Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Tamar and Judah

All Tamar wanted was to have a son. She was willing to do whatever it took to make that happen, even risking death. She knew when she deceived Judah that she faced being put to death when she was found to be with child. That’s why she took Judah’s signet ring, cord, and staff. They were her insurance policy.

Sure enough, when word reached Judah that Tamah was pregnant, he called for her to be brought out and burned to death. But she brought out Judah’s things, sending them to him saying, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” (Genesis 38:25 ESV)

Judah recognized his ring, cord, and staff, and acknowledged that Tamar was in fact more righteous than he’d been.

Tamar went on to give birth to twin boys. When she was giving birth, one put out his hand, and the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it to his hand, saying, “This one came out first,” (v. 28) But then he withdrew his hand and his brother came out first, surprising everyone. They named the first son Perez, which means “breach”. The son with the scarlet thread they named Zerah, which means “rising”.

Did Tamar know about the promised Messiah? Did she realize that the Messiah would come through the line of Judah? Was she working to make sure that the line continued? Or was she merely a woman wanting to be a mother?

Regardless of her motivation, God used Tamar to get the attention of Judah, and in his mercy, allowed Tamar, a Canannite woman, to hold a coveted spot in the lineage of Jesus.

God can take the messiest of lives and use them for His glory. Won’t you today allow God to use you in a mighty way? .

Tamar in Scripture: Genesis 38

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Tamar and Judah

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