Awesome Hands – part 28: “He thought her a harlot”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Audio Links

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Video Links

Awesome Hands – Part 28

“He thought her a harlot”

Many times in our lives, we find ourselves misjudging situations based on what we see on the surface.

This can often times create a worsened situation because just like adding fuel to a fire, we too, can add more friction to any given situation by simply misjudging it.

If we think we have been wronged, we should address the issue, but we need to be willing to accept that details are usually made clearer with inquiry and not murkier.

“He thought she was a prostitute,” is going to focus on the last 16 verses in chapter 38 this week.

In this study, we are going to see that Judah misjudges who he is dealing with just by looking on the outward appearance of the situation and not realizing that who he is really dealing with is his last son’s future and promised wife, Tamar.

Instead of looking past the covering that Tamar has placed on her face, Judah accepts the outward deception and doesn’t try to discover what is just under the surface of the situation.

The Lord is at the middle of this entire scenario of course, so we know that He will bring about a good resolution from the evil that is committed by Judah.

“The harlot”

In the last study, we ended with Judah seeing a covered Tamar.

Gen 38:15 When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.

Before this event took place, we saw the death of Judah’s first two sons, Er and Onan. Judah sent Tamar off to be a widow in her father’s house until Shelah was grown.

Gen 38:11 Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.

However, Judah did not keep his promise and instead went about doing something else entirely. This is brought to Tamar’s attention so Tamar sets off to rectify this situation.

This of course is being told to us for our admonition and is a story which is interjected right after Joseph is sent as a slave to Egypt and just before we see what happens to Joseph while he starts off his new life in Egypt.

Gen 38:14 And she put her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.

We see that Tamar has now put off former things and is now coming to the new circumstances with a different mind.

For us, we are being told many things about how our walk progresses with the Lord.

Like those of the house of Israel who were brought into Egypt, brought out of Egypt, and then given commandments on how to live their lives when in this new set of circumstances, we see that Tamar shows us a similar pattern.

Remember, Tamar represents Christ and how He works in our walks and lives with Him. Here is how Israel is worked with when they are given the ten commandments.

Exo 34:27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.
Exo 34:28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
Exo 34:29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
Exo 34:30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
Exo 34:31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
Exo 34:32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.
Exo 34:33 And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.
Exo 34:34 But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
Exo 34:35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

There is a process of judgment that is being worked with Israel in the flesh and Israel which is “above”.

The tribes of Israel are brought into Egypt by what is going to happen to Joseph while He is in Egypt.

Likewise, we are being told in this story of Judah and Tamar, what happens to us when Christ starts to work with us in the Spirit.

Tamar is brought into the story as a wife. She is then told to become a widow, and she now is placing a veil over her face to set the stage for what happens with Judah.

When Moses places a veil over his face, he had just come from being with the Lord forty days and forty nights.

Likewise, Christ spends this amount of time in the wilderness being tempted.

Luk 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
Luk 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

For this accounting in Noah, we can see what one type and shadow of the veil means.

Gen 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
Gen 7:12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
Gen 7:13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;

When we see that forty days and forty nights precedes the covering with a veil, we know that there is a transition being made.

It was in the 600th year of Noah’s life that a witness was coming to the earth in the form of rain drowning out everything about the “old world” that was being judged.

The “windows of heaven” open up and the earth is flooded. There is no escape from the Lord for the old man.

It is during these times in our lives that we can easily mis- judge the judgment that the Lord is sending into our lives. This is one of the reasons why the Holy Spirit inspires that this story be inserted into scripture where it is.

Joseph is going to be used to do many things to bring about being set up with the power of Pharoah so that “many will be saved alive”.

Likewise, we are being setup in our lives in the same way but first the death of the old man must come to us.

We can easily look at all the things that happen to us and say that the Lord doesn’t care about us because we have severe trials and tribulations.

Truthfully though, the day and night are alike to the Lord so when we see these things happening in our lives we can know with confidence that the Lord loves us and therefore is chastening a son of God because He is our Father of love.

Psa 139:9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Psa 139:10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
Psa 139:11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Psa 139:12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
Psa 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

1Jn 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Heb 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Bringing this full circle back to Judah, we can start to see why he acts the way he does. The Lord has slain two of his sons, and now his wife has died.

In other words, Judah is not having a very good time in his flesh. Instead of looking toward the Lord, Judah is going to look toward his fleshly ways and the desires of his flesh. This has all been designed from the Lord.

“A kid from the flock”

Gen 38:16 And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?
Gen 38:17 And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it?
Gen 38:18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.

We now see Judah seeking after his own desires. Knowing that we are seeking to know the mind of Christ, what we are being told with these stories? What are the admonitions we can learn from?

Tamar represents Christ in that Tamar has come to preserve seed toward the family line that God will give her. Christ comes seeking to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

When we desire to seek Christ, Christ tells us that we need to count the cost before endeavoring to endure to the end.

Tamar asks Judah what he will pledge to Tamar while she is waiting to get the reward of her letting Judah come in unto her. Judah doesn’t know this is his daughter- in- law, but Tamar knows fully well that Judah does not keep his promises to do what is right.

