One Last Chance: Er and Onan

Tamar lost both husbands because of their disobedience to God

Tamar lost both husbands because of their disobedience to God

Er and Onan were the sons of Judah.  In case we need a refresher course, Judah was the son of Jacob and Leah.  He was one of Joseph’s brothers.  Jesus ancestry was through the line of Judah, who was also an ancestor of King David.

Er was the oldest son of Judah and his wife.  He married Tamar, but he kept her from conceiving.  Genesis 38:7 says, “Er…was wicked in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord put him to death.”  However, we’re not told the specifics of what Er did that was so wicked.

After Er died, Onan made her his wife.  However, according to the custom of the times, if they had a child together the child would be considered Er’s son, instead of Onan’s son.  Onan did not like this and Genesis 38:9 says, “he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother.”  The Lord considered Onan wicked also and put him to death.

Tamar had now been widowed twice.  To summarize her story, she approached the now widower, Judah and became “with child.”  Judah wanted to have her burned to death until she used his seal, chord and staff to prove that he was the father of her child.  She gave birth to twin sons, Perez and Zerah.  Perez was an ancestor of King David.

So what can we learn from the lives of Er and Onan?

Tamar later had two sons with Judah and became one of the women listed in the genealogy of Jesus

Tamar later had two sons with Judah and became one of the women listed in the genealogy of Jesus

  1. When we do evil in the Lord’s sight there are consequences
  2. God repeats lessons until we learn them
  3. God will dispense punishment
  4. Death can be a consequence of our sins
  5. We are told to honor our mother and father—Onan only partially honored his father in marrying Tamar, but he disobeyed in refusing to give her a child
  6. God can use the most unusual and unexpected circumstances to fulfill His destiny {Tamar did have her sons, but in a most unconventional manner}

 

For others in the One Last Chance Series:

Adam and Eve, Cain, Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s Wife

For the Second Chances series:

Old Testament: JonahJob,  SamsonRahabDavid and BathshebaMosesJoseph, and  Jacob

New Testament: Zacchaeus, Woman Caught in Adultery, The Prodigal Son, The Thief on the Cross, Saul to Paul, John Mark, and Peter