● Gen 38:11c . . So Tamar went to live in her father's house.
Sending Tamar back home, as an unattached girl, Judah no doubt sincerely hoped she would meet somebody in her own neighborhood; maybe an old boyfriend or two, and remarry before Shelah got old enough; thus, his last son would be safe from Ms. Black Widow. But as it turned out, Tamar had more grit than Mattie Ross of Darnel County. Judah's clan owed her dead husband a baby boy, and that was that.
You can hardly blame her. Jacob's clan was very wealthy, so that any children Tamar should produce by them, would have all the best that life had to offer in early-day Palestine; plus her grandchildren would be well taken care of too. Since nothing is said of her origin, Tamar may not have been a blue-blooded girl like her mother-in-law, but could have easily come from a low income community on the wrong side of the tracks. What would you do in the best interests of your children in that situation?
● Gen 38:12a . . As time went by, Judah's wife Bath-shua died.
This event left Judah single, and eligible to remarry; so that Tamar and Judah are now both single adults; however, Tamar is betrothed, and that makes things a little complicated.
● Gen 38:12b . . After he got over her passing, Judah went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, together with his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
Timnah-- a.k.a. Tibneh: a deserted site southwest of Zorah, and two miles west of Ain Shems --was roughly 11 miles northwest from ancient Adullum towards Bethlehem.
● Gen 38:13-14a . . And it was told Tamar, saying: Look, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep. So she took off her widow's garments, covered herself with a veil and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place which was on the way to Timnah;
The Hebrew words for "open place" are weird. They mean "an open eye". One of those words-- the one for "eye" --can also mean a spring or an artesian well (e.g. Gen 16:7). A wayside rest, like as can be usually found on many modern Federal highways, would probably qualify as an example of the "open place" to which Gen 38:14 refers.
Tamar's rest stop likely included a source of water, not for cars, but for the animals that men either herded, rode upon, or used for pack animals when they traveled up and down the primitive trails and roads of ancient Palestine.
Sheep-shearing occurs sometime in the spring, so the weather in Palestine at that season was sunny and warm.
Veils weren't an eo ipso indication that a woman was loose, since Rebecca had worn one upon meeting her spouse-to-be Isaac (Gen 24:65). Although the text says that Tamar's veil covered her face (vs. 15), it likely not only covered her face, but her whole body, because veils were more like a burqa than the little mask-like nets that women sometimes wear to funerals; except that burqa's are cumbersome and ugly, whereas Tamar's veil was a lightweight wrap, and likely quite colorful and eye-catching; and conveyed an altogether different message than a woman in mourning.
● Gen 38:14b . . for she saw that Shelah was grown up, yet she had not been given to him as wife.
Actually, Shelah wasn't the one who owed Tamar an Israeli baby; it was Judah, the head of the clan, and that's why he's the one she's coming after rather than Judah's son. Tamar is a scary girl; and one you wouldn't want to trifle with. Not many women would have had the chutzpah to do what she did. To begin with, for a lone woman to sit out along a remote road, unescorted, like she did, was inherently dangerous, and could have led to all sorts of mischief.
● Gen 38:15a . .When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute,
The particular kind of prostitute in this episode is from the Hebrew word qedeshah (ked-ay-shaw') which isn't your typical working girl, but rather a devotee raising money for an established religion (Gen 38:21) typically a pagan kind of religion centered upon the worship of a goddess like Ashtoreth (a.k.a. Astarte). So one might say that a qedeshah's services were for a worthy cause.
● Gen 38:15b . . for she had covered her face.
It's just amazing how difficult it is sometimes to recognize familiar people when they turn up in places we least expect them. Take Jesus for example. When he revived after his ordeal on the cross, people didn't know him right off: close friends like Mary Magdalena didn't recognize him at first even at close proximity (John 20:13-16). Another example is when Jesus came out to his followers' boat during a storm on open water. At first they thought he was a ghost, and Peter wouldn't believe it was Jesus until he gave him the power to walk on water himself (Matt 14:25-29).
● Gen 38:16-17 . . Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said: Come now, let me sleep with you. And what will you give me to sleep with you? she asked. I'll send you a young goat from my flock; he said. Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it? she asked.
The Hebrew word for "pledge" in that passage is 'arabown (ar-aw-bone') which means a pawn (given as security) as in pawn shop. This is the very first place in the Bible where that word is used. In the usury business, an 'arabown is forfeited if the borrower fails to repay his loan. This is a very important principle in the divine plan.
"In him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." (Eph 1:13-14)
The Greek word for "pledge" in that passage is arrhabon (ar-hrab-ohn') which means essentially the same as the Hebrew word 'arabown except that the Greek word indicates a little something extra.
Real estate transactions usually involve a sum called the earnest money. Although it may be applied towards the purchase price of property, earnest money itself serves a specific purpose of its own in the real estate business. In some quarters; this is also called good faith money.
When the contract, and all the other necessary documents are submitted to Escrow, the buyer is required to also submit a token amount of the purchase price. It's usually a relatively small number of dollars compared to the full price of the property. I think ours was just $1,000 back in 1988 on a $74,000 home. When the buyer follows through on their intent to purchase the property, the good faith money (minus some Escrow fees of course) goes towards the purchase.
However, if the buyer loses interest in the property and decides to renege, then they forfeit the good faith money. No doubt that's done to discourage vacillating buyers from fiddling around with other people's time and money.
So then, since God's Spirit is the earnest depicted in Eph 1:13-14; then, according to the principles underlying the arrhabon, should God betray a believer's trust by reneging on His promise to spare people who hear and believe the gospel, then He forfeits; and the believer gets to keep the Spirit regardless of their afterlife destiny.
But of course God won't renege because doing so would not only embarrass Himself, but embarrass His son too as Jesus has given his word that believers have nothing to fear.
"I assure you, those who heed my message, and believe in God who sent me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life." (John 5:24)
There are people who actually believe the Bible's God can get away with reneging on His promises. A belief of that nature of course eo ipso insinuates that the Bible's God lacks integrity, i.e. He's capable of dishonesty and can't be trusted to make good on anything He says.
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