Judah, being one of Jacob’s children, participated in a conspiracy to get rid of his half-brother Joseph by selling him into slavery in Egypt. Given the 20-year life expectancy of Egyptian slaves, being sold into slavery in Egypt was not salvation from death. It was death, postponed by much suffering. When Judah matured and himself became the father of three sons (two of whom died after marrying Tamar) he learned what it means to love someone too much. Despite the law of levirate marriage which obligated Judah to have his third son marry Tamar, year after year he refused. His love for his son trumped his sense of justice towards Tamar.

This continued until Tamar orchestrated one of the greatest redemptive breakthroughs in the history of the world – getting Judah himself to restore his dead son’s seed. Tamar disgraced herself, pretending to be a local prostitute. Her truly unconventional (but incredibly courageous) plan worked brilliantly. When Tamar was found to be pregnant and the truth about Judah’s relationship to the child was proven, Judah repented and declared Tamar innocent of any wrongdoing. Judah recognized his own sin and owned his guilt, rather than condemn Tamar. (Gen.38:1-27).

The book of Ruth celebrates Perez, the child of Tamar and Judah, as a crucial part of God’s redemptive plan and establishes him as the ancestor of King David (Ruth 4:11-17). Even more important, the Gospels include Perez among the forefathers of Jesus the Messiah and the Book of Revelation refers to Jesus as the Lion from the tribe of Judah! Perez, regardless of the circumstances of his birth, is an essential link in the chain that connects Jesus the Messiah and Judah, the son of Jacob.

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188 COMMENTS

  1. Saint. The church has for centuries portrayed many biblical characters as evil, weak, deceitful or worse. Part of this stems from the overt anti-Semitism of almost every church father; and a huge part from a total lack of understanding of Hebrew culture and traditions of the times. Tamar was claiming her right under law. Good example why the Bible needs to be reread from a Hebrew context. I know women can make men stupid; but what always boggled my mind was that Judah would leave the items that represented his authority as leader of his tribe with a temple prostitute.
    • I think so, especially if we look at other women that we have misinterpreted over the centuries as fallen or former fallen women (Mary Magdalene, Samaritan woman, just to name a few).

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    • Dan, the people of those times were honest and their word was their bond.
      And so Jephthah "did with her according to his vow that he had made"
      They lived according to the ancient way, the Way given to Adam by the word of God.
    • The " Church " had nothing to do with the Jewish Redemption Plan of Salvation .Jews Wrote the Word of G-d .The Word of G-d was given to Moshe .Y'Shua Himself is a Jew .All of His Talmidim and Emissaries were also Jews .Jews were called to preach the Word of G-d to the Jews and the Gentiles .In 313 CE/AD Constantine Started the first Roman Catholic Church ! Read .....

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    • The story brings out the cunning in women, the training of the serpent, who is cunning and slithery. But God is so wonderful, that even while we are yet sinners, through Christ comes redemption: even of those of a cunning spirit HE (bless His Name) can change and use as instruments of salvation by their testimony.
  2. I appreciate the insight. I have never heard that logic before and we often debate the people of the Genealogy of Jesus. That said, who is the Rahab of the geneology?
  3. I rely on you to assist me. An interesting view of genetics and heredity. Help me. What do you understand by “seed”? In OT times one had to keep records of one’s family tree to determine one’s ancestors. It is not doubtful that such records exist? Using the language of modern science have Israeli geneticists discovered genes that are solely that of Israelis? Given that so many peoples were physical descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov what is the minimum genetic codes one must have to be an Israeli?
    • Let me ask you a question ? Is Yeshua a Jew or a gentile ? Who wrote the Word of G-d ? Jews or gentiles ? When the Torah was given to Moshe on Mt .Sinai ,was it given to Jews or gentiles ? When Yeshua was born in Beit Lechem ( House of Bread ) in Israel ,is He a Jew or a gentile ? Noach had three sons ,Shem ,Ham and Yefet .From Shem came the Jewish people ,from Yefet the inlarged gentile race and from Ham came the Africans ,Egyptians .Yeshua descended from Shem .Read Gen .11

