Back in 1999, I wrote a novella, Unveiled, about Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah from whose family line the promised Messiah would come. This young woman was abused by her first husband (whom God struck down), given in levirate marriage to his brother who used her for sex while denying her the chance to conceive (God struck him down as well) and then sent home by her father-in-law with promises for a future and a hope. She waited patiently until she realized Judah has no intention of doing what’s right. (Afterall, this is the same man who sold his brother Joseph to Ishmaelite traders.) So, Tamar followed the law of time and finds a way to receive what is rightfully hers through her father-in-law. He ordered her burned alive until she secretly revealed the truth to him, and God blessed her (and Judah) with twin sons. Perez, the second born, is in the lineage of Jesus Christ.
Western commentators have often written Tamar off as an immoral woman, but even Judah called her righteous. And it is very interesting to see the man he becomes after Tamar sent the evidence of whose child she carried and leaves her life in his less-than-trustworthy hands. He is transformed! Her name was also used as a blessing over Ruth, a Moabitess, who also entered a levirate marriage with Boaz whose mother was a Canaanite prostitute.
The lineage of Jesus Christ is full of fascinating people in sometimes appalling circumstances – perhaps another way to show us that Jesus came to save all kinds of people – in truth, all people who open their hearts to Him.
When I heard Shadia Hrichi had finished a manuscript on Tamar: Rediscovering the God Who Redeems Me, I asked to read it. I’ve worked through two of Shadia’s other studies — Hagar and Legion – and both were outstanding! I love the way she digs into the Scriptures and bring in the middle eastern culture of the time. She sees similarities and has insights that connect historical events in the Bible that were surprising, not to mention word and location studies. Shadia isn’t afraid to be transparent about her own life struggles. All to say, I spent three months fascinated by Tamar and highly recommend the study.
Here’s the link: https://www.shadiahrichi.com/product/tamar-bible-study/
Gather friends for Bible study and enjoy!