Why did Judah bless Tamar?

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Why did Judah bless Tamar?

Post  sophie on Mon 28 Jan 2008, 1:15 pm

Then Judah identified them and said, "She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah." And he did not know her again. [Genesis 38:26]

Why did Judah bless Tamar after committing adultery with her? Wasn't Tamar his daughter-in-law? What strange law is this?

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Re: Why did Judah bless Tamar?

Post  sunshine307 on Mon 28 Jan 2008, 11:12 pm

He blessed her because she was to become mother of great people. I hope this is the answer.

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Re: Why did Judah bless Tamar?

Post  thirsty on Mon 28 Jan 2008, 11:31 pm

Matt. 1:2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
Matt. 1:3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
Luke 3:33 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda,

Abraham knew of the prohibition against corrupting the bloodline.

Gen. 24:1 And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.
Gen. 24:2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:

Isaac and Jacob knew of the prohibition against intermarriage.

Gen. 28:1 And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.
Gen. 28:2 Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother.
Gen. 28:3 And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;
Gen. 28:4 And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.
Gen. 28:5 And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padanaram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.
Gen. 28:6 When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;
Gen. 28:7 And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram;

Esau lost the right to be a patriarchal ancestor of Messiah because of his adultery!
The last two verses of Genesis 26 reveal Esau's sin, and the next chapter, Genesis 27, records how Jacob at the behest of his mother took the birthright blessing from Esau because he had polluted his bloodline. Go and read what happened in Genesis 27.

It seems that Rebecca was determined that the Messiah would come with a pure semitic pedigree (descended from Shem) because she initiated the action to make sure that Jacob received the birthright. It is possible from the story line that Isaac was old, and blind, and feeble, and perhaps unable to resolve the problem. In other words, Rebecca may have been forced to take the initiative and do what she did.

Yes, Esau was irresponsible for marrying a Canaanite and a Hittite, and so it would be from his fraternal twin brother Jacob, who was renamed Israel by God, that the Messiah would come. You can see from the verses quoted above from Genesis 28 that Jacob was required by Isaac (and Rebecca) to keep his bloodline pure. How does Judah play into all this? As it turns out, Messiah was to come through him also. Did he know this? Maybe, maybe not. In any case, he blew it.

Judah makes the same serious mistake that his uncle Esau did.

Gen. 38:1 And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.
Gen. 38:2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
Gen. 38:3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.
Gen. 38:4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.
Gen. 38:5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.
Judah 8:1 I had many cattle; I had Hiram the Adullamite as chief herdsman.
Judah 8:2 When I approached him, I saw Barsaba, the king of Adullam. He conversed with us and held a drinking party for us. When I urged him, he gave me his daughter, Saba, as a wife.
Judah 8:3 She bore me Er, Onan, and Shelom. The Lord took away two of them, but Shelom lived.
Judah's wife is called Saba in Judah, Bedsuel in Jubilees, and the daughter of Shuah in the KJV.
Judah 11:1 And I knew that the race of the Canaanites was evil, but youthful impulses blinded my reason,
Judah 11:2 and when I saw her, I was led astray by the strong drink and had intercourse with her.
Judah was under the influence of alcohol, his hormones, and possibly some other things when he decided to take Saba as wife. She was a Canaanite and Judah was aware that he should not marry her. She was probably beautiful and sexy and he was strongly attracted to her. In any case, he set himself up for future grief and tragedy.

Tamar enters the picture.

Gen. 38:6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.
Judah 10:1 After this my son Er brought from Mesopotamia, Tamar, daughter of Aram, as a wife for himself.

Jubilees 41:1 And in the forty-fifth jubilee, in the second week, in the second year, Judah took a wife for Er, his firstborn, from the daughters of Aram, and her name was Tamar.

Judah had married a Canaanite and regreted it. He didn't want his sons to do the same so he chose a wife for Er from the land, and people of his heritage. Tamar was from the area of Aram or Mesopotamia. The area from which Isaac and Jacob took their wives. See Gen. 24:4 and 28:7 above. She was of the same basic stock of Shem (she had a semitic pedigree) from which Abraham sprang and obviously was acceptable to God as an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

There was still a problem though because Er was half Canaanite and Judah wanted him to produce grandchildren by Tamar. Judah loved his children regardless of their origin and maybe he was trying to make the best the situation, but offspring of his Canaanite sons would not be acceptable to God to continue his bloodline from which the Messiah was to come. Judah may have thought that it was okay to continue with Er as long as his wife was semitic (descended from Shem).

