Tamar and the Townspeople

“He asked the townspeople, ‘Where is the temple prostitute who was at Enaim by the wayside?’ But they said, ‘No prostitute has been here.’”—Genesis 38:21

A wink and a smile….that’s what I imagine the townspeople doing after the man asked where she was. They were going to show him. A woman is not defined by her actions.

In seminary, I attended a J term course on domestic violence. One of the places we visited was Genesis House in Chicago. I remember the humanity and vulnerability I saw in these women as they shared their stories of escaping through prostitution. They were more than faces in a crowd. I saw them fully as beloved children of God.

Tamar, Bathsheba, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary are beloved children of God too. Tamar is not who others say she is. She is a mother. She is badass and I love how the townspeople advocate for her in this story. He is going to have to look a lot longer and harder for her. And she isnt going to let him get by because he’s already screwed his brother over in death. If she has the last word, she’s going to screw him over.

Tamar shows us what it means to be a badass woman in the Bible!

Badass Tamar

“But since Onan knew that the offspring would not be his, he spilled his semen on the ground whenever he went in to his brother’s wife, so that he would not give offspring to his brother.”—Genesis 38:9

Semen and blood spilled out

A mighty grudge he held

Even in death screwing his brother over

What the hell?

Onan must have been hanging onto one heck of a grudge. He did everything in his power to make sure his brothers name would not be carried on. Spilling his seamen on the ground. Dirty, unholy. Tamar is ultimately the result of this grudge.

Oh what a mighty woman she is. Still carrying this child. Tamar a harlot in many aspects of the word. But truly Tamar is a woman of God called to carry out a promise; to carry on the promise of the gospel.

I want to be a badass like Tamar!

The Commodity of Time

“It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and settled near a certain Adullamite whose name was Hirah.“—Genesis 38:1 (NRSV)

Advent is upon us. And the season of Advent is all about time. Time to prepare for the birth of this newborn king. Time for Mary to bear the Christ child. Time for Tamar to bore her sons. Time for all of us to prepare for what is to come.

Tamar and Mary along with so many women understand the commodity of time. Nine months their bodies carried a child. Nine months to bring about justice for the world. Nine months that remind us of the power of a woman. Nine months that lead to a holy disruption; the cries of the newborn king to rouse a deaf world.

A deaf world that often forgets that time is a commodity in our world. We need these holy cries to remind us that we need time for peace not war. Time for life and time for death. And time with those we love. The truth is that time is a gift and often that gift can be lost so easily.

So this Advent season, I want to use my time more wisely, I want to use my time; time to pray for peace, time to pray for love, time to pray for those who are grieving. But most of all, to dwell in the time that has been given me.

Time to wait, watch, and wonder what is to come. To wait for this holy child who comes as the light in the midst of the darkness. To wait for Emmanuel; God with Us.”