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Tamar and Judah
by Wayne Blank
Judah and Tamar
By that time, despite their age difference, both Tamar, a widow, and Judah, a widower, were unmarried so what occurred was not adultery. It wasn't entirely fornication either since Tamar was seeking to have children for her dead husband Er by means of the accepted custom of the time i.e. "Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother" (Genesis 38:8 KJV). When Onan refused to "raise up seed to thy brother," the reason that The Lord put him to death (Genesis 38:8-10), Tamar decided to have children for her dead husband Er through his father Judah. Tamar disguised herself as a harlot and enticed Judah to unwittingly become the father of her children. The later result of the incident was that Tamar gave birth to twin boys, Perez and Zerah. The entire story is found in Genesis chapter 38.
"And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep. And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife. When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face. And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; for he knew not that she was his daughter in law."
Fact Finder: Judah and Tamar are recorded in the ancestry of Jesus Christ. From which of their sons is Jesus Christ descended, Pharez (also translated as Perez) or Zarah (also translated as Zerah)?