Gen. 38:7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.

Additionally, it is clear from the above verses that Er's mother, Saba, did not like Tamar and turned her sons against having children by her because she was not of Canaan.

Er was now dead but Judah still didn't understand what he was trying to do was wrong. In any case, if something didn't happen to change the situation, Judah would have no suitable offspring to carry on his lineage. It almost seems that Judah was somehow mentally disconnected from the idea of keeping his bloodline purely semitic (descended from Shem). Perhaps he thought that he was the only one that mattered, and that who, or what, his wife happened to be was not critical.

Gen. 38:8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

This was a common custom in those days and was later included by God in His law that he gave to Moses. See Deuteronomy 25:5 But even so, Judah was not thinking straight and he committed another serious faux pas.

Gen. 38:9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

What an interesting verse! Onan knew that the seed should not be his and he took positive action. There could be one or more reasons why he did.
1) He was honoring a request of his mother not to have children by Tamar.
2) He didn't want to have children for his brother.
3) He may have realized it was against God's will for him to have children by Tamar.
4) Maybe he knew that the Messiah could not come through him because he was half Canaanite.
5) He did not want to die like his brother Er.
6) Any or all of the above.

Consider items 3 and 4 above very carefully. Remember that Israel (Jacob) was his grandfather and Leah was his grandmother. They were a clan with Israel as the patriarch and Leah as the prime matriarch. Surely Onan received instructions in righteousness from his elders, especially from a loving grandfather and grandmother. Perhaps he knew that the seed, or Messiah, could not come through him. In any case, what Onan did in this situation has been totally misunderstood. The birth control practice called onanism has two meanings. Look it up for yourself, you can find it in any good dictionary.

According to Judah he never had intercourse with Tamar even though he was with her for a year.

Judah 10:4 In the days designated for the bridal chamber, I assigned Onan to fulfill the marital role with her.

Again, we don't really know what their marital customs were like in those days. Just like with Er, it is also possible that Onan did not couple with Tamar, but for a different reason.

Gen. 38:10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.

This verse 10 has also been grossly misunderstood and mistaught.

He who? The first he is Judah, not Onan! Onan did nothing wrong. The second he is the LORD, and the him is Onan. God didn't take Onan for bad sexual conduct. He took him for the same reason he took Er, Judah was trying to produce unacceptable heirs through him.

If Onan was with Tamar for a year as has been stated, then God was very patient with Judah with respect to the life of his second son. Finally the situation reached critical mass and resulted in the removal of Onan also. Under continued pressure from Judah, Onan may have decided to comply with his father's wishes to couple with Tamar, so God prevented it from ever happening in the most effective way. Why Tamar was so important to God in this case is not clear, but it seems that she was. Regardless, that doesn't change the fact that Judah was the problem. He had not produced a suitable heir for the line to continue.

Gen 38:11 Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.

Judah is finally awakening to the fact that there just might be a problem, after two of his sons are dead. Sadly, most of us also require a good bang on the ear before we repent.

Judah's Canaanite wife dies.

Gen. 38:12 And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.

But before she died she had Shelom marry a Canaanite wife which apparently enraged Judah.

Judah ll:3 While I was absent, she went off and brought from Canaan a wife for Shelom.
Judah 11:4 When I realized what she had done, I pronounced a curse on her in the anguish of my soul,
Judah 11:5 and she died in her wickedness, together with her children.

If Judah actually voiced these words in his testament, then how he must have grown to despise her. He also was embittered concerning his children through her.

Jubilees 41:7 And he (Shelom) grew up, but Bedsuel, Judah's wife, did not permit Selah (Shelom), her son, to marry (Tamar). And Bedsuel, Judah's wife, died in the fifth year of that week.

Take another look at Gen. 38:12. What does it mean, and Judah was comforted? Does it mean that he received comforting condolences and support from others, or is it possible that Judah came to dislike his Canaanite wife so much that he may have drawn comfort from her death? Judah may never have married again after his unfortunate experience with this Canaanite woman. As a matter of fact, to my knowledge, he never married again. How then would our Lord spring from Judah? What a sad state of affairs. And you thought that you had problems!

It is very possible that Shelom, Judah's third and only remaining son, married and went on to have grandchildren for him, but they wouldn't have been acceptable as ancestors of Christ. What happened to Shelom after this is not recorded in the Bible.

