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English Bible Dictionary

Tamar, wife of Er and Onan

 

(palm tree).

The wife successively of the two sons of Judah, Er and Onan. (Genesis 38:8-30) (B.C. about 1718.) Her importance in the sacred narrative depends on the great anxiety to keep up the lineage of Judah. It seemed as if the family were on the point of extinction. Er and Onan had successively perished suddenly. Judah's wife, Bathshuah, died; and there only remained a child, Shelah, whom Judah was unwilling to trust to the dangerous union as it appeared, with Tamar, lest he should meet with the same fate as his brothers. Accordingly she resorted to the desperate expedient of entrapping the father himself into the union which he feared for his son. The fruits of this intercourse were twins, Pharez and Zarah, and through Pharez the sacred line was continued.

 

* See other occurrences of the same term: Tamar.

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