Judah and Tamar      (BC 1727)


We first read about Tamar in Gen. 38.  Judah had left his brothers and was living in Adullam, a town south west of Jerusalem.  Whilst there he sees a Canaanite woman whom he marries, (this was against the Almighty's command, as it is certain they had been infiltrated by the Nephilim, see warning in Gen. 24:13).  She had 3 sons by Judah; Er, Onan and Shelah.  

In verse 6 Judah finds a wife for Er, her name was Tamar.  We are not told the ancestry of Tamar, however, Lev. 21:9 shows she was a priest’s daughter, and therefore of pure seed line from Noah!  We can be sure she was in the Almighty's plan to preserve the Adamic seed.  

Er was wicked in the sight of Jehovah and he is put to death before he could produce children, which would have been Nephilim sullied!  However, God’s action stopped Nephilim sullied children!  Judah then told Onan to lie with his brother's wife and fulfill the duties of a brother in-law to produce offspring for his brother, which complied with Jewish custom and Law even though Judah should have been aware of the error he was making; but his heart and mind at that stage were not directed towards Jehovah’s pure Word and knowledge; Deut. 25:5-6.   

This was called a 'Levirate marriage or Kinsman Redeemer Law'.  (The Encyclopaedia  Britannica Volume 6 page 179 records, that this Law decreed a dead man's brother to be the preferred new marriage partner, in preference to someone not related.  In ancient Hebrew society the Levirate principle served to perpetuate the paternal line of a man who died without sons.  In such a marriage, the rights and duties of the first husband continued so that his paternal line could be perpetuated.  Levirate = Latin Levir -'husband's brother').   

Another illustration of this Law can be found in Ruth 4:5.  (This was a legal obligation in Israel, and is still in practise in Eastern Law).  [Deut. 25:5 & 6, here the reason for this Law can be seen in that a dead husband's name should not be blotted out of Israel], but in this case would have produced children sullied by Nephilim!   

Onan proved to be wicked in the sight of Jehovah also, because he would not fulfil the Levirate Law, saying that the offspring would not be his, therefore he spilled his seed, at the critical moment of sexual intercourse.  However his action stopped Nephilim sullied children.  Onan’s actions here meant he had broken the Levitical Law, and gave legitimate opportunity for elimination by Jehovah (this to be understood in the context of great conflict, and its rules between God and Satan)!  He too was put to death by the Almighty, (see: Satan's Origins; & Satan's Motivation:   

(Some religious groupings, including Roman Catholics, have used this incident to promote natural contraception as the only method of birth control that should be used, this is totally inaccurate, as it is clear from the writing that the sin was the disobedience to the Levitical Law, but more importantly, it stopped Nephilim sullied offspring; which would have defeated the purpose of the prophecy of Gen. 3:15; and Christ Jesus Messiah)!  

Verse 38:10 can be better understood when these facts are absorbed!  

Judah informed Tamar that when his third son Shelah was grown up, she would be given to him in marriage, which did not happen.  

Verse 14 however records that a long time had passed and Tamar had not been given to Shelah as wife to raise up offspring.  Tamar therefore decided to disguise herself and seek to trick Judah into sleeping with her.  (It is interesting to note that Tamar did not try to sleep with Shelah, but instead Judah; here we see the hand of Jehovah, as Shelah’s children would have been contaminated with the Canaanite gene-pool, and therefore not suitable for the pure genetic line of which the Messiah was to come, see Gen. 3:15).  

When Judah sees Tamar, thinking she is a prostitute, (showing something of Judah's state of mind at that time although his wife had died, but he had not at that stage seen and acknowledged in himself his sin and error), he slept with her, but not until she had demanded of him to give her his signet ring, bracelet and staff; which were tribal emblems; and undisputed proof of identity; as he had proved himself unreliable in his word to her previously!  

After three months, verse 24 records that Tamar is found to be pregnant and Judah hearing this says she is to be put to death, (Lev. 21:9), showing how dangerous Tamar's actions were to her.  This reference in Lev. 21:9, shows that Tamar was the daughter of a priest; which means she was of the pure line of the Adamic seed from Noah as all lineage was, passed down to offspring, especially in important families!  This clears any doubt as to her origins!  She then sent a message to Judah saying that she is pregnant by the man who owns the signet ring, bracelet and staff.  Judah recognises that they are his, and immediately acknowledges his guilt and states that Tamar is more righteous than he (He at that stage would have begun to realise that she was fulfilling the Levirate Law which he should have done, he acknowledges his sin, and therefore shows his true turned heart, which would then fit God’s plan, out of which Judah was chosen to be in the line of the Messiah).  

When Tamar gives birth she has twin boys, one puts out his hand during the birth, and the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist, to denote the first born; however he drew back his hand and his brother was born first, he was called Perez, he became an ancestor of David (Ruth 4:18-22) and ultimately of Christ (Matt. 1:1-6).  Tamar's other son is called Zarah.  Tamar, Pharez and Zarah are all mentioned in Matt.1:3 in the genealogy of Christ.                               


Summary:  The character of Tamar is interesting to try to determine, as the reasons for her actions to deceive Judah to sleep with her are seen in context to be maneuvered by Almighty God, to ensure pure Adamic seed through to Mary, Jesus’ mother!  She was used of the Almighty to further the line of the Messiah, this was something that Judah was neglecting to do.  By her actions she helped to bring Judah back into good standing before the Almighty, and although he had sinned by taking a Canaanite wife, the outcome was blessed, as Tamar, and her two sons are positioned in the genealogy of Christ.  Therefore one can assume that she was a woman of right heart, (her name means “upright”), blessed by the Almighty and used by Him for His purposes, when the man Judah had not honoured Him, in his actions and neglect!  Tamar’s actions (and faith and boldness) also corrected Judah’s heart towards his God; and as said blessing to him; and Israel eventually in Messiah Christ Jesus at His Second Advent; yet to be!  




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