In spite of all these things, rule breaking and wrongheadedness, our Lord would spring forth from the line of Judah and Tamar through Pharez over fifteen hundred years later.

Judah went with his father Israel and the rest of his family into Egypt because of the famine as recorded in the story of Joseph in Genesis, and that he then spent the next seventy years in Egypt until his death.

What happened to Tamar after this? I'm certain that she went with Judah and Israel into Egypt because it was said of Judah that he went near her no more, which implies she was in close proximity to him. Furthermore, their son Pharez had to remain with the children of Israel because he was a link in the lineage of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

You can bet that Judah's brother Joseph, who was very powerful in Egypt then, ensured that they were all treated very well as long as he was alive. Our Father was always with them in Egypt also

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Re: Why did Judah bless Tamar?

Post  LivinginChrist on Mon 28 Jan 2008, 11:37 pm

The Law of Moses states that male and female adulterers are to be put to death (Deuteronomy 23:22). If a betrothed woman was attacked in the town, she was held responsible because she did not call for help (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). If the offence occurred in the open country, the woman was not to be punished; it was accepted that there was no one to hear her cries.

If this seems arbitrary, the punishment for a man who raped a virgin is even more questionable. He was to pay a substantial fine, and was required to marry the woman, without any right to for him to divorce her (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).

Tamar was the daughter-in law of Judah, one of the sons of Israel. She was married to Er, the eldest of Judah’s three sons (Genesis Ch 38:6) but Er offended Yahweh, and Yahweh killed him. (Genesis 38:7) It was then the duty of Onan, the next brother, to beget children by Tamar in Er’s name.

But Onan, knowing that the line would not count as his, spilt his seed on the ground every time he slept with his brother’s wife, to avoid providing offspring for his brother. What he did was offensive to Yahweh, who killed him too. (Genesis 38:9-10, New Jerusalem Bible)

Judah sent Tamar home. He said it was to wait until his youngest son grew up, but actually it was to keep her away from the boy. Time passed. Judah’s own wife died and after the mourning period he had business near where Tamar lived. When she found this out she disguised herself as a prostitute and waited on the road. Judah saw her, offered to pay her a kid from the flock to have sex with her and gave her his seal, cord and staff as a surety. However, when Judah later sent a friend to pay the woman he couldn’t find her and no one knew of a prostitute who plied her trade in those parts.

Let her keep the things,’ Judah said, ‘or we shall become a laughing-stock. At least I sent her this kid, even though you did not find her.’ (Gen 38:23 NJB)

About three months later, Tamar’s pregnancy was revealed:
‘Your daughter-in-law, Tamar has played the harlot; moreover, she is pregnant as a result of whoredom. ‘ And Judah said, ‘Bring her out, and let her be burnt.’ As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, ‘It was the owner of these who made me pregnant. And she said, ‘Take note, please, whose these are, the signet, the cord and the staff.’ (Genesis 38:25, New Revised Standard Version).

Tamar had put her life in Judah’s hand. It was a huge risk. Judah and his brothers had slaughtered all the men of Shechem and enslaved all the women and children because one townsman had ravished their sister (Genesis ch. 34). They sold their brother Joseph into slavery (Genesis 37: 26-27 and would have killed him, if Judah had not suggested enslavement instead. How would such a man react to this revelation?

Again, Judah preserved life. He said:
She is more right than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah. (Genesis 38:26 NRSV)
Judah saved both Tamar’s life and the life that she was carrying. He accepted responsibility for the pregnancy and did not blame Tamar. Indeed, he acknowledged that she was more in the right than he was because he had failed to do his duty under the law of inheritance. As for the requirement to burn her to death, it fell away completely.

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Re: Why did Judah bless Tamar?

Post  ChristianLady on Mon 28 Jan 2008, 11:43 pm

I do not know the answer so I searched the Internet and found a quite logical article
Because of the fall of our human ancestors, we inherited Satan's lineage. If Adam and Eve had not fallen, we would have been God's children without sin. But because of the fall of Adam and Eve we have been the children of Satan.

Originally mankind should have been under the dominion of God; God alone would have had dominion. But because of the illicit relationship between Adam and Eve and Satan, Satan took dominion over this world. Satan had the right to claim this fallen world.

