She sat at the entrance to Enaim. She covered her face with a veil as was the custom of a cult prostitute. She wrapped her body to disguise herself. She knew her father-in-law would have to pass by her on his way to Timnah. The past flooded her mind as she sat and waited. He had taken her into his home to become the wife of his eldest son. A son, so evil, that the Lord had taken his life. She could hardly forget that day. Then, his second son had failed to perform the duties of a brother-in-law. Thoughts of disgust passed through her mind when she recalled that time. His actions had cost him his life. Dark memories overcame her as she fought to focus on the present.
But focus on the present she must. She hoped that her father-in-law would stop and come in to her. She hoped beyond hope that she would conceive a son. He had promised when he had sent her back to her father’s house that his youngest son would perform the duties of a brother-in-law when he was grown. He had sent her back as a widow but it was he who should have taken responsibility for her until that day as she was part of his household. Now the youngest son was grown; but still she waited. She was told he would be passing by and this was the time she needed to act. Nothing else really mattered besides conceiving a son to continue the lineage of her husband’s family and to receive the provision that was hers. Isn’t that what she was living for and waiting for?
Judah did stop that day and Tamar did conceive – not just one son but two. When word came to Judah that his daughter-in-law was with child, he demanded she be burned because of her immorality. That was his response until she returned to him the belongings of the one who had fathered her child. Then all he could say was “she is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” Tamar’s actions may have been more “righteous” than Judah’s but they certainly were far from righteous as she took matters into her own hands to bring about what was right in a wrong way. And Judah’s actions …. What a dark time in the history of this family. Lying, deception, fornication, prostitution, hypocrisy. Do you feel heavy as you read this account in the life of Judah and Tamar? I certainly do. After all, their story could be ours. It is, isn’t it? “As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10).
This is not the last we hear of Judah and Tamar. Their names are linked together for eternity and from such a dark time came Light – for them, for us. Read these words from Matthew:
Hezron was the father of Ram
What will you remember when you think about Tamar? Will it be what she did? Will it be that she was recorded amongst the ancestors of Christ? Will it be both? More importantly, will you join me in remembering what HE did?