Judah was one of the brothers of Joseph who sold Joseph to the caravan of Midianites on their way to Egypt. In Genesis 38, we learn more about Judah and a lesson in the importance of doing what we say we will do and being honest.
In today’s passage, we read that Judah married a Canaanite woman and had three sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah had gotten a wife named Tamar for his first son named Er but Er was wicked in the Lord’s sight so the Lord put him to death (v. 7).
Then in accordance with a custom known as levirate marriage where the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother’s widow, Judah told Onan to marry and produce offspring with Tamar. Onan knew that the offspring would not be his so to keep from having offspring with his brother’s wife, he made sure his semen was spilled on the ground (v. 9). The Lord put him to death also (v. 10).
Judah then told Tamar to live with her father for a while until his youngest son Shelah grew up and he would give him to Tamar but he never followed through with what he said. After the years had passed and Judah lost his wife, he went to Timnah to check on the men who were shearing his sheep (v. 12). Tamar who was the daughter-in-law of Judah sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah (v. 14). She posed as a temple prostitute, covering her face in a veil, and deceived her father-in-law.
After several months, Judah was told that Tamar was guilty of prostitution. Judah wanted her brought out and burned to death but right before she was brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law that she was pregnant and it was his child she was carrying. Judah then realized that Tamar was the prostitute he had been with. He also felt guilt for not doing what he had promised in giving Tamar to his son Shelah (v. 26).
So Tamar was allowed to live and give birth to Judah’s twin sons who would carry the line of Judah. The amazing part of this account is that the births created a situation similar to Jacob and Esau in the previous generation; the older son serving the younger son. For when they were born, it looked like one would be born first but then one of the twins was born breach and actually was born first so there was confusion as to which one was born first.
So the deception runs in the family line going back to Jacob and Esau and deception always leads down the road of hardship. Jacob deceived his father in getting His blessing and now we see Tamar deceiving Judah in becoming the mother of his twin sons.
Things in this world are sometimes built like a house of cards but one thing we can count on in the storms of life are the promises of God. These promises are built on truth and we can rest assured that they will be fulfilled.
Thank you Lord that You give us a clear path for us to follow. This day, we pray for honesty in how we live our life. We pray for helping others to see the clear path by living the way we should and being a good role model. In your road map called the Bible, we get a clear picture of the importance of being honest and doing what we say. We are thankful for the role model You give us in your Son. Living the way Jesus teaches leads to meaningful places and makes a positive impact on lives. In Jesus Name, Amen!