Genesis 38:24, The Origin of the Jews

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 have her burned to death!”

//Interesting story, no?

The Jews, you might remember, take their name from the tribe of Judah. It quickly became the dominant tribe, the home of Jerusalem, and the survivor when the Assyrians conquered and scattered the ten northern tribes. Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, is the ancestor of the Jews, of King David, and eventually of Jesus.

But all of this nearly didn’t happen. Judah wouldn’t have had any children at all, were it not for his conniving daughter-in-law, who lured him to her by disguising herself as a prostitute. The Bible seems not to condemn her actions at all, but admires her initiative. In retrospect, we can understand why! There would be no Jews today without her, for she bore Judah’s child.

But the plan to bring about a nation of Jews was nearly derailed by Judah’s piety. When told that his daughter-in-law carried a child by prostitution—not knowing it was his own child—he ordered her death. Thankfully, Tamar had kept Judah’s signet and walking stick from his visit, and could thus prove that it was he who had slept with her. So, she survived, the baby survived, the tribe of Judah survived, and the Jewish nation came about.

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