The Director's Bible - 017

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Tamar's mystery revealed

It is clear the gospel message is hidden in the Old Testament. The author of Hebrews declares: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (Hebrews 1:1, KJV). It seems these “divers manners” include what one might call “dinner theater.” Shakespeare quipped “all the world’s a stage” (“As You Like It” Act 2.7). This notion human drama and theatrical precedence is seen early in the dramaturgy of biblical literature. One example of the hidden gospel is in the story of Tamar in Genesis 38, where we have, it seems, a cast of characters acting out a play within the play as it were, as the Gospel story metaphorically hidden, can be incontrovertibly revealed in the narrative.

Dramaturgically, we have Tamar as a parallel character to Mary (mother of Jesus) in the Gospels, and by juxtaposing the predicament of Tamar in (Genesis 38:24) and Mary (Matthew 1:18), we see both being with child out of wedlock, faced certain ruination: “And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt” (KJV). Compared to Mary as “Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily” (KJV). However, in parallel fashion, when the true father of each child is discovered, both women are honored (Genesis 38:26, cf Luke 1:42). Judah declares “She hath been more righteous than I.” The Hebrew word for “righteous” צָדַק. (tsadaq) denotes “to have a just cause, be in the right; to be just (of God); and to be just, be righteous (in conduct and character)” (Davidson 640).

Likewise, the reversal of reputation for Mary is proclaimed by Elizabeth when she proclaims “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (Luke 1:42). The Greek for blessed, εὐλογέω (eulogeō), denotes “to praise, celebrate with praises; to invoke blessings; to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers” (Kittle 2: 754-765). In both cases we have a plot reversal, with Tamar and Mary, who face certain ruin—given their respective predicaments— are lauded with tributes.









Tamar's mystery revealed Tamar and Mary were in a similar predicament. Tamar has been discovered to be with child and was going to be killed. (Ge 38:24) Mary was discovered with child and was going to be put away. (Mt 1:18-19) When the true father of each child was discovered, they both were honored. (Ge 38:26, Lk 1:42) Such a coincidence. Each had wanted an assurance of a promise. Tamar had received three things from Judah (Ge 38:18) and Mary had received three saying from the angel that announced her pregnancy. (Lk 1:35) These are easy parallels to understand, but they are easy to dismiss as accidents of history until we examine the whole story:

The appointment Judah and Tamar God and Mary Ge 38:14 Tamar met Judah before Timnath (the appointment) Mary met God before the appointed time of Christ. “It is appointed unto man once to die…” (Heb 9:27)

The scapegoat Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar was offered a goat by Judah. (Ge 38:17) Mary was offered THE scapegoat, since the angel told her “He will save his people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21) (words used of the scapegoat)(1) (1) And In the ritual of the scapegoat, two goats are presented. They represent Jesus before and after the cross. One is killed for a burnt offering. In the burnt offering, the priest do not get to eat any part of it since it is completely consumed by fire. It represents the Son’s total devotion to the Father which we cannot participate in, but only stand and watch in awe. The smell of the burnt offering is a sweet savor unto the Lord since there is not hint of sin involved in it. You can see the first instance of a burnt offering is when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac AND Isaac was willing to be obedient to his father. (Ge 22:2 ) The second goat is released into the wilderness to carry away the sins of the people. It represents Christ’s resurrection, which demonstrates that his sacrifice for us was accepted. Since Jesus is the fulfillment of the scapegoat images, Mary had also been promised a goat. The virgin birth Judah and Tamar God and Mary Judah told Tamar he would send a goat. The word he used also means ‘sow’. (Ge 38:17) God told Mary she would conceive miraculously by the Holy Ghost. God would 'sow' the goat. (Lk 1:35)

The need for assurance Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar wanted an assurance that she would receive the goat, (Ge 38:17) Mary asked for an assuring word of explanation. (Lk 1:34)

Three assurances Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar was given the staff or rod which represents the power of God in discipline. (Pr 22:15, Pr 23:13, Pr 29:15) Mary was told the power of the Highest would overshadow her. (Lk 1:35) She was not being disciplined, but God’s discipline upon mankind as borne by His Son and her son, overshadowed her life. Tamar was given the signet ring. (Ge 38:18) A signet ring declares the wearer to be a son. Mary was told that he would be called the Son of God. (Lk 1:35)

Tamar was given bracelets. (Ge 38:18) In a very literal sense, bracelets were given to signify a marriage, much like we now give rings. But the real clue to the hidden meaning comes from the law of cleanliness: Nu 19:15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering [bracelets] bound upon it, is unclean. Paul was called a chosen vessel (Ac 9:15) and in other images we find that we are vessels as well. Since Tamar was a vessel that had bracelets, she was not unclean. Mary was told that she was not unclean because although she was with child, it was by the Holy Ghost. (Lk 1:35)

