Tamar, almost abandoned, torn between desire and duty! A battle for womanhood and posterity! A most unwilling father-in-law!


Judah tried to mask the tears. There was no gainsaying to the fact that he really loved his daughter-in-law. However, it has to be family first, then duty, but what happens when the family is also involved in this duty?
Zilpah had their necessary luggage strapped to her back. Tamar’s face was like the drizzling rain. It held so much pain and frustration, just like the cloud held rain droplets!
They started out on their journey, but not without, Shua, her mother-in-law, ensuring that all of Tamar’s property was evacuated. She lamented….whilst sprinkling some bottled contents of spiritual fragrance, with the intent of exorcising whatever evil spirits they were that Tamar had brought to her home. Zilpah made to respond back to Shua’s insults, but one look from Tamar made her discontinue her proposed session of exchange of words with her mother-in-law.

Sabre sighted two women from afar and ran towards them to discover they were Tamar and Zilpah. She could hardly contain her tears seeing the streaked lines of dried out tears and fresher lines in different contours as they made their way down Tamar’s cheeks.
Zilpah was not a very emotional woman, but she lost courage on seeing Mother and daughter in another session of teary outbursts…attracting other townspeople who made way to see Tamar.
Zared could not bear the shame of the on-going scene in his house, hence he ordered the three women to retire inside, whilst dismissing the outsiders. He couldn’t imagine the shame of his daughter leaving her matrimonial home, childless and almost abandoned. Who did he offend?

Zared made things clear to Tamar, she was now a grown woman, and as such, she must be ready to accept responsibilities for her actions…or rather, her fate.
This implied that Tamar was to see to her own needs, and not be a financial burden to her father, after all, she was married, and has little or no say, in her father’s house.
Tamar knew it was not about the responsibilities, she was neither physically challenged nor lazy, Zared was more concerned about his pride…one that he needs to protect!
Tamar accepted her fate, and made a living out of making pottery, she put her all into this trade, because she sought for ways to divest her feeble and bleeding emotional state, more appropriately.
Every morning, the cock crows always resonated with her hummings as she got busily steady in her little industry. Tamar was very enterprising and hoped for the best.
Although many men were aware of her marital ordeals, they still made advances at her, but none was bold enough to seek for her hand in marriage. f course, it would be customarily incorrect, being a married woman.
Tamar prayed daily to the God of the Hebrews whom she had come to love, trust and believe in…She knew she been strengthened to move on by a supreme deity, However, she could swear that the gods of her father’s house had no hand in her recent joyful hope and optimism.
She prayed to Him daily to protect Shelah, her husband-to-be, and to touch the heart of her father-in-law to redeem her from her father’s house…it was 7 years already, there was not much time anymore. How Tamar fantasized about giving birth to sons, that will serve the living God. How would that be actualized when she had never taken in?

One afternoon, Tamar was still trying to sleep, Zilpar stormed the little cubicle that she intentionally carved out for her resting pleasure. She was panting heavily, struggling to catch her breath…she obviously had something to say. Tamar was patient enough to allow her to catch her full breath, but what she heard from Zilpar was rather shocking.
She had spotted Shelah amongst a crowd of hagglers at the market stand, trying to make a good market price. She had done some eavesdropping to have observed that Shua passed on last spring, and the funeral rites had just been concluded. Her concern was not necessarily for the demise of the nagging woman, but for the young lad Shelah, who had become a full-grown man. Though he was looking assertive and looked down on the roadside sellers. Quite a spoilt brat, with a flock of young temple kedeshas (prostitutes) round about him.

Tamar let down a volume of saliva, as though, she had been having difficulty in swallowing. She tried hard to absorb the fact and process them accordingly. Had Judah forgotten that he has a daughter-in-law, languishing in feminine virility? But why….Shelah had grown. What stopped Judah from doing the needful, as regards the levirate laws? No one had informed her of her mother-in-law’s death, or even internment? Was she still a part of Judah’s family?
She had waited patiently for Judah for 7 years, and now, here was Shelah leading an immoral and care-free lifestyle. He might as well die, like Er and Onan, if she was married to him eventually!
The thoughts were ramming in on Tamar’s head, screaming for expression, but she made no comment, her face was shriveled from anguish!
What would become of her? She stood helplessly. Even if she confronted Judah over his unfair reluctance to do the needful, what was the guarantee that Shelah would not end up like his late brothers since the same bloody traits running through their veins?

Was she really accursed, as many have affirmed? Perhaps, she was destined to die as an old unhappy mare? Being widowed twice. It seemed her fate entirely depended on her father-in-law, who was unwilling to do the needful. Who would she turn to? It seemed God was far!

To be continued…


Tamar waited for Judah to fulfill his word to her many years ago, yet Judah was not forthcoming.

Do we believe that God would come right through for us? God can never renege on His promises over our lives, if we patiently wait on/for Him.

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