After the failure of Adam's family, God continued the providence for restoration centered on Abraham's family. Of Abraham's two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, the second son, Isaac, represented God's side. Centered on Isaac the history of separation began. just as Eve deceived her husband and God, Isaac's wife, Rebecca, deceived her husband Isaac and her first son Esau, and took the side of Jacob, the second son. This historical story of Rebecca deceiving her husband and son to help Jacob is an enigma in Christian history which has never been explained.

Why did Rebecca do this? It was to reclaim God's offspring from Satan. Rebecca was chosen and placed in the position to lay the foundation for God's offspring to dissolve God's resentment. She understood her position very well. She knew that her position was to help Jacob and have him naturally subjugate Satan in order to restore the birthright.

One day Esau came back from hunting and was very hungry. Jacob bought Esau's birthright with a bowl of porridge. Actually the birthright should be unchangeable. It is the position in which to receive God's eternal tradition, and is passed on to one's descendants. Yet Esau sold this birthright to his younger brother for a bowl of porridge. Jacob, unlike his elder brother, knew the precious value of the birthright. He knew the value of Abraham's lineage, which had been given God's blessing and love. He inherited the birthright from his older brother at the risk of his life. How did he do this? As you know, he bought the birthright from his brother for a bowl of porridge. In doing so he claimed, "Now I'm your elder brother."

God could not force Jacob to receive his inheritance. This foundation had to be laid by Jacob himself

When Esau tried to kill him, Jacob left his home and fled to the land of Haran, where he stayed with his Uncle Laban for 21 years and endured the hard life of a servant. Jacob went through this 21-year course of suffering to lay the foundation for the tribal blessing. Through all his difficulties Jacob maintained an unchanging determination to fulfill God's will. Finally he acquired Leah and Rachel and a certain amount of wealth, and returned to his homeland.

He strove to lay the foundation and prepare himself to subjugate his brother naturally upon his return.

On the return home, Jacob offered everything to his brother. "I don't need wives or property; I only need your welcome and formal recognition that you gave me your birthright and blessing." That was Jacob's prayer and position.

In this way Jacob offered all that he had, and Esau welcomed him. So, centering on Jacob, Esau could receive the blessing of God and they could enter the realm of the chosen people of Israel.

Because of this victory God's providential history could continue through the generations, and God could maintain His hope and look forward to the day of liberation, when His resentment would be dissolved.

History of restoration of birth in the womb
Jacob's son Judah had three sons, Er, Onan and Shelah. The first son Er married Tamar, but he died early. Then Tamar lived with the second son Onan, but he also died. God's providence was in crisis, as this could have been the end of Judah's lineage, which was to inherit the blessing from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So Tamar disguised herself and went to the street and seduced Judah, and became pregnant. She did this because she wished to continue the inheritance of God's blessing from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Tamar risked her life in order to pass on this inheritance to Judah's lineage.

Tamar became pregnant with twins. When she was about to give birth, the hand of one child came out first. The midwife said, "This one came out first, so he must be the elder brother," and she tied a red string around his wrist. Then he drew back into the womb, and the other child was born first. He was named Perez, which means "breaking out." Afterwards the child with the red string on his wrist was born, and was named Zerah.

Why did God push aside the first son, Zerah, and have Perez born first? When Rebecca was pregnant, she had asked God why the two children were fighting in her womb. God told her that two nations were struggling in her womb, and that the elder one would serve the younger one. Why?

Likewise, two brothers struggled in Tamar's womb. When Tamar asked God why, He told her the same thing He had told Rebecca, that two nations were struggling in her womb, and that the elder one would serve the younger one.

We can see that in this providential episode the second son restored the birthright in the womb. Why did this happen? This is a secret that Christians have never known.

Articles Source: http://www.tparents.org/Moon-Books/wu1/WU1-1-2.htm

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Re: Why did Judah bless Tamar?

Post  dove on Mon 28 Jan 2008, 11:53 pm

I agree with you that God erased Judah's mistake of marrying a cannanite woman and polluting the bloodline of Jesus. Moses blessed the children of Israel before his death. The blessing given to Judah was “And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies. (Deuteronomy 33:7)

The prophecy concerning Judah which shall befall him in the last days given by his father Jacob was “Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. 9. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” (Genesis 49:8-10). This is called the Messianic prophecy, the prophecy of Jesus Christ. Revelation 5:5;11:12;Isaiah 11:1-9; Ezekiel 34:23-31; Amos 9:11-15).

