Proof You Matter: Look at Tamar



Odd to many, I love the genealogies of the Bible. In them, we find a rich history. I cannot breeze through them because each name tells a story that takes time to understand in order to uncover the depth of meaning.

You matter. You’re not a name in a list of names, just another “was begat by.” God sees now, in the present. His response to you often comes in the future, but he never will let the righteous be forsaken (Ps. 37:25).


Women matter to God–despite the position some churches relegate them to. The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew  1 barely begins when Tamar’s story arises.

She’d been bought as a wife for Judah’s eldest son Er, a wicked man. Because of his wicked character, God killed him. According to Jewish law, the second son had to marry the widow and raise a son for the deceased. Onan, as second, married Tamar.

However, being the levirate cost financially for the second husband. He’d lose a minimum of one-fourth of Judah’s estate, possibly half. If he had no children of his own, then he loses more.

According to Jewish Women’s Archive, (a very interesting website) Judah blamed Tamar for the death of his two sons (Genesis 38:11). By custom, Tamar
should have been given to his youngest, Shelah. He feared she’d cause his death, too. Judah deceived Tamar and she never married Shelah, so she took matters into her own hands.

When Judah went out sheep shearing after his wife died, he found Tamar standing by the side of the road–a presumed

prostitute seeing as no virgin or married woman would do this. He laid with her. In order to do so, he promised her a kid from his flock. As a pledge, he gave her his signet ring, a cord, and his staff.

She becomes pregnant and so secures her place in a prominent family, rather than an outcast, unmarriageable woman, a burden of her family.

Of course, Judah has a hissy fit. Threatens to ruin her, and discovers he was the villain, not her.

She gives birth to twins–essentially replacing the two sons Judah lost.

So how does Tamar prove you matter:

  1. She was assertive. She understood her rights. She didn’t drift in circumstances thrust on her.
  2. She wasn’t a slave to convention.  Acting like a prostitute could’ve made things worse quickly. Judah could’ve had her stoned had he not accepted his own iniquity.
  3. She was deemed righteous. In verse 26, Judah recognizes his sin and her righteousness.
  4. She earned a spot in the opening lines of Matthew. Judah’s third son Shelah’s lineage didn’t matter. Tamar’s did. Judah’s wife wasn’t the ancestor of Jesus. Tamar was.
  5. Tamar was abused and neglected, but God lifted her up. We may not see our blessings ever, but God guarantees them. Ps. 37: 25, the beatitudes, Romans 8:28 which states that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord, assure us we matter.

Throughout this genealogy in Matthew, women who played the prostitutes, or were true harlots, or were despised Gentiles, or the wives of others, or unmarried, pregnant teenagers played critical roles in the future of Jesus Christ and our salvation.

Don’t let anyone make you feel you are a second-class citizen because of your sex, your past, your disability, mental or marital status. You are valuable. You play a role in God’s plan.

In Borrowed Lives–Meredith Jaynes is made to feel that she is a sinner, the author of her fate. A lie like that done to Tamar. Read the book and be transformed. For more info: click here.



  1. Cleo Lampos says:

    I just read Francine River’s historical fiction that had Tamar as one of the women. It was an eyeopener. Your comments are very well founded and well written. Yes, our name is important.

    • Carol McClain says:

      Cleo, I’ll have to find that book. Tamar was ill-treated and accused of murdering her husbands. Still, it’s her lineage that leads to Jesus.

  2. Peggy Ellis says:

    Carol, you made an excellent choice for March–Women’s History Month. I’m not as familiar with Tamar as I should be, so thanks for sharing her life story. Also, I really like your reference to Borrowed Lives and the link to the book. Excellent!

    • Carol McClain says:

      After years of running a blog, I finally realized how to advertise. No wonder my sales had been poor. Planning on changing that!

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