Judah and Tamar

“You know what I learnt from this IVF experience?” He says. “Forget everything else man, forget buying a house, or passing an exam or building a new roof in shags, life is biological and it all boils down to continuity.” – Baba Milan

I will come straight out with it and say I am a huge Bikozulu fan. I always look forward to his regular blog posts on Tuesdays and today’s post written in his characteristic style was captivating. The quote above was by the interviewee in the story. Life is biological and it all boils down to continuity. Mmmhhh…

That one sentence took me back to a story I read recently of a woman named Tamar. She was the daughter-in-law of Judah, one of twelve sons of Jacob. I hope you know Jacob was the grandson of Father Abraham. The story is documented in Genesis chapter 38.

This woman suffered a great injustice in the hands of Judah’s family. She was first married to Judah’s first-born son, Er, who did some wicked stuff and God said: “Enough is enough.” He died before he could have heirs, and in keeping with tradition, Tamar was “inherited” by Er’s younger brother, Onan. This is where the story takes a twist – Onan knew about coitus interruptus long before the act was given a fancy name. Due to his own selfish reasons, he didn’t want his dead brother to have any offspring, and he thought he would fool everybody by having his cake and eating it too. Wait a minute – the Duke of Hastings must be from Onan’s lineage! (All ye Bridgerton fans know what I am talking about, don’t you?). Anyway, you can fool others but you cannot fool God. Because of this wicked behavior, God put him to death also.

Judah had three sons. Two are now dead at the hands of the same woman. In my community, such a woman would have been in the league of “atumia a ciero ndune“, which translates to “women of the red thigh”. These femme fatales were to be avoided at all cost unless as a man, you wanted to end up in an early grave. You can therefore sympathise with Judah for wanting to spare his youngest son, Shelah. He thought he would trick Tamar by sending her back to her father’s household to wait for Shelah to grow up.

I need to summarize this story but Tamar knew she had been tricked when Shelah grew up but she was not invited to procreate with him. She deviced her own trick and my oh my! Judah ends up being the father of her twins! I watched The Bold and the Beautiful back in the day and it was scandalous the way Brooke Logan-Forrester moved from one Forrester man to the next. We now know she took lessons with Tamar!

Life is biological and it all boils down to continuity.

Human beings have been able to create many things but life remains elusive. Yet, that is the main purpose for which we live. “Be ye fruitful and multiply“, was the order given by the Creator of all life. One’s offspring remains their greatest heritage; the arrows in the hands of a warrior. They continue shooting off when everything else has fallen silent. The greatest heritage but no one can obtain it by themselves. People will go to great lengths; not even counting the cost involved. Look at Tamar – she could have been killed (burned to death, in fact) if she hadn’t been clever to retain evidence from Judah’s escapades. All for want of an heir to carry on the bloodline!

Baba Milan is right. No achievement compares to procreation. Do you agree?


2 thoughts on “Judah and Tamar

  1. Beautiful piece of writing here Jane on this ridiculous story of Judah and Tamar. As someone said somewhere, couldn’t help but wonder why it made it to the Holy Book in the first place…🤔


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