Judah and Tamar ~ Bible Study Questions

Judah and Tamar – Study One

Read Genesis 37:12-36

1. What was Judah’s involvement in his brother, Joseph’s, disappearance?

Read Genesis 38: 1-11

2. Why might Judah have moved away from his family and married a Canaanite?

3. What was the custom regarding a man who died without an heir? (see Deuteronomy 25:5-6)

4. Why did Tamar’s husbands Er and Onan die?

5. What was Judah’s responsibility to Tamar and to his own family?

6. What was Tamar’s impossible position at the end of verse 11? Can she remarry?

7. List Judah’s sins. Who has been hurt by them?

Read Hebrews 3:12-14.

8. Why is sin so detestable to God?

Judah and Tamar – Study Two

Read Genesis 38:12-30

1. What prompted Tamar to take action in v12-14? What did she do?

2. How did Judah react to the news of Tamar’s pregnancy?

3. What was Judah’s confession when the truth was revealed?

4. Tamar tricked Judah into making her the mother of his heirs. How were Tamar’s actions “righteous”?

Read Genesis 44:30-34

5. Judah begged for Benjamin’s life before the man he did not recognise as his brother Joseph. How has Judah changed? Who was he concerned for now?

Read Genesis 49: 8-12

6. How was Judah blessed by his father, Jacob?

Read Matthew 1:1-3

7. How were Tamar and Judah remembered in the New Testament? How did this fulfil Jacob’s blessing?

Read Proverbs 28:13

8. What can we learn from Tamar and Judah?

A Brief Prophetic History of Israel

by Deborah Horscroft

Below is a brief historical outline from Abraham to Jesus to help put our People of the Old Testament Bible studies into context.

The Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were the fathers of the nation that came to be known as Israel. Jacob (renamed Israel) had 12 sons and his descendents became the 12 tribes of Israel. They settled in Egypt around 1876 BC.

Moses and the Law: Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt around 1446BC. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, the generation who had rebelled against God and worshipped the golden calf had all died (other than the faithful Joshua and Caleb). Moses gave the people God’s law but did not enter the Promised Land. Joshua led the people into Canaan.

The Judges: For 480 years God’s people were ruled by Judges. Samuel was the last.

The Golden Age of Israel: Kings Saul, David and Solomon reigned over the united kingdom of Israel from 1050-930BC. Psalms and Proverbs were written during this period.

The Divided Kingdom: The Kingdom split into the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah), which maintained the dynastic line of David and contained the holy city of Jerusalem. Elijah, Jonah and Amos were prophets of this period.

The Fall of the Northern Kingdom 722BC: The Assyrians conquered Israel. Isaiah and Hosea were prophets during this period.

The Fall of Jerusalem 586BC: The people of Judah were taken into exile in Babylon. Jeremiah was the prophet of God’s judgement. Daniel and Ezekiel were written during the exile.

The Restoration 538BC: When Cyrus, king of Persia, conquered Babylon the Jewish exiles returned under Ezra and Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Esther and Zechariah were also written during this period.

Between the Testaments 432BC-5BC: After the last group of exiles had returned under Nehemiah and the last prophet, Malachi, had spoken, there was a time of scriptural silence until…

The Birth of Jesus the Christ 5 BC: Now under the rule of the Great Roman Empire, Israel awaited the promised Messiah, born in Bethlehem in the line of Judah.

This very sketchy history, including all the dates, was gleaned from the very useful notes in the Zondervan NIV Study Bible, especially the historical timeline.

Book Recommendation: Really Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs

Back cover blurb:

When it Comes to Badness, There’s Nothing New Under the Sun.

In her best-selling book Bad Girls of the Bible, Liz Curtis Higgs breathed new life into ancient stories depicting eight of the most infamous women in scriptural history, from Jezebel to Delilah. Biblically sound and cutting-edge fresh, Bad Girls already has helped thousands of women experience God’s grace anew by learning more about our nefarious sisters.

And there are more where they came from! With Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Liz reveals the power of God’s sovereignty in the lives of other shady ladies we know by reputation but have rarely studied in depth: Bathsheba, the bathing beauty. Jael, the tent-peg-toting warrior princess. Herodias, the horrible beheader. Tamar, the widow and not-so-timid temptress. Athaliah, the deadly daughter of Jezebel. And three ancient women whose names we do not know but who have much to teach us: the ashamed Adulteress, the bewitching Medium of En Dor, and the desperate Bleeding Woman.

Narelle: Before reading this book I was wondering how Liz would write a modern day fictionalised account of Tamar’s unique story. We read about a very wronged woman from Los Vegas who loses both of her husbands before being sent home to her family by her father-in-law. The chapter on Tamar gives us an insight into the struggles she faced and the enormous risks she took to regain her status and rightful inheritance.

The chapters are easy to read and contain a commentary on the Biblical story of each woman and discussion questions. I recommend this book to those looking to gain a deeper understanding of ‘bad girls’ including Tamar and Bathsheba.

Read first chapter FREE at Amazon.com

June Quiz answers: Quiz champion and eBook giveaway winner!

