Judah’s Two Son’s Die
There was a man named Judah. His father was Jacob and his mother was Leah. He had eleven brothers and one sister.
One day. Judah left his brothers and went to stay with a man named Hirah who was from a place called Adullam.
While Judah was in Adullam, he met a Canaanite woman whose father’s name was Shua and married the woman.
The woman bore Judah three sons whose names were Er, Onan and Shelah.
Judah got a wife for his first son Er. The woman’s name was Tamar.
Er was an evil man and God wasn’t pleased with him, so God killed him.
Judah then told his second son Onan to go and sleep with his brother’s widow so that his late brother would have children.
But Onan knew that the children wouldn’t be his own. So whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s widow, he would spill his semen on the ground so that his brother wouldn’t have children.
God was angry with what Onan did so God also killed him.
No Husband for Tamar
The killing of Er and Onan by God frightened Judah. He thought that God would also kill Shelah as He had killed his brothers. Judah therefore told Tamar to return to her father’s house and remain there as a widow until Shelah had grown up.
Judah had no intention of giving Tamar to Shelah in marriage. Tamar went back home.
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Judah Has Intercourse with Tamar His Daughter-In-Law
One day after the death of Judah’s wife, he and his friend Hiram of Adullam decided to go to one town called Timnah. Some people were in Timnah cutting the wool off Judah’s sheep.
While Judah was on his way to Timnah, someone told Tamar that her father-in-law Judah was going to Timnah to have the wool cut off his sheep. So Tamar removed her widow’s clothes and covered her face with a veil. She sat down at the entrance of a village called Enaim which was on the road to Timnah.
Tamar knew that Judah’s youngest son had now grown up, but Judah hadn’t given her to him in marriage.
When Judah saw Tamar, he thought she was a prostitute because she covered her face. He went to her and asked her to sleep with him. He didn’t know she was his daughter-in-law.
Tamar asked him what he would give her for sleeping with him.
Judah told her that he would send her a young goat from his flock.
Tamar accepted, but told Judah that he had to give her something to keep as a pledge until he sent her the goat.
Judah asked her what she wanted as a pledge. She said that she wanted Judah’s seal with its cord and the stick Judah was carrying. Judah gave them to her.
Judah and Tamar had intercourse and she became pregnant.
Tamar went home and removed her veil and wore back her widow’s clothes.
Judah Looses His Seal, Cord and Stick
Later, Judah sent his friend Hirah to take the goat to the woman who he (Judah) slept with and get back from her the things he had pledged. When Hirah got to where the woman was, he couldn’t find her.
He asked some men where the prostitute was. They told him that no prostitute had ever been there.
Hirah returned to Judah and told him that he couldn’t find the prostitute. Judah told his friend to let the prostitute keep the things that he (Judah) pledged. He told his friend that they would make themselves a laughing stock of the village if they went back there looking for the woman.
Judah Wrongly Sentences His Daughter-In-Law to Death
About three months later, someone told Judah that his daughter-in-law Tamar had been prostituting and had become pregnant. Judah gave orders that she should be taken out and burnt to death.
As Tamar was being taken out to be burnt, she sent message to her father-in-law Judah saying, “I am pregnant by the man who owns these things. Look at them and see whose they are — this seal with its cord and this walking stick.”
Judah recognized that the things were his. He said “She is more in the right than I am, because I didn’t keep my promise to let her marry my son Shelah.”
Judah never had intercourse with Tamar again.
Tamar Gives Birth to Twins
The time came for Tamar to give birth and it was discovered that she was expecting twins.
She gave birth to them. One was named Perez while the other one was named Zerah.
Perez was one of the ancestors of King David and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 1:3; Luke 3:33
- What were the names of Judah’s father and mother?
- How many brothers had Judah?
- Whom did Judah stay with at Adullam?
- How many sons had Judah by his Canaanite wife? What were there names?
- Explain the reasons that made God to kill Er and Onan.
- Who was Judah’s daughter-in-law?
- Why didn’t Judah give his daughter-in-law to his youngest son in marriage?
- Where did Judah go to have the wool cut off his sheep?
- Why did Judah’s daughter-in-law disguise as a prostitute?
- What did Judah give to the “prostitute” as a pledge so that he could have intercourse with her?
- Explain why Judah couldn’t get back what he gave as a pledge.
- Did Judah know the real identity of the woman he slept with?
- Who gave orders that Tamar should be burnt to death and why?
- Explain what Tamar said and did so that she could save herself from being burnt to death.
- Who was responsible for Tamar’s pregnancy?
- How many children did Tamar give birth to and what were their names?
- Which of Tamar’s children was an ancestor of King David and Jesus Christ?