Women in the Bible: Tamar

Tamar’s a victim who takes extreme action to vindicate herself. She’s the daughter-in-law of Judah, suffers at his hand, responds with guile, has twins with him, and is one of four women mentioned in Jesus’ family tree. Talk about a messed-up situation. Here’s her story:

Tamar marries Judah’s oldest son. He’s evil and dies. She’s passed on to his brother to produce offspring in his stead. The brother doesn’t cooperate, and God kills him. Judah promises Tamar his third son when he’s old enough and sends her back to live with her parents to wait. He has no intention of following through. He lies to her.

Once she realizes this, she dresses like a hooker, and waits where she knows Judah will be. Not knowing who she is, he sleeps with her, and she gets pregnant. He uses her.

When Judah finds out his daughter-in-law is pregnant, he condemns her to die.

Then she reveals who the father is. Judah confesses his role, and he professes Tamar as righteous. They, along with their son Perez, are part of Jesus’ genealogy.

Tamar’s drastic steps ensure she will have a family and be cared for; God ensures she has a legacy.

The story of Tamar is in Genesis 38 and concludes in Matthew 1:3. She’s also celebrated when the elders bless Ruth in Ruth 4:12.

[There is another Tamar, sister of Absalom, written about in 2 Samuel 13.]

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