Congratulations to Jessie who has won an eBook copy of People of the Old Testament: Judah and Tamar, Rahab and is our June 2012 Bible Quiz Champion! Jessie is now listed in our Bible Quiz Honour Roll.

Jessie, please contact us at info [at] 30minutebiblestudies [dot] com to claim your prize.

The June Quiz questions and answers are:

1. Who were Tamar’s first two husbands?

Answer: Er and Onan.

2. Which city did Rahab live in before it was destroyed by the Israelites?

Answer: Jericho.

3. What was Joshua’s original name before Moses changed it?

Answer: Hoshea.

4. Name Judah’s sister who was mentioned in Genesis.

Answer: Dinah.

5. Name two sets of twin boys and their parents who were mentioned in Genesis.

Answer: Esau and Jacob (sons of Isaac and Rebekah), Perez and Zerah (sons of Judah and Tamar).

6. List all the tribes of Israel, including the priestly tribe and the tribes who received allotments of land in Canaan.

Answer: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Napthali, Gad, Asher, Benjamin, Manasseh, Ephraim.

Our featured eBook Bible Study of the month in June will be People of the Old Testament: Deborah, Ruth.

June Bible Quiz and eBook giveaway!

Narelle here. Today we’re holding our second Bible Quiz. The first person to correctly answer all six questions in a comment on this post before the deadline of midnight on Monday, June 25 (Australian Eastern Standard time) will win a copy of our June eBook Bible Study of the month People of the Old Testament: Judah and Tamar, Rahab from Smashwords and they will be named our June 2012 Bible Quiz Champion.

The winner will be announced in our post on Wednesday, June 27 and they will be listed in our Honour Roll on the blog.

We are also giving away a second copy of our June eBook Bible Study of the month People of the Old Testament: Judah and Tamar, Rahab from Smashwords to a reader who comments on this blog post and attempts to answer at least one question in our quiz before the deadline of midnight on Monday, June 25 (Australian Eastern Standard time). You don’t even have to provide a correct answer to enter the drawing!

And you can comment more than once to answer the quiz, although you must be the first person to include all six correct answers in the one comment to become our June 2012 Bible Quiz  Champion. Only one entry per person will be included in the eBook drawing.

Please include your name with your comment and leave an email address [ ] at [ ] dot [ ] where you can be reached or remember to check our Wednesday blog post. You can follow our blog by email, Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page to receive notifications of new blog posts. We will do a redraw if we are unable to contact the giveaway winner within the next week.

“Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.”

The June Quiz Questions:

1. Who were Tamar’s first two husbands?

2. Which city did Rahab live in before it was destroyed by the Israelites?

3. What was Joshua’s original name before Moses changed it?

4. Name Judah’s sister who was mentioned in Genesis.

5. Name two sets of twin boys and their parents who were mentioned in Genesis.

6. List all the tribes of Israel, including the priestly tribe and the tribes who received allotments of land in Canaan.

Good luck!

Book Recommendation: A Lineage of Grace (Unveiled) by Francine Rivers

Back cover blurb:

2009 Retailer’s Choice Award winner! In this compilation of the five books in the best-selling Lineage of Grace series by Francine Rivers, we meet the five women whom God chose – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. Each was faced with extraordinary – even scandalous – challenges. Each took great personal risk to fulfill her calling. Each was destined to play a key role in the lineage of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World.

Narelle: We can all empathise with Tamar when we read her story in the Unveiled novella. Tamar was a young Canaanite girl who ended up in an unhappy arranged marriage to Judah’s eldest son. Life went downhill fast for Tamar after her marriage. She was gracious in the face of intense suffering caused by the wickedness of those who were supposed to love and care for her. Even her father-in-law Judah did the wrong thing by her. Tamar took enormous risks to obtain the status that was rightfully hers.

A beautifully written story by Francine Rivers. We are shown not only the depths of  Tamar’s emotional pain but also her great strength of character and integrity. I recommend this novella collection to those looking for insightful and challenging Biblical fiction stories.

Read first chapter for FREE at Amazon.com

Sibling Rivalry: Joseph saves Judah and his brothers

by Narelle Atkins

We need to look at the relationship between Jacob and his wives to understand the sibling rivalry between Jacob’s sons. Jacob loved Rachel and he worked seven years for her father, Laban, to earn Rachel’s hand in marriage. But Laban also had an older daughter, Leah, and custom dictated the older daughter married before the younger daughter. In Genesis 29 we learned how Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah instead of Rachel. Jacob then worked another seven years to earn his right to marry Rachel, Leah’s beautiful younger sister.

The jealousy and rivalry between the two sisters was fierce. Although Leah bore sons for Jacob while Rachel remained barren, Jacob loved and favoured Rachel. As part of their sibling rivalry, Rachel and Leah’s maidservants, Bilhal and Zilpah, also bore sons for Jacob.

Eventually Rachel fell pregnant with Joseph. Jacob loved and favoured Joseph above all his children because he was Rachel’s son. Rachel died after she gave birth to her second son, Benjamin.

