By Christi McGuire
Upon arriving at Enaim, Judah saw the woman but did not recognize her as Tamar because of the veil she wore over her face. Thinking she was a prostitute, he requested her services.
Painting by Émile Jean-Horace Vernet (30 June 1789 – 17 January 1863), Judah and Tamar (1840)
Posted on Tumblr
Judah left his family and went to Kezib, married a Canaanite woman, and had three sons. Choosing to leave not only his family but also his faith behind, Judah embraces a foreign culture that worshipped pagan gods, such as Baal. More than likely, Judah’s wife, Shua, raised their sons according to her pagan beliefs, not God’s laws.
(Abraham and Isaac both instructed their sons not to marry Canaanite women.)
Having born three sons to the tribal leader Judah, Shua was an honored woman in the tribe. We do not know what sort of relationship existed between Shua and Tamar - good or bad; it was only after Shua's death that Tamar decided to act; perhaps Tamar hoped that Shua would eventually send Shelah to fulfil the Levirate Law.
Posted by Elizabeth Fletcher, published 'Women in the Bible' in 1997
It was custom for parents to find a suitable husband for their young daughter (usually around age 12-14), one that would increase the father’s fortunes in some way (land, money, cattle, prestige). Young girls didn’t have a choice in the matter of their husband. Marriage wasn’t a matter of love; it was a matter of an alliance between two families. Women were mostly seen as property, something to own and use to extend your family line.
Painting by Francesco Hayez (1791 –1882), Tamar of Judah (Tamar di Giuda)
Posted by tanogabo
Tamar was a Canannite; she had grown up worshipping the pagan gods. For whatever reason, Judah saw Tamar, a young girl, fit to marry his firstborn son, Er. Biblical text doesn’t give many details. It merely says that Er “was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death” (Genesis 38:7).
Most Canaanites were unrighteous and evil. How much more wicked was Er for God put him to death? What kind of sinfulness and evilness did Tamar have to witness, endure, and suffer because of her husband’s wickedness?
Posted by Parchment and Pen Blog on 27 September 2013
It was customary when a husband died, the next son would marry the widow to extend his brother’s lineage. So Tamar knew her duty: to marry the second-born brother, Onan, and produce an heir for Er.
Onan kept from himself from producing a child for his brother, and it is noted that “what he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight, so he put him to death also.”
Tamar is 0-2.
Judah denies Tamar the duty of producing an heir for Er through his third and last son and sends her home to her father. At this point, Judah is portrayed as viewing Tamar to be cursed, and is therefore reluctant to give his remaining and youngest son Shelah, to her. Rather, he told Tamar to wait for Shelah. However, even after he grew up, Judah did not give Tamar to Shelah in marriage (Genesis 38:6-14). 
Posted by Ock-soo Park (Pastor, Hanbat Central Church)
Step into Shua’s shoes, the mother of the two sons. Faithful to serving Baal, Astarte, Mot, and the other pagan gods, she doesn’t understand God’s ways and why her sons were taken. Perhaps she thinks it is Tamar’s fault!
Perhaps Tamar is bad luck!
Step into Tamar’s shoes. She’s young and probably frightened within the household she lives. Her two husbands have died for no apparent reason. She has heard of the Israelite God who judges and punishes. But is He like the gods of the temple, wooden statues to whom her mother-in-law and all the Canaanites pray and worship? He is certainly more powerful! Is this God striking her down? Or does this God have any place for her within His people?
Step into Judah’s shoes. He likely feels extreme guilt over the deeds done to his little brother Joseph all those years ago. Ashamed, he runs to a pagan land instead of asking, pleading, begging for God’s forgiveness … and his father’s. Now his own sons are dead. No matter how wicked he knew they were, a father grieves over the loss of life. Judah’s heart is heavy.
Tamar, rejected from Judah’s family, must go back to her father’s household. Although now, there is no use for a girl whose two husbands are dead. No one else will marry her. Does anybody really believe Judah would send his only other son to her to die, as well?
She may as well give up, forget her “duty,” and live the rest of her life groveling (crawl abjectly on the ground with one's face downwards) for food among the other husbandless, homeless, dejected women of Canaan.
But she doesn’t.
Something within her is stronger than her will to give up. She doesn’t yet realize that it is the Holy Spirit fulfilling God’s purposes.
Tamar is determined to fulfill her duty as a wife, to honor her first husband with an heir. Regardless of his wickedness. Regardless of his sin. Regardless of his pagan ways.
Although her methods were wrong, Tamar’s motives were right.
Somehow, it was important to Tamar to be a part of Judah’s family, to be a part of God’s chosen people.
Tamar didn’t choose who she married. She certainly didn’t choose to witness the wickedness within Judah’s household or the deaths of her husbands. She didn’t choose a life of suffering, rejection, confusion, compromise.
But she did choose to honour Judah’s family line. The Israelite family. The lineage of the future Messiah.
So God chose to honour her. Tamar has a place in the lineage of His Son, Jesus.
Posted by Christi McGuire
Tamar is one of few women mentioned in Jesus’ family tree; she is among the righteous, the beloved, the honoured, the worthy.
Tamar’s story shows us that none of us are righteous or worthy of being in God’s family. But because of God’s grace, we are all welcome anyway.
God’s love, grace, and forgiveness is not only for the Israelites. It’s not only for the spiritually mature. It’s not only for the good, the righteous, the worthy.
Tamar doesn’t belong in the holiness of God’s family. She’s undeserving! She doesn’t belong. But then my accusing finger points back at me. Neither do I. Neither do you. None of us belong near the holiness of God. But God overlooks that and offers membership into His family based on one thing.
