In the following years Tamar heard that her father-in-law Judah was visiting the city in which she lived. Judah’s wife the daughter of shore had died and when the time of morning was passed Judah was going up to the sheep shearers in Timnah with his friend Hirah, the Adullamite. I guess news travels far, so Tamar found out her father-in-law was going to make this trip, down to the city where she lived.
Let’s not forget that at this point Tamar had been waiting in her father’s home as a widow for Judah’s last son to come of age so she could be married to him. I could only imagine the betrayal of trust and love that Tamar felt towards her father-in-law after he had promised that when his third son, Shelah came of age, he was going to give her to him for a husband.
So, she planned very strategically to meet with her father-in-law. This meeting is not one that you would even think of and I for one had judged Tamar based on just how unorthodox and initially I thought self-centred this meeting was. Tamar took off her window’s clothes and disguised herself, with a veil and wrapped herself up in disguise. She then positioned herself at the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah, Judah’s destination. When Judah saw her he thought that she was a temple prostitute for she had covered her face as such woman did in those days. He turned to her by the road and said please, let me lie with you. Tamar didn’t just go with him again because she was strategic about what she was doing, and she knew exactly what the outcome was that she wanted. So, she asked “what will you give me if I came in to lay with you?” And for a man of Judah’s calibre, this was a very easy question for him so he answered and said oh I will give you one of my young goat from my flock. She said well, obviously you don’t have the goats with you here but what you can do is you can give me a pledge which is something that I can hold onto until you have delivered the goat and Judah agreed. So, he asked what pledge I would give you that would be satisfactory for you and she said give me your seal, your cord, and your staff that is in your hand. She might have all have said that you know what let me just take a picture of you and hold on to that or let me just take a DNA sample of you and hold on to that because all these three things that she took from him as a pledge were things that would later come to find out where very specific and unique to Judah as an individual. No one else had his seal no one else had his staff and no one else had his cord.
So after their little you know chit chat and bargain Judah eventually lay with Tamar which is biblical jargon for had sex with Tamar. After the intimacy, Tamar got up early the next morning gathered her things left and put on put back her widows clothing and just went back to her father’s home as if nothing had happened. Eventually Judah sent the goat, which remember he had promised to Tamar. He sent this through his friend, Hirah, Tamar was nowhere to be found. He inquired from the people around and said there was a prostitute that sat by the temple where can I find her? He was told you know what there is no prostitute that sat by this temple you might have made a mistake and there was no one here. So, the friend returned to Judah and said I can’t find the person. Judah said that you know what if we can find her that’s fine, we just keep the goat because if we keep looking for her and it is found out that I am the one who laid with her, it’s going to be embarrassing for me.
A few months passed and again as word travels fast Judah was told that you know your daughter-in-law Tamar whom you had sent home to wait for your youngest son to come of age so that he would marry her? Yeah, that same Tamar is pregnant. Judah was furious, he was upset, and he ordered her to be brought out and let her be burned because of her immorality. Again, let’s not forget that just a few months even before now Judah himself had laid with Tamar whom he thought was a prostitute which was also immoral. But as it pertains to Tamar he was upset and said let’s burn her for her immorality talk about double standards.
While she was being brought to be burned, she took all the things that Judah gave her as a pledge the seal the cord the staff and said to Judah I am with child by the man to whom these articles belong. And she added please examine them carefully and see clearly to whom these things belong the seal, the cord, and the staff. Judah recognized these articles as his and said you know what she is been more righteous than I have ever been in this matter why because I did not give her my son Sheila as I had promised. And so, tamer’s life was spared. And when the time came for her to give birth the word twins in her womb these twins would eventually be called Perez and Zerah who are in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
What lessons do we learn from Tamar in this part
- Re-writing your story: Let’s be honest Judah had no plans of given Shelah to Tamar for marriage. In which case Tamar would have remained a widow in her father’s home till she passed into glory. And as we saw in part one, Judah had the power or the prerogative to release Tamar and allow her to remarry from another family, but he didn’t do that for reasons known to him. Tamar eventually realized she had the power by the grace of God to rewrite her story. She marinated on the fact that for the larger part of her adult life her story had been narrated by being passed on from son to son to son and that was all that we would know about her until she said to herself not this widow. And once she came to the realization that she had the power to break through those limiting beliefs and to rewrite her story, she in fact did rewrite her story. Though her means may be questionable, she still did rewrite her story.
I want you to pause and reflect what part of your life do you need to rewrite. What narrative has been said about you or has been taught about you that you have believed for a while and that has become your identity. I want you to start reimagining what life could be like if you said not this again. I want you to reimagine what your life would be if you decided that from henceforth, I would not buy into this narrative about my life anymore and I choose to rewrite that story. I challenge you to do that. I challenge you to take control over what the narrative has been about you. Whatever position that you’ve been placed in that you feel that you are helpless and so you’re waiting for someone to come bail you out, what if that person cannot bail you out? What if that person decides not to bail you out what will become of you? And so, I want you from now onwards to approach life and realize that you know what no one is coming to bail me out of this thing called life. No one is going to bail me out of this narrative until I decide that I’m going to bail myself out.
- Strategic Planning and Positioning:
I find it hard to believe that Judah’s first time of visit in this city was when Tamar met him. He probably would have traveled to that city several times prior, and Tamar would have known or would have heard of it at some point just as she did this time. The only difference this time was that after she heard, she decided she needed to rewrite her story. She strategically planned and executed her plan. It goes without saying that you can plan all you want but if you do not pull those plans into action, you won’t get the desired results. For Tamar to be pregnant the only one time she had sex with her father-in-law meant that she was in her ovulation cycle. That is the only way she would have been pregnant by having sex with her father-in-law. Nothing else outside of that window would have worked. So, she had to be calculative enough to figure out “when I’m in my cycle and this is when I’m going to meet him and this is the conversation that I would have with him, that he would have sex with me and will be pregnant.”
On top of that for me not to be shamed or stoned to death I need to prove that he is responsible for my pregnancy. So, a goat would not be proof enough. The only evidence beyond doubt would be his articles which are his stuff his called and his seal. Tamar knew that as soon as she’s able to present these articles as evidence of the man who impregnated her, she would be vindicated and that’s exactly what happened. Why is this important? It’s important to note this because often we get into a space where we want to change our results, we want to be right our story, but we have no plans. In the off chance that we have a plan we do not strategically execute the plan. Tamar knew how to dress, she knew how to disguise herself enough not to be recognized, she knew where to sit, how to position herself so that Judah would not miss her. She knew the conversation to have with Judah and she knew how to steer the conversation to get what she wanted out of that situation. Again, I want you to think about your life what part of your life are you re-imagining what part of your life are you rewriting but narrative are you looking to rewrite what strategic plan are you putting in place to ensure that comes to pass and how are you making sure that you execute the plans that you have put in place together desired results.
When it’s all said and done Tamar said not this widow. This widow will not die a widow neither will she die motherless. She recognized that by to grace of God, I am the only one that can rewrite this story of mine and turn the end of the story. And once she had that shift in her mindset, she had a plan would she executed by positioning herself at the right place other right time having the right conversation doing the right thing disguising herself in the way that is going to give the desired results.
Daughter of Zion you cannot live a haphazard life and expect results to change. You cannot buy into the narrative of the world about you and expect that someone is going to bail you out of that narrative. When and if you find the courage to decide to rewrite, reimagine or retell that part of your story, that part of your life that thing that is holding you back right now know that planning alone is not enough you need to execute the plan. in the story.