12 After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing his sheep, and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went with him.13 When Tamar was told, ‘Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,’ 14 she took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 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.’‘And what will you give me to sleep with you?’ she asked.17 ‘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.18 He said, ‘What pledge should I give you?’‘Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand,’ she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19 After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes again.20 Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her. 21 He asked the men who lived there, ‘Where is the shrine-prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?’‘There hasn’t been any shrine-prostitute here,’ they said.22 So he went back to Judah and said, ‘I didn’t find her. Besides, the men who lived there said, “There hasn’t been any shrine-prostitute here.”’23 Then Judah said, ‘Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughing-stock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn’t find her.’24 About three months later Judah was told, ‘Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.’Judah said, ‘Bring her out and let her be burned to death!’25 As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. ‘I am pregnant by the man who owns these,’ she said. And she added, ‘See if you recognise whose seal and cord and staff these are.’26 Judah recognised them and said, ‘She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.’ And he did not sleep with her again.”NIV
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things’’ (Romans 2:1)
Who was it who said, ‘When you point a finger at someone else, you have three pointing back at yourself?’ We have a tendency to shout loudly about our own sins when we see them in others.
This is undoubtedly a sad and sordid story. There seems to be no doubt that Tamar intended to obtain offspring through her father-in-law. Maybe it was because she knew him only too well that she realised disguising herself as a prostitute would work.
What atrocious double-standards men (in particular) can have (24). It was fine for Judah to use a prostitute, but not for Tamar to be one. But you can be sure your sin will find you out. Warren Wiersbe points out that the items left in (18) were like leaving behind fingerprints. Each man’s was unique. So, when Judah found himself caught in the searchlights (25, 26), he admitted it was ‘a fair cop’, and that Tamar was ‘’more righteous’’ than he. That, at least, was to his credit. Yet, as we have seen, the Lord overruled, and worked out His purposes through this sinner.
Come to think of it, He does the same thing through you and me!