God’s grace extends to everybody. Every sinner. Every unrighteous person. Every Jew and every Gentile.
He gives it; you must receive it. Have you received it today and for all eternity?
Tamar and Judah 
At the time Shelah grew up, Judah became a widower. After Judah mourned the death of his wife, he planned on going to Timnah to shear his sheep. Upon hearing this news, Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and immediately went to Enaim which was en route to Judah's destination. Upon arriving at Enaim, Judah saw the woman but did not recognize her as Tamar because of the veil she wore over her face. Thinking she was a prostitute, he requested her services.
Tamar played the part of a prostitute and struck a deal with Judah for a goat with a security deposit of his staff, seal, and cord.
Painted by Horace Vernet, Judah and Tamar (1840)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tamar's plan was to become pregnant by this ruse in order to bear a child in Judah's line, because Judah had not given her to his son Shelah. So she played the part of a prostitute and struck a deal with Judah for a goat with a security deposit of his staff, seal, and cord. When Judah was able to have a goat sent to Enaim, in order to collect his staff and seal, the woman was nowhere to be found and no one knew of any prostitute in Enaim (Genesis 38:12-23). 
Paintings by Elspeth Young
Posted by Heather on Tuesday, 22 September 2015, Tamar: What's a Girl to Do?
Three months later, Tamar was accused of prostitution on account of her pregnancy. Upon hearing this news, Judah ordered that she be burned to death. Tamar sent the staff, seal, and cord to Judah with a message declaring that the owner of these items was the man who had made her pregnant. Upon recognizing his security deposit, Judah released Tamar from her sentence. 
Tamar escapes punishment, and gives birth to twin sons, one of whom, Perez, is an ancestor of Jesus.
Posted by The Tiny Chapel on 28th July 2014
Tamar's place in the family and Judah's posterity secured, she gives birth to twins, Perez and Zerah. Their birth is reminiscent of the birth of Rebekah's twin sons. The midwife marks Zerah's hand with a scarlet cord when it emerges from the womb first, but Perez is born first. Perez is identified in the Book of Ruth as the ancestor of King David (Ruth 4:18-22). The Genesis narrative also makes a note that Judah did not have further sexual relations with Tamar (Genesis 38:24-30). 
According to Ethiopic tradition, Perez became the king of Persia. 
Posted by tanogabo
The capital offense for which Judah says Tamar should be burned is not prostitution, but adultery. Tamar still stood in the position of betrothal to Judah’s family. To be pregnant by someone from outside the family was adultery (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). In fact Tamar ensured the continuance of Judah’s line, even unto King David and Jesus, so we can see that the whole was God’s plan. Note however that the text not only does not say that Judah married Tamar, which is forbidden by Leviticus 18:15 and Leviticus 20:12, but that his intercourse with her was a one-off and not repeated. The twin boys born of this incident, Perez and Zerah, are bastards. Tamar presumably married Shelah after all for we learn in 1 Chronicles 4:21 that Shelah’s firstborn son was named Er, thus fulfilling at last the duty to perpetuate the line of the eldest brother, the first husband of Tamar. 
What can we learn from this story about the Biblical view of couples? I would say that the story tells us that sex itself is no big deal. Being obedient to the will of God is the big deal. Discerning the will of God, and being obedient to it. Tamar after all had sex with every man in the family, dressed up like a hooker, tricked her father-in-law into impregnating her, and is depicted as justified, and as acting in accord with God’s will. 
Not until the story completes itself in the centuries to come did all of it become clear. For if one believes in such things, there was a lineage spelled out in a bloodline that began with a man named Abraham and ended with a foretold Messiah. Whether Jesus was the Messiah is not for this story to argue, but his history reached backwards through a litany of names unknown to most - Jacob, Akim, Manasseh, David, Perez....and a woman who just wanted a baby. 
Tamar. Tamar and Judah. Onan forfeited his role in history and it was completed through a deception. There are some things that just need to happen. 
Tamar (Genesis) - Women of the Bible (This Woman Doesn’t Belong)
The capital offense for which Judah says Tamar should be burned is not prostitution, but adultery. Tamar still stood in the position of betrothal to Judah’s family. To be pregnant by someone from outside the family was adultery (Deuteronomy 22:23-24).
Not until the story completes itself in the centuries to come did all of it become clear. There was a lineage spelled out in a bloodline that began with a man named Abraham and ended with a foretold Messiah, Jesus.
Posted by Nqos Mahdi on 25 November 2010
 Tamar (Genesis), From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamar_%28Genesis%29
 Biblical Couples: Tamar and... Er and Onan and Judah and Selah, Posted by The Tiny Chapel on 28th July 2014, http://tinychapel.blogspot.sg/2014/07/biblical-couples-tamar-and-er-and-onan.html
 Loss and Deception (The Story of Judah and Tamar), Posted by Kevin Rolly, https://www.flickr.com/photos/kevissimo/3700993712/in/photostream/
 Kebra Negast, Ethiopian Book of the Kings' Glory, chapter 77.
NIV, New International Version, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Deuteronomy 22:23-24 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deut+22%3A23-24&version=NIV
Genesis 38:1-11 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+38%3A1-11&version=NIV
Genesis 38:6-14 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+38%3A6-14&version=NIV
Genesis 38:7 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+38%3A7&version=NIV
Genesis 38:12-23 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+38%3A12-23&version=NIV
Genesis 38:24-30 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+38%3A24-30&version=NIV
Genesis 38:12-30 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+38%3A12-30&version=NIV
Leviticus 18:15 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Lev+18%3A15&version=NIV
Leviticus 20:12 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+20%3A12&version=NIV
Ruth 4:18-22 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ruth+4%3A18-22&version=NIV