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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Tamar (2)

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("a palm".) (See THAMAR.)

1. (See JUDAH.) Her importance in the narrative (Genesis 38:6-30) lies in her being the instrument (though in an incestuous way) of saving from extinction the family and tribe from which Messiah was to spring. Er and Onan were dead; and Judah's wife Bathshun. Shelab alone remained; and Judah's parental fears for him, lest if joined to Tamar he too like his brothers should die, were preventing Judah from giving him as the tribe law required (Deuteronomy 25:5; Matthew 22:24) to Tamar. She took the desperate measure of helping herself by incest. Pharez and Zarah were her sons by Judah; and a fruitful race followed, God not sanctioning but overruling evil to His own good purpose (Romans 3:5-8; Ruth 4:12; Ruth 4:22; Matthew 1:3).

2. Daughter of David and Maacah; the handsome Absalom's beautiful sister; forced by Amnon at his bad friend Jonadab's abominable suggestion (2 Samuel 13; 1 Chronicles 3:9). (See ABSALOM; AMNON; JONADAB.) Beauty is a snare unless grace accompany and guard it (Proverbs 31:30). Tamar excelled in baking palatable cakes (lebibah , "heartcakes," with spices as "cordials".) Amnon availed himself of this to effect his design, as if he wished to see the exquisite grace with which she baked before his eyes.

She remonstrated at his force, dwelling twice on such baseness being wrought "in Israel," where a higher law existed than in pagandom. Yet such was the low opinion she, in common with the rest of David's children, formed of the king's foolish fondness for his offspring that she believed it would outweigh his regard for the law of God against incest (Leviticus 18:9; Leviticus 18:11). Amnon was his oldest, son, from whom he would not withhold even a half sister! Each prince, it appears, had his own establishment, and princesses were not above baking; the king's daughters in their virginity were distinguished by "garments of divers colours."

3. Absalom's sole surviving child, beautiful as her aunt and father; married Uriel of Gibeah, and bore Maachah, wife of Rehoboam king of Judah (1 Kings 15:2; 2 Chronicles 11:20-22; 2 Chronicles 13:2), and mother of Abijah (2 Samuel 14:7).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Tamar (2)'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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