tamar gave birth to not one but two twin boys. It was through Perez she became the direct forebear of King David.

Family Tree:
Birthdate: 1652 Birthplace: Hebron, Canaan, Palestine
Daughter of:  Epher and Shua Cananite
Wife of Er: Onan and Judah
Mother of: Zerah . and Pherez .
Occupation: Bijvrouw, of Kadesh

1500 - Age 151
Place of death - Rameses, Goshen, Egypt

According to Ethiopic tradition, Perez became the king of Persia.

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