Genealogy of Jesus: Tamar, the neglected

Tamar1_hp1Judah, the son of Jacob, married and had three sons.  When his oldest son came of age, Judah found a wife for him.  Her name was Tamar.  Her husband, Er, was wicked and the Lord put him to death.  Then Onan married her, but he was also wicked and put to death.  Tamar was sent back to her father’s household.  However, she was not married to the third son when he grew up.

Tamar was neglected by both of her husband’s and her father-in-law when he refused to wed her to his third son.  So she decided to take matters into her own hands.

Upon learning that Judah was in town, she changed clothes, covered her faces and approached him.  Before parting, she took his seal, chord and staff.  Judah learned of her pregnancy and called for her to be burned to death.  She produced the seal, chord and staff and Judah realized the error of his ways.

Tamar lost both husbands because of their disobedience to God

Tamar lost both husbands because of their disobedience to God

  1. Tamar knew heartache—we are told that both Er and Onan were wicked in the Lord’s sight. We know they refused to give Tamar a child.  What other pain might they have been caused?  God put both of them to death for their actions.
  2. She took chances—Tamar knew she was risking a lot when she approached Judah and slept with him. She knew that if she were to ever become a mother she had to be cunning and take chances.
  3. She protected herself—she knew that if she were to become pregnant, she could not hide it from everyone. She was wise and bought an insurance policy ahead of time by taking his seal, chord and staff.
  4. She had a choice—Tamar was not given a choice in the actions of her husbands, but she had a choice to approach Judah. Can you feel her desperation?  Two husbands are dead, she’s not given to the third son and she’s unable to marry someone else.  She even tells Judah that if he were to marry again {his wife had died} and have more children she would be too old to wait for the child to grow up and marry her.  Clearly she wanted to be a mother.  After all, that was what the women were supposed to do.
  5. She was righteous—when Judah realizes what she has done he does not chastise her but says “She is more righteous than I,since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.”  Clearly God blessed her faith in having a child and blessed her with twins.  One of these twins, Perez, would become the ancestor {3rd great-grandfather} of Salmon, husband of Rahab.


When have you had a choice or taken chances?




  • Laurel

    Stumbled upon this article and warned to add a couple of key details. According to Gods Law, Tamar had become a widow which according to Torah, became the obligation of the brothers in line to take her as wife. If we go back a little ways in scripture, we learn of Judah taking a heathen wife who bares sons (Tamars husbands). If Tamar were to have children with either sons, Judahs bloodline would’ve been tainted, however God intervenes and Tamar bares twins from Judah himself, keeping the bloodline pure. Never really thought too much about this small portion of scripture until recently, and learning these details had tremendous effect on my view of how God works in our lives.
    Yes Tamar was a brave woman, but Gods hand is ALL over this small story, making a huge impact on the rest of history.
    God bless

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.