Genesis Lesson 23 Day 5
God gave Tamar twins, and the line of Judah continued.
13a) Tamar takes action
Judah put Tamar in a difficult position. A woman with no husband or children faced a difficult existence in that culture.
Tamar didn’t have the option of just finding another man to marry. She was under the headship of her father-in-law Judah, and he had to give her a husband. He determined whom and when she could marry.1
Judah sent her back to her father’s house to wait until Shelah grew up, but he had no intention of fulfilling that promise. He was afraid Shelah would die like his brothers so he deceived her.
In Genesis 38:12, we read, “in the course of time Judah’s wife died.” In those same years, Shelah grew up. (One commentary says “Judah was only about forty years old at this time, so his wife Shuah died fairly young. She was a Canaanite and never converted. God’s plan did not include Shuah to be in the Messiah’s line, so the Lord removed her at an early age.”)6
After Judah’s grief passed, he went to Timnah with his friend Hirah. Someone told Tamar about it, and she covered her face with a veil like the cult prostitutes wore and waited for Judah to come along.
The plan worked. He approached her for sex, they negotiated a price, and she also asked for some personal items of value (and identification) until he sent payment.
Hirah had introduced Judah to his wife. Here he helped Judah get a prostitute. What a guy.2
After Judah went in to her, Tamar disappears, returning to her father’s house.
b) “He/she/they left me no choice.”
That is a common excuse when a person makes something happen through illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate actions.
Years ago, while going over some accounting records, I discovered that three key employees were embezzling. They all denied it until confronted with the evidence, then they justified their actions.
c) Describe Judah’s actions and reactions through these verses.
Judah sent his Adullamite friend with the young goat but he could not find Tamar. Judah chose not to go search for her himself. He forfeited his pledge items to avoid embarrassment.
Three months later, Judah is told that Tamar has been immoral and is pregnant because of it.
Judah demands, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.”
As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “by the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.”
Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” (Genesis 38:24-26)
She gave birth to twins.
14) Significance of this story
The Lord replaced the two sons Judah lost and used the situation to teach him a lesson.
Tamar and both of her sons by Judah are named in the genealogy of the Messiah (Matthew 1:1-16).
“. . . and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron . . .” (Matthew 1:3)
15) Reading the story of Judah, his sons, and Tamar disturbs me.
In this story, God killed two of Judah’s sons because they were wicked, then replaced them through his own wickedness.
And encourages me.
The Lord can even redeem sinful actions and use it in His plan. He can even redeem MY sinful actions and use them in His plan.
God got Judah’s attention, he repented and humbled himself. He lost two sons and regained two sons.
Stories like this one prove to me that the Bible is not a fabrication. Who would include challenging stories like this if they were just trying to promote their God or their religion?
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1 EnduringWord.com used by written permission.
2 AWM Living Commentary used by written permission.
3 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations from *The ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
4 Strong’s Concordance, public domain.
5 *Spirit Filled Life Bible®copyright © 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. (The Holy Bible, New King James Bible) copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
6 “The Book of Genesis”* by Chuck Smith ©2012 The Word For Today. All rights reserved. [As of March 14,2021, the kindle version is free!)
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