Twins Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar bore twins (Ge 38:27) Mary bore the dual-natured God-Man. (Joh 8:58)

The names of the twins mean 'breaking forth' and 'rising sun' Jesus was called Dayspring.(Lu 1:78)

The appointment

Judah and Tamar God and Mary
Ge 38:14 Tamar met Judah before Timnath (the appointment) Mary met God before the appointed time of Christ. “It is appointed unto man once to die…” (Heb 9:27)

The scapegoat

Judah and Tamar God and Mary
Tamar was offered a goat by Judah. (Ge 38:17) Mary was offered THE scapegoat, since the angel told her “He will save his people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21) (words used of the scapegoat)(1)

(1) And In the ritual of the scapegoat, two goats are presented. They represent Jesus before and after the cross. One is killed for a burnt offering. In the burnt offering, the priest do not get to eat any part of it since it is completely consumed by fire. It represents the Son’s total devotion to the Father which we cannot participate in, but only stand and watch in awe. The smell of the burnt offering is a sweet savor unto the Lord since there is not hint of sin involved in it. You can see the first instance of a burnt offering is when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac AND Isaac was willing to be obedient to his father. (Ge 22:2 )

The second goat is released into the wilderness to carry away the sins of the people. It represents Christ’s resurrection, which demonstrates that his sacrifice for us was accepted.

Since Jesus is the fulfillment of the scapegoat images, Mary had also been promised a goat.

The virgin birth

Judah and Tamar God and Mary
Judah told Tamar he would send a goat. The word he used also means ‘sow’. (Ge 38:17) God told Mary she would conceive miraculously by the Holy Ghost. God would 'sow' the goat. (Lk 1:35)

The need for assurance

Judah and Tamar God and Mary
Tamar wanted an assurance that she would receive the goat, (Ge 38:17) Mary asked for an assuring word of explanation. (Lk 1:34)

Three assurances

Judah and Tamar God and Mary
Tamar was given the staff or rod which represents the power of God in discipline. (Pr 22:15, Pr 23:13, Pr 29:15) Mary was told the power of the Highest would overshadow her. (Lk 1:35) She was not being disciplined, but God’s discipline upon mankind as borne by His Son and her son, overshadowed her life.
Tamar was given the signet ring. (Ge 38:18) A signet ring declares the wearer to be a son. Mary was told that he would be called the Son of God. (Lk 1:35)
Tamar was given bracelets. (Ge 38:18) In a very literal sense, bracelets were given to signify a marriage, much like we now give rings. But the real clue to the hidden meaning comes from the law of cleanliness:
Nu 19:15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering [bracelets] bound upon it, is unclean.

Paul was called a chosen vessel (Ac 9:15) and in other images we find that we are vessels as well. Since Tamar was a vessel that had bracelets, she was not unclean.

Mary was told that she was not unclean because although she was with child, it was by the Holy Ghost. (Lk 1:35)

Twins

Judah and Tamar God and Mary
Tamar bore twins (Ge 38:27) Mary bore the dual-natured God-Man. (Joh 8:58)
The names of the twins mean 'breaking forth' and 'rising sun' Jesus was called Dayspring.(Lu 1:78)

Usurping second son

Have you ever wondered why so many second sons in the Bible got the inheritance rather than the first sons as tradition demands? It is a prophecy that Christ will be the second man, the second Adam. (1Co 15:47, 1Co 15:22)

Judah and Tamar God and Mary
The image of Tamar’s twin sons would be incomplete if the second son did not get the inheritance, and sure enough, they wrestle in the womb, and the second son emerges first and receives pre-eminence. (Ge 38:28-29) In the flesh Jesus died desolate. As God’s only begotten son, he did not succeed in being fruitful and multiplying. Only in his resurrection, as the mystery second son, did he receive the full blessing and inheritance given to Abraham. (Ge 12:2)

Three chances to get it right

God wants living children, not children dead in trespass and sin.

Judah had three sons: Er, Onan and Shelah representing Adam, Israel and Joseph.

Er

Er represents Adam. Adam was alive until he ate the forbidden fruit and he died. (Ge 2:17) (Be careful… he died the day he ate the fruit or you call God a liar). Since he had children in his image and likeness, (Ge 5:3) all his children were also dead. (1Co 15:22, Ro 5:14)

But in riddle Er means ‘awake’. Awake is the opposite of asleep… and if you are asleep, you are dead and in the dust… so Er was called “Alive from the dust” as was Adam.

Adam blew it. And God killed Er because of sin. (Ge 38:7)

Onan

Onan was mistakenly called ‘vigorous’. We say it was a mistake because he was named by his mother and all the females of the Bible represent those who do not see clearly (for Eve was deceived). It was a mistake to call him vigorous because he too was dead as was Israel; God’s son who was supposed to fulfill the Leverate law on behalf of Adam.

