Sketched VIII Day 10 Tamar & Judah: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
Check out Tamar & Judah!

The Questions

1) What is the connection between Tamar and Jesus?


2) How Does God use Tamar’s situation and the sins of Tamar and Judah?


3) What does this story teach us about God, and how do we respond to what we’ve learned?

Genesis 38

At that time Judah left his brothers and settled near an Adullamite named Hirah. 2 There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua; he took her as a wife and slept with her. 3 She conceived and gave birth to a son, and he named him Er. 4 She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and named him Onan. 5 She gave birth to another son and named him Shelah. It was at Chezib that she gave birth to him.

6 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 Now Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the Lord’s sight, and the Lord put him to death. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife. Perform your duty as her brother-in-law and produce offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his, so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he released his semen on the ground so that he would not produce offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was evil in the Lord’s sight, so he put him to death also.

11 Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He might die too, like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.

12 After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had finished mourning, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers. 13 Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 So she took off her widow’s clothes, veiled her face, covered herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had grown up, she had not been given to him as a wife. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.

16 He went over to her and said, “Come, let me sleep with you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.

She said, “What will you give me for sleeping with me?”

17 “I will send you a young goat from my flock,” he replied.

But she said, “Only if you leave something with me until you send it.”

18 “What should I give you?” he asked.

She answered, “Your signet ring, your cord, and the staff in your hand.” So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19 She got up and left, then removed her veil and put her widow’s clothes back on.

20 When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get back the items he had left with the woman, he could not find her. 21 He asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?”

“There has been no cult prostitute here,” they answered.

22 So the Adullamite returned to Judah, saying, “I couldn’t find her, and besides, the men of the place said, ‘There has been no cult prostitute here.’”

23 Judah replied, “Let her keep the items for herself; otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send this young goat, but you couldn’t find her.”

24 About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law, Tamar, has been acting like a prostitute, and now she is pregnant.”

“Bring her out,” Judah said, “and let her be burned to death!”

25 As she was being brought out, she sent her father-in-law this message: “I am pregnant by the man to whom these items belong.” And she added, “Examine them. Whose signet ring, cord, and staff are these?”

26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is more in the right than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her intimately again.

27 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb. 28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand, and the midwife took it and tied a scarlet thread around it, announcing, “This one came out first.” 29 But then he pulled his hand back, out came his brother, and she said, “What a breakout you have made for yourself!” So he was named Perez. 30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread tied to his hand, came out, and was named Zerah.

Original Intent

1) What is the connection between Tamar and Jesus?
In Matthew 1, the genealogy of Jesus was recorded. Not only was one of the descendants of Tamar King David, but further down the line, the earthly father of Jesus, Joseph, was a descendent of Tamar and Judah. Jesus is called “The Lion of Judah,” which is in reference to His genealogy through Tamar and Judah who was from the tribe of Judah. In Isaiah 11:1–3, the prophet writes of the coming Messiah, Jesus, “And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Tamar and Judah’s lineage is a portion of that shoot. This beautiful prophecy uses the imagery of part of the plant from a tree that has been cut down for the purpose of destruction. Out of that stump comes a green shoot, but it is not expected to yield anything. Yet, from this prophecy, that shoot, in Hebrew, a “netzer” meaning ‘nothing” will come a branch, which is fruit producing. Amazingly, “netzer” is the root word for Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up. Out of a town not worth naming, where not much was expected, from a lineage smattered in human sin, comes this branch, Jesus, who bears all things and, above all, bears the fruit of our redemption!

2) How Does God use Tamar’s situation and the sins of Tamar and Judah?
Tamar is first married to Judah’s son, Er. We don’t know much about him except that he was evil in the Lord’s sight and the Lord put him to death. So, Tamar, a Gentile Canaanite, meaning non-Jew, is now a widow. Her brother-in-law is commanded by Jewish law to impregnate her and the children she bears are to be the descendants of her first husband. Onan didn’t want his children to carry his brother’s name, so he sins by releasing his semen on the ground. What he did was evil in the Lord’s sight, so God put him to death also. Now, Tamar has no offspring and is doubly widowed. The right thing would be for her father-in-law, Judah, to give her his third son. But, fear spurs Judah to sin and withhold his son from Tamar. Instead, he sends Tamar back to her Canaanite father. She ends up tricking Judah by disguising herself as a prostitute and seducing him. When she is impregnated by him, he doesn’t know, and when he hears she acted as a prostitute, he condemns her to death until he finds out he is the baby’s father! A messy, sordid tale for any time or culture to be sure! But God. God’s sovereignty is at work even in this situation. He already knew He would use this sin-soiled family to continue the lineage through which Jesus would claim an earthly family. God moves in Tamar’s life and uses this series of twisted events and sins of fear, pride, selfishness, deception, infidelity, and lust to put His power on display in their brokenness. Despite their sinfulness, God allows Tamar and Judah to be the ancestors of the Messiah, Jesus.