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  4. Tamar committed adultery and therefore, committed sin. However, Tamar clings on to her right to Mary Yehudas youngest son. Yehuda denies that Leverite Law. Tamar had to deceive and become like a harlot. Our God turned Sin into Blessing evil into goodness and brought forth our Saviour Y'Shua Hamoshiah. God used a gentle several times before reaching to our Messiah. Be Blessed
    • :-) I think that what is clear is that Torah in NO WAY condemns Tamar for ANY wrong-doing. No mention of it at all. She is the victim in the story (justice is withheld by one member of the family of Israel from another). Judah must change. This will happen later. This story is about Judah.
    • First of all Tamar was not Catholic ,but a Jew .Second ,she did not sin by wanting to preserve the seed of her dead husband through Y'hudah ,third ,she did not deceive him ,although she was veiled ,this was a divine act from G-d !
  5. Do you see the Three Gentile brides in David's ancestry as types of the Bride of Christ (the church? That is, Tamar, Rahab and Ruth The role Tamar plays brings Judah to an exhaustion point, where he does Teshuvah. Ultimately, his Teshuvah is highlighted as he becomes a willing substitute for Benjamin in the scene in Egypt with Joseph.
    • I try not to do the types if the Scripture does not. Although I do understand that some out of the scripture thinking like this may after all be legitimate.
    • Dwayne read Romans 11:11-32 .There is only one bride not three .When Yeshua returns He will set His feet on the Mt .of Olives and when He gathers His people they will be both Jews and Gentiles not church !!!

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  6. Have to chuckle about the title....since all saints are sinners. What Judah was doing was wrong. What Tamar did was wrong. You are right when you say that Tamar orchestrated the scenario that went down. It is important to make the point that God didn't cause the scenario to happen, or approve of it. It is recorded in God's Word because, despite the brokenness involved, God used the situation anyway! Perez wasn't less because of this in God's eyes...he was more because God chose to use him anyway. Also a great proof for the authenticity of the Bible!
    • Well... that depends if you are thinking protestantly (which you are, I think) :-). If we are thinking Biblically (well I am taking it back... Genesisly) :-), because all books do tell us all the same things all the time, we don't get the picture that Tamar was wrong at all. Genesis condemns Judah but not Tamar in any way at all. Only if we approach ancient Torah in Lutheran post-reformation way (and I am not at all against great truths discovered at the time of reformation) we will get the result - reading back into Torah what is not
    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Leviticus and The New Testament or Jewish Insights Into Scriptures I. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

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    • When a Jew or gentile does teshuvah and is filled with the Ruach HaKodesh and Aish the Holy Spirit and fire they are no longer sinners but Messianic Believers in Yeshua .The word saint comes from the Roman catholic church who persecuted Jews and drove them out of the Messianic Congregations .Please study Jewish history :-)

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  7. I think that your timeline is a little confused Judah as a teenager ran off and married a Cananite and had 2 kids but was still a typical irresponsible teenage dad, his maturity didn't come by becoming a dad - his maturity came with repentance from his sin which was forced on him by Tamar's desperation. The whole reason that Judah was judged worthy of becoming the greatest of the tribes was because he was willing to recognise that he himself was guilty and was willing to show the fruit of repentance ;o)
    • Not really (about the whole reason being worthy). Repentance in case with withholding justice from Tamar was the beginning, but the turning point was him being willing to offer himself up to Egyptian Lord instead of Benjamin (the brother of his mother's wife-competitor), therefore display REAL love for the family of Israel (that is being born in this book).

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  8. As I understand it people of the Jewish faith do not accept that the Messiah had come, in that Jesus did not fulfill the requirements of being the promised one and are still patiently awaiting him. Secondly, of what line did Jesus come, Solomon or Nathan as the king of Israel, ie Zedekiah sons etc were slaughtered before him and then blinded and taken into captivity.[refer Jeremiah 52 v 10 and 11.Thus cannot understand which line Jesus came.
    • Well that is it. Some people of the Jewish do while most don't. So this is what complicates this blanket statement.

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    • There have always been Messianic Jews but ,because of persecution by the Roman catholic church and other nations Jews were driven out of countries or forced to convert to the Roman catholic doctrines or were murdered .
    • As a believing Jew whose family so far don’t share my faith, my understanding is that the predictions concerning Messiah fall into two categories, around the first and second coming. Jesus has yet to fulfill the latter, but he will, and when he does they’ll see and believe.

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    • Actually, the genealogy of Jesus given by Gospel of Luke gives the blood-line from David through Nathan, David's third child by Bathsheba (1st one died before naming); the genealogy of Matthew gives the line of kings via Solomon. The link comes at Mattan who was of kingly line and bloodline.
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