Ruth 3, Part 2


A study of the story of Tamar. By understanding this story, we can compare it to Ruth's story and better understand it.

Tamar is very controversial. Most churches don't want to deal with her story. But we will! In Ruth 4:12 her name is mentioned with respect. Why, by the way, was her name brought up in the book of Ruth? And in Matthew 1 where Jesus's genealogy is given, there are only four women from the entire bible whose names are mentioned there. One of them is Tamar. What an honor! But what makes her so special?

Primary points to learn:

  • Both Ruth and Tamar were rightous women.
    • These Christian were "warrior women", i.e. Proverbs 31 women. They added actions to their faith.
    • Both needed a kinsman redeeper, and obtained one in different ways.
  • In certain certain circumstances it is OK to keep secrets from certain people.
    • My wife knows my password to get into my online bank account. I keep it secret from others.
    • I keep the door of my house locked. Only certain people have access. The outside world doen't need to know my possessions.
    • Jesus kept secrets: In Mathew 30 he healed a blind man and told him to tell no one.
    • God keeps secrets: "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father".Mat 24:36

Secrets... God kept secrets

  • In Mathew 13:44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
  • In proverbs 11:13 A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.
  • Did Jesus have secrets? Yes. In Mathew 13:10-16 is stated the purpose of the parables:

      10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
      11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
          ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
          And seeing you will see and not perceive;
          15  For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
          Their ears are hard of hearing,
          And their eyes they have closed,
          Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
          Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
          So that I should heal them.’
      16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 
  • In Matthew 9:28-30 Jesus said "See that no one knows it:

      28 And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”  They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”
      29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.”
  • In Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
  • More verses at:

Virginia Hall, a modern day heroine

Virginia Hall pic

An example of an exceptional woman that worked in secret in WWII was Virginal Hall. She was a WWII spy. Her story: link

  • Responsible for more jailbreaks, sabotage missions and leaks of Nazi troop movements than any spy in France.
  • Hall studied in France and Austria in the 1920s, and spoke five languages
  • She was very tough. At one time she narrowly escaped the Germans who were trying to catch her. With her artificial leg she walked over a 7,500 foot pass in the Pyrenees to Spain, covering up to 50 miles over two days in considerable discomfort. She had given her artificial leg its own codename "Cuthbert", and she signalled to SOE (Special Operations Executive) before her escape that she hoped that Cuthbert would not give trouble on the way. The SOE did not understand the reference and replied, "If Cuthbert troublesome, eliminate him".
  • She helped to train three battalions of Resistance forces to wage guerrilla warfare against the Germans.
  • She eluded the Gestapo and contacted the French Resistance in central France, using the code name "Diane".
  • To avoid suspicion, Hall dyed her hair grey, shuffled her feet to hide her limp, and even had her teeth fillings re-done.


  • Why did Virgiia Hall have to keep secrets?
  • Did she break the law?

Judah and Tamar, Genesis 38

Time period

Genesis 37 - Joseph sold by his brothers. Genesis 38 - The story of Judah and Tamar. Genesis 39 - Josepth sold into slavery. In other words, Judah still had, so to speak, the blood of Joseph on his hands. Genesis 44 - Judah repents... learns to take responsibilty. Therefore we have an idea of the character of Judah during Genesis 38.


  • Would Judah be predisposed to act in a righteous manner at this time in his life?


First Tamar loses her husband. Then she is rejected, in the most humiliating way, by Onan. In doing this, Onan was saying that it would be better for his seed to rot on the ground than to be in Tamar’s womb. Then Onan dies and Judah himself, in a very dishonest way, rejects her again and she is sent away to live with her father.

Like Tamar, Jesus was rejected. Matthew 21:42: Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, 'THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES'?


  • What did Tamar think about her plight in life at this time in her life?


But Tamar refuses to take this. She sees what Judah is doing and she hatches a plan. Just as Judah’s father, Jacob, got what had been rightfully his by deceiving Isaac, so too Tamar tricks Judah into giving her what was rightfully hers.


  • Should Tamar have just sat back and waited for others to solve her problem?
  • If so, what do you think would have happened?


Like Tamar deceived Judah, so did Jacob deceived Esah. Jacob dress with animal skins around his arms to fool his father in order to receive the birth right. Jacob did this because he had an innate desire for God in his heart. Esau sold any connection with God for a bowl of soup.


  • Did Tamar break any laws?


Tamar could have rejected this evil family. Onan, Er, and even Judah were both evil. Though perhaps God saw potential in Judah. God, I believe, gave Tamar the insight and drive to see beyond these men's flaws. She saw God.

Jacob had to trick his way to get the birth right. Perhaps the wrong way to get it, the God saw that Jacob had a desire for him. Later in Jacob's life, God taught him, like a father teaches his son, a better way to follow him.


  • Did Tamar do the right thing in deceiving Judah?
  • Was there a better way to obtain a kinsman redeemer?
  • Were Tamar's motives right?


4 So she took off her widow’s garments, covered herself with a veil and wrapped herself... 

19 So she arose and went away, and laid aside her veil and put on the garments of her

26 And he (Judah) never knew her again (in other words, he never had sex with her again)

Tamar switch clothes from widow's garments, which represent death, to prostitutes garments, representing sin, and back to widows garments.

  • Was Tamar really a prostitute?
  • If not, why did she do what she did?

The Disguise

To disguise herself, she dressed as prostitute... that is she dressed herself with sin. She had to dress herself as a sinner to enter Judah's world.

Like Jesus bore our sins, so did Tamar bear, or wear, Judah's sin.

1 Peter 2:24

24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins,
might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 


  • Was the disguise necessary?
  • Was there a better way?


Was Tamar rightous?

26 So Judah acknowledged them and said, “She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to
Shelah my son.”


  • Was Judah rightous?
  • Was Tamar really rightous?
  • How rightous was she? Just a bit more that Judah? (Consider her motives. Consider Jacob's motives.)


  • Tamar boldly took actions to right an injustice. She didn't just sit back and wait for things to correct themselves.
  • In an evil world, people only act in their own interests; not in God's and not in yours. Therefore sometimes secrets are a necessary.