3) What does this story teach us about God, and how do we respond to what we’ve learned?
At first glance, we might not see the hand of God in this story. If we read it only in context, we may wonder why it falls here, in the middle of the narrative of Joseph’s life. We may wonder about this strange series of events, an unknown woman who lives near the place where David would slay Goliath, and later, where David would hide in caves to save himself from Saul. We may wonder about the validity of this widow who bears her father-in-law’s offspring only because she posed as a prostitute after being turned out by him. Where is God in a mess like this?! However, God reveals Himself through this narrative. We need to consider what kind of God chooses this story as a part of His human ancestral heritage on earth. No one on earth chooses their family lineage. God did. He uses this particular story to move through history as He always does, by showing off His goodness as a Redeemer. God is the God who always takes what is broken and, when He is present and involved, turns it into something redemptive and restored. In Tamar’s story, God used her broken situation, rife with sin, and brought forth a living shoot, the God Himself wrapped in human flesh, from what appeared to be a dead, fruitless stump. God uses Tamar’s life to clearly demonstrate that no sin is too great, and no life is too messy, for Him to enter into it and bring redemption.

Everyday Application

1) What is the connection between Tamar and Jesus?
When I think of applying the truth of the connection between Tamar and Jesus to my life, I feel so encouraged. Mostly, I think about the brokenness in my family tree. While I love my family deeply, we are a flawed bunch. Throughout our heritage, there are stories of abuse, addiction, and other sin. This is the same for most of us. Our extended, or even our immediate, families have pock marks of sin and its effects are felt across generations. When we look at the story of Judah and Tamar, we know we follow a God who is compassionate and who works despite, and through, the broken sinfulness of mankind. With God, redemption is not contingent upon our goodness; it depends upon Him, His goodness, and His grace. God is mindful of our earthly human frame, (Psalm 103) and He understands the sinfulness we are capable of doing. Amazingly, His strength is made perfect, or “shown off”, in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) In all situations, we can see His goodness and know He is a redemptive God.

2) How Does God use Tamar’s situation and the sins of Tamar and Judah?
When God works on earth, He does so through sinners. Astounding! He has no alternative, as Jesus was the only flawless human in history. We can be encouraged that God will use our brokenness and the dysfunction in our families to tell His story and demonstrate His love and grace. His grace neither condones nor enables our sin. He condemns sin because He is righteous and just, but because Jesus took our punishment for us, He willingly took on Himself the condemnation we deserved. However, knowing God is redemptive doesn’t mean we take advantage of God. We can be assured He is at work in our lives, despite our limitations, failings and transgressions. He will work all things together for our good and His glory just as He did in Tamar and Judah’s story. (Romans 8:28-29) As we grow in Him, we cooperate more fully with the leading of His Holy Spirit and we avoid sin more actively. Still, we will sin and fall short of God’s righteousness. We can take comfort that God’s love, grace, and power are present and available despite our sin! The story of Tamar and Judah shows us how deep and wide God’s grace and redemption can reach. In 2 Corinthians 4:7 God says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” We are earthen vessels, flawed and fragile. God’s treasure, His love, grace, goodness made evident through His salvation and sanctification of our souls, is stored in us. The working out of His power is made evident through our lives the more we follow Jesus, despite our brokenness and flaws. If God would use this seemingly “broken beyond repair” family to usher in His plan of redemption for the world, what will He do with your brokenness and mine?!

3) What does this story teach us about God, and how do we respond to what we’ve learned?
How do we respond to our redeeming God? This is a question that might be good for us to tape to our mirrors to see first thing in the morning. We have a God who moves in our lives despite sin and failure. As Paul mentions in Romans 6, we don’t go on sinning just because grace increases to cover our sin. NO! We see the love and grace of God, and it becomes the very impetus for our gratitude and a life lived in responsive love to Him! He knows what weak vessels we are, and He uses it all to show Himself off, to lead others to Him, and to form us into greater degrees of His likeness. This knowledge should inspire our worship and inform our choices. As we ponder our sinful hearts, and the way that God uses our brokenness for good, we can say with the psalmist, “Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:12) We are increasingly aware of the goodness of our salvation as we acknowledge the fact of our brokenness without God. This awareness brings deep joy and a renewed willingness to obey Him from a place of trust. If my God brought redemption for me, I can trust Him to do the next good thing!

What do YOU think?! Share Here!
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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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