1 It came to pass at that time that Judah departed from his brothers, and visited a certain Adullamite whose name was Hirah. 2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua, and he married her and went in to her. 3 So she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name Er. 4 She conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name Onan. 5 And she conceived yet again and bore a son, and called his name Shelah. He was at Chezib when she bore him.
6 Then Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord killed him. 8 And Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore He killed him also.
11 Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house till my son Shelah is grown.” For he said, “Lest he also die like his brothers.” And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.Genesis 38:1-11, NKJV
Judah and Tamar
Life in the Bible times of Judah and Tamar were difficult times for a woman. A woman rarely lived alone or had any way to provide for herself.
We know very little about Tamar. We are told that Judah took Tamar to be a wife for his oldest son, Er. Note that Tamar had nothing to say about this transaction which was probably made between Judah and Tamar's father. Yes, I know. It is not very romantic, is it? However, we will find that Tamar's name appears in the genealogy of Christ, so the story becomes much more compelling.
Er, we are told, was very wicked in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord killed him. When a woman became a widow without children, she was given in marriage to the next son so that this son might raise up a son in his brother's name. The next son, Onan, refused to give an heir to his brother, so "he emitted on the ground." This so displeased the Lord that He slew Onan also.
Judah, Tamar's father-in-law told her to remain a widow in her father's house until Judah's youngest son, Shelah, was grown. Note what Judah said in verse 11: "Lest he also die like his brothers."
What does that mean? Judah had no intention of giving his youngest son to Tamar. He believed the death of his first two sons was her fault. He feared that if he gave Tamar to his youngest son, Shelah, that his youngest son would die as well.
What lesson do we have to learn from the story of Judah and Tamar as given in Genesis 38:1-11?
The most important lesson of all for us to understand is that no matter how we may try to deceive others or to hide our sins, God sees everything. It really does not matter what others may think of us--the only thing that matters is what God thinks of us.
While none of us are perfect, we must know that every sin, no matter how small, is enough of a sin to keep us from a perfect and holy God. However, due to His great love for us, God has provided his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the perfect, righteous, and holy sacrifice for our sins. If we turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, cry out to Him for forgiveness, and turn to Him as the only Guide and Lord of our lives, He gives us admittance into the very throne room of God. When God looks upon us, He sees the righteousness and holiness of His own dear Son.
Er and Onan, however, refused to live and serve God. They each chose to go their own way and died because of their foolish choice.
Let us, then, go back to Tamar. Judah, her father-in-law, blamed her for the deaths of his sons. In disgrace she was sent back to her father's house to live as a widow. She was trapped in circumstances over which she had no control.
Do we find ourselves trapped in our circumstances? Is there no hope for us? Let us remember that our steps are ordered by the Lord. If our circumstances seem to trap and stifle us, we need only to turn to the Lord God. To His own dear children, He is available 24/7. No circumstances are too difficult for Him.
Is this what Tamar did? Well, that is a story for our next devotion. Tamar's actions were actually very unwise, and yet God used her foolish choices to bless her and include her in the line of Christ.
Let us, as we consider this story of Judah and Tamar, look to Christ for all of our needs, He is the only Savior and in Him are we truly blessed forever.
God Bless You,