“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” (Revelation 5:5-6)

“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” (Revelation 5:11-12)

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2. And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3. And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 6. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:1-9)

“And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, [even] my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 24. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken [it]. 25. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. 26. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. 28. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make [them] afraid. 29. And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. 30. Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God [am] with them, and [that] they, [even] the house of Israel, [are] my people, saith the Lord GOD. 31. And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, [are] men, [and] I [am] your God, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 34:23-31).

“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 12. That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. 13. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit [them]; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.” (Amos 9:11-15).

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Re: Why did Judah bless Tamar?

Post  Waqar Daniel on Wed 30 Jan 2008, 8:34 am

Then Judah identified them and said, "She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah." And he did not know her again. [Genesis 38:26]

The question here is that after committing adultery with his own daughter-in-law, why did Judah call Tamar righteous? According to Bible,

If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed perversion; their blood is upon them. [Leviticus 20:12]

The question here is not what the Bible says, the question here is whether Judah was following the Biblical laws or not. The Law was given to Israelites from God through Moses and Moses lived long after Judah, therefore, Judah and his action does not come under the law of Leviticus 20:12

And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, "Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. NOT with our FATHERS did the LORD make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. [Deutornomy 5:1-3]

This verse clearly shows that Abraham, Isaac and Judah were not following the Law given to Israelites through Moses by God - Then what were they following? They were following Code of King Hammurabi and acted according to it.

In 1800 B.C. the Amorite king, Hammurabi, took the throne of the new Babylonian dynasty. He was the sixth king of the first dynasty of Babylon. Immediatley he began to expand his new empire to eventually include Assyria and northern Syria. Hammurabi was a great military leader and lawgiver. In the first year of his reign Hammurabi fulfilled a promise to the Babylonian god Marduk and established an extensive law system which encompassed nearly every area of ancient life. The document was over 300 paragraphs long and included sections on social, moral, religious, commercial and civil law.

Kings of the day would post large monuments listing their laws with an accompanying statue carving of themselves to identify the law with the king. Hammurabi was no different in this practice. There were many copies of this law erected throughout the kingdom. Usually in the temples dedicated to the local gods. It now resides in the Louve, in Paris.

The story of Abraham, Sarah and Ishmael is in accordance to the Family Law of King Hammurabi, The Family Law states:

Marriage was called “taking a wife”

Marriage and children were necessary to have a fulfilled life. A childless woman could call herself a mother by giving her maid-servant to her husband as a second wife (assuming, of course, the maid-servant did indeed produce a child).

If the wife was barren, the husband was allowed to take a handmaid from his wife's court and bear a child for his house. The woman would consequently become free which was not the case if the handmaid came from the husband's harem. This concubine was not held in equal status with the wife but inferior to her. If the concubine became a rival, the wife could reduce her to slavery again, sell her or dismiss her from her household.

This is the apparent rule which Abraham and Sarah followed in the discarding of Hagar from their household. They were acting in accordance with the old Sumerian law which they were brought up under in Ur. [Genesis 21:8. Genesis 21:8]

Now coming back to the question of Why Judah called Tamar RIGHTEOUS we will have to look into King Hammurabi's law and study the detailed account of the story recorded in the Bible about Judah and Tamar.

This story begins with Judah, a leader among Jacob's sons and the initiator of Joseph's betrayal (Gen. 37:26). Knowing that his father never believed the fabricated story of Joseph's demise and unable to bear his shame and remorse, Judah left Hebron and traveled west down the Shephelah to Adullam. Here he married an unnamed Canaanite woman, a daughter of Shua, and adopted Canaanite customs and laws. Judah and the daughter of Shua had three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah.

Following his patriarchal prerogative, Judah selected a Canaanite wife named Tamar for Er, his firstborn. We know only that Er fathered no children with Tamar and that God took him for his wickedness (Gen. 38:7-8). Er's death shattered Tamar's marital expectations and eliminated the status, support, and protection for which she had married. In early biblical times, a woman who married a firstborn son expected to bear a son who would take his father's place in the family hierarchy as the chief heir of his father's estate. Being the wife of a firstborn son or leader in a patriarchal community meant that she would be mother of a future community leader. Such position was both socially and economically prestigious. The wife of a patriarch or leader became a matriarch or chief wife and was leader in the extended family: as her husband was chief man, she was chief woman. Her husband inherited at least a double portion of his father's estate, twice as much as any other heir. This inheritance assured him of added respect and family and community leadership and would have been appealing to some women.

