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Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Revised Standard Version commentary: on Judah and Tamar.
Theology or God how deal's with a woman's part in the LORD's promise that Abraham will have a great prosperity.

The marriage with Shuah's daughter reflects territorial expansion of the tribe of Judah and the consequent intermarriage with Canaanites. Shua was the mother of Er Onan and Shelah. The woman experience here is marriage and acceptance of the LORD's religion and moving away never to return to a cult worship. However her autobiography is scant and not known except her father accepted Judah as her husband. The previous worship they performed must have lead them to the new life in the Mosaic Law.
The early and childless death of Er is attributed to a divine act, almost demonic in character. Remember that the LORD God is the provider against all demonic force, whome we call Satan. Then jealousy and other things considered into the mix that lead to suspicion of poison and so on. The woman's religious experience here is being childless, a widow, accepting the Israelite religion unto death and having come from a background that worshipped Ishtar.

Mosiac Law that is called Levirate marriage (Dt. 25.5-10), the duty of a brother-in-law was to raise up a male descendant for his deceased brother and thus perpetuate his name and inheritance. Remember, the refusal of Onan to put his sperm in Tamar was refusing the levriate obligation. This is customary law in African culture also. Once again Tamar becomes a widow under circumstances that people become suspicious of her behavior whether she is virtuous or a troublemaker.

Judah feared the death of his two son's resulted from Tamar's sinister power.

Suspecting that Judah's promise (v. 11) was insincere,
Tamar took steps to make him perform the levirate duty. Tamar was taken to be a cult prostitute (v. 21), a devotee of the mother-goddess Ishtar. Prostitution was connected with the worship of the nature gods of fertility (Dt. 23.18; IKg. 14.24; 2 Kg. 23.7; Hos. 4.13; Am. 2.7). The signet was a ring or cyclinder, used to stamp one's signature. In Israel stoning was the usual punishment for a harlot (Dt. 22.23-24; compare Jn. 8.5), although burning was prescribed for exceptional cases (Lev. 21.9). So you see Judah thought all along that Tamar was exceptional.

Tamar takes on a virtue of necessity, making the most of a difficult situation. We now understand that Shelah is grown and to Tamar that is unsatisfactory to her that she be left in her father's house. Tamar is determined to go along with the levirate customs. Tamar here is conforming to the moral principles of Judah's clan. The introduction from her father made this a binding pledge that she must carry out throughout her life.

Theology of God dealing with Tamar, how she is singled out for approval, for judged by the levirate obligation, she was more righteous (see 6.9) than Judah. Tamar's morality toward Judah is seen as righteousness. Tamar is the weak link in this family circle and yet she preserves to become the the legitimate authority. Tamar has been annointed with the virtue of an order of angels.

The birth of the twins (25.21-26) portrays the rivalry of Perez and Zerah, two clans of Judah (Num.26.19-22) who were partially Canaanite, Perez, the first born, was an ancestor of David (Ru. 4.18-22). Above all Tamar's natural virtue of fortitude has attained a womanly status, a virtue of goodness. Tamar is aware of justice, temperance, prudence, and fortitude the natural virtues assimilating them to acieve her goals. Her charm will bring the power and potent force of the savior Jesus Christ
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