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Intro: Prostitution in Ancient Greece and Israel

Today’s story is about Tamar, who gave birth to Jesus’ ancestor after sleeping with her father-in-law Judas.

Pornography comes from Greek. The word means ‘record of prostitutes.’ In ancient Greece, there were low-class prostitutes called “Fornai” and high-class prostitutes called “Hetera”. Between these two classes, there were several classes.

Prostitution was officially taboo in Hebrew culture, which contrasts with Greek culture. The priest’s daughter could be burned at the stake if she had prostitution.

However, prostitution wasn’t eradicated in Israeli society, and eventually it was considered a necessary evil.

Temple prostitution was also introduced to Israel through pagan culture and religion, but it almost disappeared after King Joshua’s Reformation.

However, prostitution, in which women sold sex outside the temple and donated to it, didn’t go away. Prostitution isn’t a temple in Jerusalem, it’s a temple for Gentiles.

A young woman is leaning on an old man's shoulder.

JUDAH & TAMAR ~ Why did Judah sleep with his daughter?

After his wife dies and he becomes a widower, Judas has a relationship with a street prostitute to satisfy his sexual needs.

As a hooker, he has sex with his daughter-in-law Tamar. Here’s what the Bible says.

In the course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died. When Judah was comforted, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.

And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” she took off her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah.

For she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage. When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.

He turned to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.

She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.”

And she said, “If you give me a pledge, until you send it—” He said, “What pledge shall I give you?”

She replied, “Your signet and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him.

Then she arose and went away, and taking off her veil she put on the garments of her widowhood.

A young woman is leaning on an old man's shoulder.

Judas sends a flower stand to a prostitute on the side of a Jewish friend who returns home from Timnah and tries to find his seal and cane.

The friend can’t find the whore. There are no hookers in the province, he hears.

Judas was embarrassed to find a whore with his stuff, so he tried burying it.

But three months later, Judas hears Tamar’s pregnant. She was burned at the stake because Judas thought she had adultery with another man.

When Judah’s father-in-law is interrogating his daughter-in-law, Tamar gives his father-in-law Judah’s seal and cane. When Judas saw this, he repented of his mistake and didn’t burn Tamar. A few months later, she’s pregnant with twins. Here’s how the Bible explains it.

When the time of her labor came, there were twins in her womb. And when she was in labor, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called Perez. Afterward his brother came out with the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah.

Jesus’ family tree lists a child born from an affair between his father-in-law and daughter-in-law. Four people in Jesus’ genealogy were born in abnormal relationships. Women’s names are only mentioned when they’re born in an abnormal relationship.

A young woman is leaning on an old man's shoulder.

Conclusion-God’s Providence and Choice

Those born close to adultery and those whose father-in-law and daughter-in-law committed adultery are also included in Jesus’ genealogy, showing that God’s providence and choice trump human morality.

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