Theme: Tamar posed as a prostitute to lure her father-in-law Judah into an incestuous relationship. Hers is a story of incest, broken promises, deception, immorality but, even more, a story of God’s amazing grace. And this lady became an ancestress of King David, one of only four women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ.
Bible Reference: Genesis 38
Cast: 1, female, likely middle age or older
Costumes: likely, but not necessarily, traditional
Time: 7 minutes
Sample of script:
Tamar comes slowly onstage, looks into audience, anger
You hear it, don’t you?
And you see the sly, smug looks, the cruel staring!
But, I’m used to it.
Sometimes it gets to me, but then I think, I know what I know!
I know who I am!
They say . . . . “she did that awful, terrible thing!”
What’s this . . . “awful, terrible thing?”
My breeding, my background, my pedigree, all proof positive that no “terrible” comes from this person!
Surely my name itself is my bond that terrible is not a way of life for me!
Tamar ben Shem.
ben . . . Shem
My father . . was Shem . . . the high priest!
Not someone who did. . . terrible . . . things!
Not someone who taught his children to do terrible things, nor allowed his children to do terrible things!
You don’t seem to understand. . . I will explain . . .
Let me go back to the beginning, back when Judah left his brothers and his family and came to Canaan. It was there that Judah met and married a Canaanite woman, Shua, and with her he had three sons: Er, the firstborn, and next Onan and finally the youngest son Shelah.
Judah went looking for a wife for his eldest son Er, and it was I who Judah chose to be his daughter-in-law. But as I quickly found out, Er was a totally wicked man, no act or thought was too perverse for him. And God lost patience with my husband and he put Er to death.
With Er now dead, Judah, my father-in-law was greatly concerned that I had not conceived, thus leaving Er with no offspring. So Judah instructed his son Onan to live with me, and to father a child to carry on Er’s line.
(confused, looks into audience)
I sense some of you are confused, put off by the actions of Judah.
No reason to be. . . It is a well established and worthy law, put in place to provide children to continue the line of childless men. Roman law calls it the Levirate law, Levirate being the Roman word for brother-in-law.
No matter. . . When I became the substitute wife of Onan he made it plain to me that he would not father a child through me, and he explained why. Onan realized that if he created children on behalf of his dead brother the resulting children would claim the significant riches of Judah. So when we had intimate relations, sex, Onan refused to impregnate me.
And this infuriated God to the point that he also put Onan to death.
Upon Onan’s death Judah came to me and instructed me to go and live with my father as a widow. And Judah promised that when his youngest son Shelah was of age he would be given to me, and at that time I would provide him with a child.
I could see through this, I knew my father-in-law was lying. And I knew exactly what was behind his comment. Judah was afraid Shelah, his last remaining son, would meet with the same fate if he were to live with me, resulting in God also putting Shelah to death.
Time went by and no word from Judah. Then I learned Judah’s wife had died.
After a time of grieving Judah’s friends invited him to visit with a neighbor who was shearing sheep. The practice was that the time of sheep shearing was a time of celebration and his friends felt this would take Judah’s mind off his grieving.
And it was at this point that my plan was formulated!
So I removed by widow’s attire, covered my face with a veil, and went to a spot on the road on which I knew Judah would be passing. Soon Judah came along, saw me sitting there, assumed I was a prostitute.
Judah requested that I sleep with him.
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