The sons of Leah, Rachel, Bilhal and Zilpah continued the sibling rivalry exhibited by Leah and Rachel. The older brothers hated Joseph because he was their father’s favourite son. Joseph told his brothers about his dreams, and how he had dreamed his brothers would all bow down to him. Joseph’s dreams incensed his brothers and they plotted to kill him.

The brothers threw Joseph into an empty cistern in the desert and Judah suggested they sell Joseph to the passing Ishmaelite traders instead of killing him. Joseph ended up in slavery in Egypt and, after interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams and earning his favour, Joseph was put in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

The brothers gave Joseph’s blood stained robe to their father, claiming Joseph must have been killed by an animal. Jacob was devastated and deeply mourned the loss of his son. Many years later a famine struck all the lands, including Canaan and Egypt. Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to buy food, and they don’t recognise their brother, Joseph.

Joseph kept his identity a secret and he longed to see his younger brother, Benjamin. But Jacob was very attached to Benjamin and wanted to keep him close by his side in Canaan. Benjamin accompanied his brothers on their second trip to Egypt. When Joseph set Benjamin up and planned to keep Benjamin in Egypt as his slave, Judah stepped in and was prepared to sacrifice his life and freedom in exchange for the freedom of his younger brother. In response to Judah’s plea, Joseph revealed his true identity to his brothers and they were happily reconciled.

Joseph asked Pharaoh to set aside land for his family in the region of Goshen to enable Joseph’s family to survive the next five years of famine. Joseph’s brothers were shepherds and the Egyptians refused to associate with shepherds, which was why Joseph requested his family have land separate from the Egyptians.

In the years to come the Israelites prospered in Egypt and grew in number, in keeping with God’s promise to Abraham that his numerous descendents would become a great nation. The opening chapters in the book of Exodus show how the Egyptians, under a new king who didn’t know about Joseph, oppressed Jacob’s descendents in Egypt.

Judah’s place in Israel’s history

by Narelle Atkins

Judah may not be as well known as his younger brother, Joseph, but he plays an important role in Israel’s history and God’s plan of salvation through Jesus. Judah is Jacob’s fourth son and his mother is Leah, Jacob’s first wife.

Jacob wrestles with God in Genesis 32:22-32 before he faces his estranged brother, Esau. In Genesis 27 we learn how Jacob, the younger son, had tricked his father Isaac into giving him the blessing intended for his elder brother, Esau. Jacob does not give in and wrestles with God until dawn. God blesses Jacob by giving him a new name, Israel, and Jacob’s twelve sons are the forefathers of the twelve tribes of Israel.

In Genesis 12:1-3 God made a covenant with Abraham, Judah’s great grandfather. Part of the covenant included God blessing all nations through Abraham and his descendents. When Jacob is old and knows his days on earth are numbered, he gathers his sons around him and blesses them.

Genesis 49:8-12 explains how Jacob blessed Judah and his descendents. Jacob tells Judah that his brothers will praise his name and bow down to him, and verse 10 includes references attributed to Judah’s descendents, King David and Jesus. Judah’s three older brothers were wicked and lost their birthright of leadership, which Jacob ultimately gave to Judah.

Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:21-38 outline the genealogy of Jesus and Judah’s place as a forefather of Jesus.

Judah and Tamar

by Deborah Horscroft

Judah and Tamar are one of the Bible’s most unlikely couples. Judah’s story starts in the middle of Joseph’s story in the book of Genesis. Judah sold his father’s favourite son (Joseph of the techni-coloured coat and unpopular dreams) into slavery, left home and married a Canaanite woman. They had three sons, at least two of whom turned out so badly that God killed them for their sinfulness.

Both sons had been married to a much-wronged young woman called Tamar, who was probably also a Canaanite. Neither brother had any children. According to ancient customs, later made law by God through Moses, Judah owed Tamar a roof over her head and the opportunity to bear children. Instead he sent her home in disgrace. When Tamar tricked Judah into giving her twins (read Genesis 38 for the details), Judah admitted that she had been more righteous than he.

Righteousness in the book of Genesis is not related to keeping the ten commandments (they haven’t arrived yet) but in believing in God’s incredible promises and acting upon that trust. Judah and his family were told they would become a great nation and inherit the promised land. All they had to do was raise lots of children to know and follow God and He would do the rest. Judah started badly by selling his own brother into slavery, marrying an idolatrous foreigner and raising evil sons. When Tamar forced him to do right by her, his life changed for the better.

By the time Judah faced Joseph in Egypt he had learned about self-sacrifice; he risked his life and liberty to save his brother Benjamin and to honour a promise to his father.

Tamar’s “righteousness” is hard to fathom, and Tamar and Judah’s twins Perez and Zerah were born in scandalous circumstances, yet Perez became the forefather of Boaz (Ruth’s husband), King David and ultimately of Jesus Christ.


The deadline to enter our Bible Quiz and eBook giveaway is midnight on JUNE 5 AEST.

The May 28 Bible Quiz and eBook giveaway post can be found here: https://30minutebiblestudies.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/may-bible-quiz-and-ebook-giveaway/