Redemption often comes in forms we can’t begin fathom and only God can orchestrate. Such was the case for Judah, through the woman who bore him sons— Tamar.
Perez stirs and coos in the crook of my arm while Zerah slumbers on my chest having just nursed for the first time. My body still aches from giving birth to my twin boys just an hour earlier. Labor was long and hard; I never imagined it could be possible live through such pain. Now looking upon the angelic faces of my sons, there’s no question that it was worth every moment. Not just the pain of labor, but the pain of the last seven agonizing years.
As I lie here holding the blessings given by Judah’s God, Yahweh, I can’t help but reflect on the events that led to this moment.
The day Judah came to my home to collect me as wife for his eldest son was the day my torment began. I knew of Er; everyone did. He was the epitome of evil, and I was the unfortunate one chosen to be his bride. I begged my mother to reason with Father, to give me one more year at home. I was only fourteen. She reminded me women have but one purpose, creating an alliance between families through marriage and bearing sons. It’s what I was born to do. I was of no use to my family if I remained at home.
Er was every bit as horrible as I expected, and worse. He was unsatisfied that I was chosen as his bride, but still I was his to do with what he wanted….and he did. He was a man of dishonor and disrespect. He mocked his father and the God of Jacob. He was always angry and I was the object of which he released his aggression. Many times his anger towards me was due having been married a year and I’d still failed to conceive. Most wives were with child by their second month of marriage, but each month my womb remained empty and my husband more condemning.
God also found Er to be despicable. I watched before my very eyes, this God snuff the life out of my husband. However, bearing sons was still my only purpose and I would see to it that I would grow the house of Judah. But it was on my wedding night to Onan, that I learned how evil he was, also. Consumed by greed and covetousness to have Er’s portion as well as his own of their inheritance, he denied me an opportunity to conceive, spilling his seed on the ground. He did so again the next night, and by morning, the Lord had taken Onan too.
With his death came gossip and accusations of me being a witch; responsible for their deaths. Judah sent me back to my father’s house, promising to send for me when Shelah was old enough to marry, though he was two years older than me. I submitted to Judah’s prompting, resting in his promise to send for me.
Six years passed, and it was upon seeing Judah in passing at the marketplace, that I realized he never intended to give me to Shelah. It was still my duty to bear children for his house, and my right to do so. Canaanite customs were that if another son wasn’t given, then it was for the father to perform the duty to his son. I would bring honor to this family as the child-bearer. Even if I had to deceive Judah to do so.
So I donned the garb that was meant for my sister, who was a temple prostitute, and I waited for Judah. Veiling my face, he was enticed and slept with me; leaving me with his signet and staff to ensure payment later. I knew what I had done could cost my life, but I had no life left if I could not fulfill my purpose.
I conceived that day. And when word reached Judah that his widowed daughter-in-law was pregnant, he called for my execution. It was not my desire to bring shame upon him in exposing him as the father, but I knew my life would be spared once he saw his items of identification that my servant presented to him.
I didn’t know then, that not only would my life be spared, but his would be redeemed for a sin committed long ago. In that moment, Judah recognized God’s mercy on him and that He governed everything that led us both here.
I now have delivered him heirs to carry on the tribe of Judah. And somehow I know my purpose in bearing these sons, is far greater than I can comprehend.
Instead of condemnation for the unforgivable crime against his brother, Joseph, Yahweh not only restored Judah, but poured out a double portion on His prodigal. It is through the sons of Tamar that Jesus Christ would come. There is no life that CAN’T be redeemed.
*The story above is inspired by Francine River’s adaption of the account of Tamar, in her novella “Unveiled.”*
This week is split between Dinah and Tamar. Follow with us as we”Learn from Their Examples”.
- #askingforafriend – Andrea
- It’s a Revolution – Cassandra
- Like Sand Through and Hourglass – Cindy
- Oh, What a Web We Weave – Tonya
- Driven By It – Beth
Heather Whidden loves Jesus, is married to her best friend and is mother of 3 blessings. She is a professional photographer and has a heart for ministry. She loves spending time with her family and friends, writing, reading, and traveling. Time and people is what she values most. You can read more about her here.