In the middle of Joseph’s struggles and triumphs as a slave in Egypt, the Bible takes a scenic bypass to explore the family life of his brother Judah. (You may remember Judah as the brother who suggested the sale of Joseph. Or the progenitor of the line of David.)
Judah marries a foreign woman and they have three sons. The first son marries a foreign woman named Tamar. He manages to piss off God for reasons that remain a mystery, and he gets struck down. Since no one has lower status than a childless widow, Judah gives her to his second son to produce an heir. This was according to the customs of the day.
The second son, Onan (from whom we get the term Onanism), is not receptive to this plan. He is willing to have sex with Tamar, but refuses to father a child. The implication is that he is reluctant to father a child that would lessen his own inheritance. In order to avoid getting her pregnant, he “spills his seed” on the ground. And as we all learned from Monty Python, “If a sperm gets wasted, God gets quite irate.” So Onan is also struck down by the wrath of God.
Judah’s youngest son is too young to father a child, and Judah is a little worried about Tamar’s effect at this point, so he sends her back to her father until the youngest comes of age. And then fails to make good on the deal when the time comes.
At some point, Tamar hears that Judah will be travelling in the area. She does what any good woman would do—namely, disguise herself as a prostitute in order to trick her father-in-law into impregnating her. And the best part is: her plan totally works. Of course, since Judah failed to recognize her, he orders her to be put to death when he hears she is pregnant.
Tamar, sensible as she is, managed to extract a payment from Judah that would confirm his identity. She sends word to him, he realizes that she is in the right and brings her back into his household. From this union, we get the forbearers of the Davidic line.
or are you beautiful because i love you?
7 years ago