Tamar had recourse to the law of levirate marriage. In Canaanite practice a son born to the levirate union bore the deceased husband's name, for such a son inherited all the deceased husband's property and continued as a link in an unbroken genealogical chain as though he were the biological son of the deceased husband.

It was also in Judah's best interest to retain Tamar in the family. If Tamar entered into a levirate marriage and bore children, she would help maintain the numerical strength and economic integrity of the family, despite Er's untimely death.

Tamar's marital obligation continued as long as the father-in-law was alive. She was not declared a widow, able to “go whither she pleases,” until both her husband and father-in-law were dead. None of the laws mentions a preference in the order of kin, nor did it matter whether the brother or father was already married. However, if the story of Tamar is typical, we may assume that older brothers were preferred over younger brothers, who were in turn preferred over the father. In order then, Onan was preferred over Shelah, who was preferred over Judah.

The initiative in arranging a levirate marriage for Tamar belonged to Judah. If he did not provide a son or himself as a husband, then Tamar had the right to demand that one of them perform his duty. This prerogative was based on custom, not civil or criminal statutes enforceable in a court of law. Therefore a brother-in-law could accept or reject the request of his sister-in-law without fear of legal retribution, although he probably had less choice about his father's request.

Judah arranged for Onan, his second son, to marry Tamar. Though it was considered honorable for the brother to impregnate his brother's widow and thereby preserve his brother's name, the death of Er had naturally increased Onan's share of the family inheritance. Furthermore, Onan would now inherit the firstborn's share, which was double that of the other sons. If Tamar bore a legal son for Er, then Onan, the biological though not the legal father (for purposes of the inheritance), would lose this doubled estate. Perhaps for this reason, Assyrian law cited above left the choice of levirate marriage to the father-in-law rather than to the brother.

When Judah, Tamar, and Onan reached an agreement, the levirate marriage became effective upon consummation. There was no need for a new dowry or a new marriage contract: all the arrangements of the first marriage between Er and Tamar remained in effect. Since she was Er's chief wife, she retained chief wife status with Onan. If Onan was already married—his marital status is not clear—Tamar's chief wife status would pertain only to Er's estate.

Knowing that he was next in line for the blessings of the firstborn, Onan did not openly defy his father, an act for which he could have been disinherited. Instead, he conspired to deceive Judah and defraud Tamar. During the connubial act, through coitus interruptus, he “spilled {his semen} on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing . . . displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also” (Gen. 38:9-10).

Judah's only remaining son, Shelah, was not “grown” (Gen. 38:11), indicating that he had not reached puberty. The minimum marriageable age under Middle Assyrian law was ten. Judah asked Tamar to live in her father's house as a widow. Tamar's father had the legal obligation of support “till Shelah my son be grown” (v. 11). This condition constituted an oral contract that Judah would have Shelah perform the levirate duty when he was of age. Tamar kept her part of the agreement by returning to her father's house.

An unspecified amount of time passed, but it must have exceeded puberty for Shelah, for Tamar became aware that Judah was keeping Shelah from her. She devised a stratagem, and on a day when Judah was going to shear his sheep at a certain location, she disguised herself as a lay sacral prostitute.

Cultic prostitutes were women who offered their services to the public and donated the proceeds to the temple. In early times, according to Herodotus, sacral prostitution was expected of all Babylonian women at least once in their lifetime. The practice came from the myth of a male deity such as the Canaanite god Baal, the god of rain, fertilizing his lover or wife/sister Anat, the earth goddess, which brought forth food. A scholar notes: “It is known that feasts of the preexilic period were accompanied by ritual fornication with the magic intention of securing rich crops and increase of herds. Judah's visit to a hierodule at that time of year was a predictable ritually pre-scribed act.” Judah had apparently adopted this custom at some point during his stay in Adullam. He was, moreover, recently widowed (Gen. 38:12).

Judah saw her “covered with a vail,” which evidently was a part of her costume that signalled her status as a cult prostitute, and asked permission to visit her. They agreed upon a kid as the fee. Since Judah had no animals with him, Tamar required as a pledge or guarantee his signet ring, bracelets, and staff. Judah willingly entrusted these valuable objects to her, an indication of the esteem given these prostitutes. Later Judah sent his friend Hiram to deliver the kid, another indication that he was not ashamed of his activity. But the “prostitute” had disappeared.