So, a part of “counting the cost” that we do today as Christians, directly correlates to what Tamar tells Judah he needs to give her in order to have what he wants.

Judah must pledge his signet, bracelets and staff, but what are we being told? Please keep in mind that these are items given in advance to what Judah has actually promised, a kid of the flock.

Here are some examples of the signet, bracelets and staff being used in others verses of scripture.


Hag 2:21 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;
Hag 2:22 And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
Hag 2:23 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.

1Ki 21:8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.

Exo 39:6 And they wrought onyx stones inclosed in ouches of gold, graven, as signets are graven, with the names of the children of Israel.

Signets have to do with representing the name of someone or something.


Num 19:14 This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.
Num 19:15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, is unclean.

Eze 40:3 And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.

Num 15:38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:
Num 15:39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:
Num 15:40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.
Num 15:41 I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.

Bracelets have to do with connecting things together and setting the bounds/ borders thereof. Borders are set for a reminder of what is related to the item bring referenced.


Mic 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Mic 6:9 The LORD’S voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.

Exo 7:11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
Exo 7:12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.

Num 17:5 And it shall come to pass, that the man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.
Num 17:6 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers’ houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods.
Num 17:7 And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness.
Num 17:8 And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

Staves represent the power the one holding the rod or the power the rod represents. Of course, this power is given by and represents the power of God.

What Judah was pledging to Tamar was his name which was bound by the power of God, and this is exactly what is used by God to judge Judah from his own mouth.

Luk 19:22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:

Judah was pledging something that he himself could not honestly deliver.

Mat 5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
Mat 5:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
Mat 5:36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
Mat 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

As Tamar represents Christ, we know that what we are really being told is that we in and of ourselves cannot bring a “kid of the flock” for a sacrifice for what we do in our flesh.

There is no sacrifice that the Lord would have in this place from us, but the Lord does accept the sacrifice of Christ Himself of which Tamar represents.

Gen 38:19 And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.
Gen 38:20 And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not.
Gen 38:21 Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place.
Gen 38:22 And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place.
Gen 38:23 And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.

Judah knows that what he has given is directly tied to his actions. Judah is not willing to keep searching out the matter because he knows that when he does, all will know what has happened, and his name, which is bound to his items, will shame him.

The first round of three sons tells us that judgment came to flesh of Judah. This second round of three tells us that judgment is coming to the “righteousnesses” of Judah which Judah does not know he has.

Gen 38:24 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.

In other words, just like Job didn’t know his righteousness’s are as filthy rags to the Lord, neither does Judah JUDGE HIMSELF to know that He is the one who needs to be judged for what is “in his members”. It is these righteousness’ that need to be burnt in the fire of the Truth of the Word of God.

Instead of looking toward the surface of what Tamar has apparently done, Judah needs to remember his OWN SINS of which the kid of the flock was not sufficient to be used. His sacrifice is not acceptable to the Lord because the Lord will have obedience and NOT sacrifice.

Gen 38:25 When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.
Gen 38:26 And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.

Just like Joseph’s brothers who will eventually come to see that they are the men of which Joseph was sent and used to SAVE, Judah acknowledged that though Tamar was the one who he saw evil in [ look at this dreamer of dreams], it is He who has faulted her in not doing what he had pledged to do with Shelah.

“Twins were in her womb”

Gen 38:27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
Gen 38:28 And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
Gen 38:29 And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.
Gen 38:30 And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.

Just as Jacob was loved and was used to setup the foundation of the tribes of Israel, so too, does Zarah represent Christ coming first as the first fruit of all creation to setup those who will be a “kind of first fruits”.

However, the breach is upon the one who thinks he can sit on the throne where Christ belongs.

As with all types and shadows of the old and new man, Pharez as the first born physically will be used to bring about that which is in the flesh.

Christ will come from this physical lineage, but the foreshadowing of Christ within is seen in Zarah.

Zarah comes from the same womb as Pharez, from the same earth and ground as it were, but Zarah goes to the “inner parts” to then come out second from within.

Gen 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The scarlet thread is to show us that Christ is the first and second Adam, which means red.

“Conclusion of part 28”

We have seen that the story of Judah and Tamar represents our walk with Christ and how we initially treat Christ.

When we look at the surface of the things that happen to us in our lives, it is easy to conclude for the natural man that the things the Lord does are foolishness or foolishly done.

It is easy to conclude for the natural man that the ways of God are outright wrong.

When we are confronted with logic and reason, with the veil which sits on the face of the issue we are dealing with, we are not going to be aware that what lies underneath is the working of what God is doing or is going to do in our lives for our good.

We have been told with Judah and Tamar how the Lord works all things out so that He can “save many people alive”, but it isn’t always so easily understood and implemented in ourselves.

That is perhaps one of the reasons why the Lord chose to interject this story right away after Joseph is sold into Egypt.

Though we are given dreams of rulership over the outward, and most importantly the inward, world, there are many details which will all take place in order for this to become reality.

Most of these details are going to involve a lot of pain, suffering, anguish, trial and tribulation, but if we are given faith to believe the Lord, we are able to count it all joy.

We can count it all joy because who the Lord loves He chastened.

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Other related posts