God chose Israel through Abraham to bear living children (Jer 7:22-23) But Israel pursued the flesh and refused to do their duty to God in bearing living children, instead wasting their seed in the earth… (Dt 1:26, Dt 1:43, Dt 8:20, Jud 2:17, 2Ki 17:14, 2Ch 24:19, 2Ch 33:10, Ne 9:29, Ps 81:11, Isa 28:12, Isa 30:15, Isa 42:24, Jer 13:11, Jer 29:1, Eze 20:8, Mt 23:37, Lu 13:34)

…just as Onan did. (Ge 38:9)

Israel blew it.

Shelah

Shelah wasn't given a chance. The genealogy in Matthew tells us that Joseph, the husband of Mary, is the rightful heir to the throne of David. But he is not given the chance to bear living children. When it is his turn, God himself steps in to bear the first fruits of living children. (1Co 15:20) Likewise, Shelah is not given the chance to bear a son when the time was right. (Ge 38:11, 14)

Smite the earth with a curse

John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy of the returning Elijah. Elijah had made the rain stop until he spoke. (1Ki 17:1) Since water represents the word of God, there was no word of God for four hundred years until John spoke. His task in fulfilling the prophecy was to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and of the children to the fathers. (Lu 1:17) The consequence of failure was that the earth would be smited with a curse. (Mal 4:6)

Timnath

In the narrative of Tamar, Judah was going to Timnath. But why?

Gen 38:12 … and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13 And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep.

The word for shear is cut off . Hirah means noble family and Adulamite means justice of the people. God was going to the appointed time to cut off his sheep.

God threw Adam out of the garden, killed all but eight in a flood, killed a whole generation of Israel in the desert and now was going up to the appointed time to cut off the sheep. You may be looking forward to some future judgment, but the time of the cross was the time of the final judgment where God would have cut off all the sheep had it not been for Christ, the Lamb of God. When he bore all our sin on the cross what more could be judged?

God was ready to give men justice, and He did in Christ who reconciled grace and law.

Desolate women

Have you ever wondered why there were so many desolate, barren women mentioned in the Bible? It’s prophecy! The world was full of dead children, dead in trespass and sin. It was long waiting for the fulfillment of the prophecy given to Eve. (Ge 3:15) The time was right as Tamar removed her widows garments. (Ge 38:14) And the time was right as Mary was selected to be the mother of Jesus. (Lk 1:69-70)

The clift of the rock

When Moses was in the physical presence of God he was hidden in the clift of the rock. (Ex 33:22) Tamar hid herself with a veil. The word is pronounced tsaw-eef. Is it an accident that there is a word pronounced saw-eef that means clift?

The rock is Christ. In sensus plenior, all the rocks are Christ and they are all one rock. In this reasoning, the rock that was split in the desert, (Ex 17:6) is the same rock that Moses was hidden in. It was split by being smitten by the rod (of discipline of God). The real horror of the cross was not the physical agony of death. God, himself, was split as the Father removed himself from His Son on the cross. When Moses was hidden in the clift of the rock, it represented trusting in the cross to preserve you in the face of God.

As Tamar covered herself with the veil, it tells us that Mary was covered with the grace of the cross in the presence of God.

The death of Christ

Gen 38:19 And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.

Mary would be a barren mother again before she would see the first fruits. Jesus had to die before he would be fruitful. (Joh 12:24)

Did not possess the goat.

Tamar did not take possession of the promised goat. (Ge 38:20) Just as Mary knew that Jesus had to be about his Father’s business. (Lk 2:49)

God’s only begotten son

Gen 38:26 And he knew her again no more.

He bore our sin

The two sons together represent Christ. The first son represents Jesus in the flesh who bore our sin. The narrative identifies the first son as the one who wore the scarlet thread. Many may debate it, but with all the evidence presented thus far, the scarlet thread represents our sin. (Isa 1:18) The resurrected Christ, the Son who was fruitful and multiplied, does not have the scarlet thread because Christ died once for our sin. (Heb 9:27, Heb 6:6)

No doubt

There can be no doubt that the prophecy was put there by the hand of God and not by the wisdom or knowledge of the human author.

Widow with child

It was recently suggested that since I did not deal with the "Widow with child" imagery suggested by Tamar, that the whole thing is cast in doubt. This is not a logical statement. Even if it could not be correlated, there's a whole lot of stuff that one has to attribute to my cleverness, or divine authorship.

But to deal with it, where was Joseph at the time Jesus began his ministry? Mary was a widow with child. When did Joseph die? Sometime between when Jesus was 12 and 30. His 'weaning'happened at the wedding of Cana, where before then he could show the place he was staying, and after he could not.

The proper answer is that the desolate woman motif is suggested by widows, barren women and virgins. Desolation is 'not bearing fruit'.

Go to Ch. 18