Are There Two Tamars in the Bible?
Tamar is one of the most interesting biblical characters. She was a Canaanite priestess who became pregnant. She identifies Judah as the father of her child. Later, she plots to seduce Judah, whom she plans to marry. Ultimately, Tamar plots to seduce Judah so that she can preserve her family line.
Tamar was a priestess of a Canaanite goddess
The name Tamar appears in the Bible in two places, Hazazoon Tamar and Baal Tamar. Hazazoon Tamar is identified with the town of Ein Gedi on the western shore of the Dead Sea, while Baal Tamar was located west of Gibeah in the central highlands of Israel. These two references are consistent with the Bible’s description of both locations.
Most modern commentators see Tamar as a priestess of Ishtar/Astarte. She is described in ancient literature as a goddess that was honored by women. Tamar’s sexual favors with men were thought to bring her blessings from heaven, ensuring fertility of the crops. The Israelites subsequently discarded this practice.
Shelley did extensive research for the novel. She avoided using stilted language, though she did retain a few ancient Near Eastern terms. At times, the characters’ narratives become slangy, and some speak in ungrammatical English.
She became pregnant
Two Tamars appear in the Bible, and their stories are quite different. The first Tamar is mentioned in Genesis chapter 38, and she is the daughter of Judah. Judah is a fourth-born son of Jacob. He is able to convince his brothers to sell him into slavery, but he leaves his family to pursue his own goals. In Genesis chapter 37, Judah meets a man named Hirah, who is Canaanite. Judah marries this man’s daughter, and the two Tamars are separated in the Bible from each other.
Tamar is the mother of two sons. One is Perez, and the other is Zerah. They fight each other in the womb. In the Bible, the twins have twin-sibling rivalry for the honor of being the first one born. But in reality, Tamar is the more important of the two. While Perez is the first son, Zerah is the second. Both of them will eventually bear Judah’s lineage.
She identified Judah as the father
In the Bible, Tamar identified Judah as the Father of her son. Judah was the fourth son of Jacob. His wife Er was wicked in the eyes of the Lord. When she died, Judah was responsible for her child. Fortunately for Tamar, the Lord used Er’s death to get Judah’s attention and help him in carrying out the plan for a better life for Tamar.
Judah had no intention of marrying Tamar again until his third son, Shelah, had grown up. He also neglected his fatherly duties and erroneously assumed that Tamar was responsible for Onan and Er’s sins. Judah failed to address Tamar’s sins.
The woman whose pregnancy Judah hid from Tamar, posed as a harlot. Judah was furious that Tamar had become pregnant through his sexual immorality. Judah then accused Tamar of fornication. Despite the accusation, Tamar gave birth to twin boys – Zerah and Perez. This way, Judah ensured the continuation of his lineage. Tamar’s descendants included King David, each subsequent king of Judah, and Jesus Christ.
She escapes to her brother Absalom
There are two Tamars in the Bible, and we may be wondering why. The Bible tells us that Tamar gave birth to twin sons, Perez and Zerah. Their story ends abruptly, but their names will live on, first as a symbol of righteousness, then as a blessing. Their lineage is detailed in Ruth, but you should also know that they both eventually became part of King David’s family tree.
Tamar’s first husband was evil in the eyes of the LORD, and Tamar was given to her brother-in-law in order to bear children. However, because of the levirate marriage law, the brother-in-law tried to keep her from bearing children. As a result, she was abused by the men around her. Eventually, the LORD put her brother-in-law to death, but Tamar survived and eventually married Boaz, who became her kinsman-redeemer.
Tamar was determined to continue Judah’s lineage. She plotted to seduce Judah when he was shearing his sheep. She was not a prostitute, but she did intend to deceive Judah.
She becomes a prostitute
Tamar becomes a prostitute in Biblical history, but what prompted this change in her life? Perhaps her original intention was to blackmail Judah and use his daughter as leverage. However, Tamar was not successful. Her first mistake was not telling Judah about the affair, which led to the scandal. She also had no intention of exposing herself to the public, but decided to go ahead anyway.
The story of Tamar is narrated by a woman, and it’s likely that this woman was Tamar. She’s portrayed in a more positive light than Judah. In the end, Tamar uses the sex act as a way to avenge the wrong Judah did to her. In contrast, Judah publicly admits that he made a wrong judgment.
Judah’s wife died, and Tamar assumes that Judah is ready to marry her. She’s dressed in a veil, so he assumes she’s a prostitute. Judah agrees to pay the standard fare for such a trick, one goat.
She saves Judah’s family line
Judah waited to marry Tamar until he had a third son, Shelah. He feared that Tamar would die just like her brothers so he decided to send her back to his father’s home to stay. But the situation did not turn out as Tamar expected. One day, while she was visiting sheepshearers, she met Judah. In disguise as a prostitute, she convinced Judah to engage in sexual intercourse with her.
Despite her fear, Tamar does not die and is welcomed into Judah’s family, giving birth to twins. Her family rejected her, but God was working to welcome her into Judah’s family. Though she was a foreigner, she was able to save Judah’s family line and bring Jesus to the world.
Judah was an unfaithful husband and father. His actions threatened the lineage of Christ. God had made promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Judah had failed to fulfill his end. He had failed to give his wife a third son. In response, God judged Judah’s two wicked sons, who had refused to marry Tamar. Judah was on a path toward destroying his own family line.
She is a heroine
Although Tamar is a woman and a widow, she is a courageous and inspiring leader. She sets a good example for women and men alike as the lineage of King David can be traced back to her. Despite her difficult circumstances, she acts with decisiveness and creativity, and she makes the right decision at the right time to get out of her father’s house.
Tamar is also the mother of twin boys named Perez and Zerah. She endures a difficult pregnancy and gives birth to twins. When she is delivered, the midwife ties red thread around Zerah’s wrist. The twins are born and the first son is named Perez while the other son is named Zerah. The lineage of these children is traced in the First Book of Chronicles, chapter two.
Although Tamar is not a famous biblical heroine, her story is nonetheless a powerful example of God’s grace. Her story shows how God has provided for His people despite their terrible circumstances and challenges.
She is a prostitute
Judah and Tamar had a sexual relationship before Tamar married Judah. Tamar was not known to the men in her family as a prostitute, but he assumed she was one. Judah took Tamar home and slept with her, thinking she was a prostitute. Tamar became pregnant because of this relationship.
Judah wanted to have an heir for his younger brother, and Judah thought Tamar would be a good match. She devised a plan to get a husband by pretending to be a prostitute. Judah had a son with another woman, so Judah would have to pay the price of having his daughter. Judah paid a hefty bride price to get her. Tamar thought that Judah would disband the family after Tamar had a baby.
Tamar’s story begins in Genesis chapter 38. Judah is the fourth son of Jacob. He convinces his brothers to sell Joseph into slavery, and he leaves his family behind. Later, he meets a Canaanite named Hirah, and marries his daughter.