March 11 I Friday
“When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. Not realising that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, ‘Come now, let me sleep with you.’” —Genesis 38:15-16
Death seemed to follow Judah. After his two sons died, Judah’s wife also passed away and he observed a time of mourning for her. Judah was left all alone with his only son, Shelah, and was making no step towards making good on his promise to Tamar, his widowed daughter-in-law. Hence, when Tamar heard that Judah was going to travel to another region nearby in order to shear his sheep and to visit his servants who were doing this, she displayed her tenacity by taking matters into her own hands to secure justice for what should have been done for her.
Knowing Judah’s character, she devised a plan whereby she decided to take off her widow’s clothes, put on some provocative clothing and stand by the roadside, waiting for her father-in-law to come. She knew that he would think that she was a prostitute and would want to render her services. True to form, Judah went to Tamar and said, “Come now, let me sleep with you” (Genesis 38:16).
Tamar responded, “And what will you give me to sleep with you?” Judah answered, “I’ll send you a young goat from my flock.” Tamar asked, “Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?” Judah said, “What pledge should I give you?” Tamar told him, “Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand” (Genesis 38:16-18). In our present day, Tamar’s request was like asking for someone’s wallet with their personal credit cards inside; the seal, the cord and the staff were all instruments of economics and were personal in nature. Judah agreed to Tamar’s request and handed her the items. Later, Judah sent his friend to find the woman, to give her the goat and to retrieve his items back. When the friend could not find her, Judah called off the search, because he knew what he did was of questionable character.
Three months later, Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.” Judah’s first response was, “Bring her out and let her be burned to death!” (Genesis 38:24). In Judah’s mind, this was his moment to finally get rid of the problem that was on his hands—Tamar.
The man, who sold his brother into slavery, deceived his father, dishonoured his daughter-in-law when she was a widow and slept with what he thought was a prostitute, was now ready to play the judge. How easy was it for Judah to look at Tamar and see her sin, but not his own? How many of us are guilty of casting judgment upon others when we should be examining our own selves?
Prayer: Lord God, I confess how quick I am to judge another when I should be examining my own heart before You. Please forgive me of my trespasses against You. Thank You, Lord.