Three months later Tamar's pregnancy became publicly known. Recall that she was the childless widow of Er. She and her father-in-law Judah had agreed that Shelah would perform the levirate duty when he became of age. So Tamar was under the levirate obligation to Shelah, a legal status similar to a betrothal. Her pregnancy was prima facie evidence of adultery since Shelah had had no relations with her.

Even though Judah had asked Tamar to return to her father's house while she waited for Shelah, Tamar still came under Judah's patriarchal authority. Legal systems of the time left capital punishment for certain crimes against the family in the hands of the patriarch

Hearing of the pregnancy and even before confronting Tamar, Judah ordered, “Let her be burnt” (Gen. 38:24). It is not known what the Abrahamic/patriarchal traditional punishments for adultery were. Reuben lost his birthright (49:4), and Bilhah's punishment if any is not recorded. However, burning is a penalty found in Babylonian law though not for adultery.

Tamar appeared at a “judicial hearing” and presented Judah's signet, bracelets, and staff, all personal items conspicuously known to be Judah's, and identified their owner as the father of her child. Judah understood the legal ramifications of Tamar's evidence and dropped the charge and punishment of death, admitting, “She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son” (Gen. 38:26).

Judah was NOT guilty of adultery because he was a legal consort. The child born of Judah and Tamar was legitimate. Judah “knew her again no more” (Gen. 38:26) indicating that although she had acted correctly, he had no intention of pursuing a relationship beyond the levirate duty.

Judah called Tamar RIGHTEOUS because he forgot the duty he had to perform according to the Law od Levirate marriage but Tamar reminded him of his duty. Therefore Judah called Tamar righteous because he was ashamed of not performing his duties whereas Tamar remianed sincere to her duty and to the house of Judah.

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Re: Why did Judah bless Tamar?

Post  thirsty on Thu 31 Jan 2008, 11:12 pm

Don't you think Daniel that due to Adam's sin the bloodline from which Jesus was to come was corrupted and then all those inter-racial marriages were a big hinderance for Jesus to come through that bloodline?

I agree with Dove here and she explained it well also:
Dove wrote:I agree with you that God erased Judah's mistake of marrying a cannanite woman and polluting the bloodline of Jesus. Moses blessed the children of Israel before his death. The blessing given to Judah was “And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies. (Deuteronomy 33:7)
God bless you

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Re: Why did Judah bless Tamar?

Post  Waqar Daniel on Fri 01 Feb 2008, 7:44 pm

Thirsty wrote:Don't you think Daniel that due to Adam's sin the bloodline from which Jesus was to come was corrupted and then all those inter-racial marriages were a big hinderance for Jesus to come through that bloodline?
What has human ancestory of Jesus Christ to do with His bloodline? Although both the genealogies recorded in the Gospels, Mathew and Luke, respectively only shows Jesus' legal right to the throne of David. If we all trace our ancestory, we can simply link ourselves to Adam and Eve.

Bloodline of Jesus was of no human, so whether Judah married a cannanite woman makes no difference, because,
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. (Mathew 1:18)
Therefore, it is totally irrelevant to say that Judah polluted the bloodline of Messiah by marrying a cannanite woman. Jesus had no human bloodline, if He had one, then He would not be fit for the sacrifice. Remember, the rule of sacrifice in the Old Testament, "It should be without any blemish".

God bless you

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Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ. (Philemon 1:3)


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Re: Why did Judah bless Tamar?

Post  sophie on Fri 01 Feb 2008, 7:54 pm

The question still remains unanswered, "Why did Judah bless Tamar?" I hope someone has the amswer.

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Re: Why did Judah bless Tamar?

Post  ChristianLady on Fri 01 Feb 2008, 7:59 pm

Sophie I believe everyone answered your question. Now if you still remain defiant then what can we do?

God bless

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Re: Why did Judah bless Tamar?

Post  Waqar Daniel on Sat 02 Feb 2008, 4:33 pm

It was continuity of the seed. Remember after the death of Er both of his sons refused to produce an heir to the house of Judah. Therefore, Tamar remembered her duty towards the House of Judah of producing an heir but Judah forgot. That is why Judah blessed Tamar and said she is more righteous than him as he forgot his duty but his daughter-in-law remembered and fulfilled her duty.

God bless you

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