Genesis 38:14
And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.
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(14) In an open place.—Heb., in the gate of Enajim. Enajim means “the two fountains,” and we learn from Genesis 38:21 that it was the town where Tamar’s father dwelt, and where Tamar was living with him in her widowhood. In the exploration of Palestine, Enajim has been identified with a place called Allin, Anin, or Anaim, three miles east of Tibneh, and situated upon an ancient road coming from Adullam. This makes the conclusion come to for other reasons certain, that the Timnath on the Philistine border was the town meant.

Genesis 38:14. She put her widow’s garments off, &c. — Some excuse her conduct in this by suggesting that she believed the promise made to Abraham and his seed, particularly that of the Messiah, and that she was therefore desirous to have a child by one of that family, that she might have the honour, or at least stand fair for being the mother of the Messiah. She covered her with a veil — It was the custom of harlots in those times to cover their faces, that though they were not ashamed, yet they might seem to be so: the sin of uncleanness did not go so bare-faced as it now doth.

38:1-30 The profligate conduct of Judah and his family. - This chapter gives an account of Judah and his family, and such an account it is, that it seems a wonder that of all Jacob's sons, our Lord should spring out of Judah, Heb 7:14. But God will show that his choice is of grace and not of merit, and that Christ came into the world to save sinners, even the chief. Also, that the worthiness of Christ is of himself, and not from his ancestors. How little reason had the Jews, who were so called from this Judah, to boast as they did, Joh 8:41. What awful examples the Lord proclaims in his punishments, of his utter displeasure at sin! Let us seek grace from God to avoid every appearance of sin. And let that state of humbleness to which Jesus submitted, when he came to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, in appointing such characters as those here recorded, to be his ancestors, endear the Redeemer to our hearts.Judah now comes into criminal, and, though unknown to him, incestuous sexual intercourse with Tamar. "And many were the days," a year or somewhat more. "To Timnah." This town is about twenty miles northwest of Hebron. There is another, however, in the hills about seven miles south of Hebron. "Put on a veil;" to conceal her face from Judah, or any other beholder. "The qate of Enaim." This is supposed to be the same as Enam Joshua 15:34. "And thy lace." This is the cord by which the signet was suspended round his neck. "Courtesan." The original word קדשׁה qedêshâh means one consecrated to the worship of Ashtoreth, in which chastity is sacrificed.12. Judah … went up unto his sheep-shearers—This season, which occurs in Palestine towards the end of March, was spent in more than usual hilarity, and the wealthiest masters invited their friends, as well as treated their servants, to sumptuous entertainments. Accordingly, it is said, Judah was accompanied by his friend Hirah.

Timnath—in the mountains of Judah.

Covered her with a vail, as harlots used to do in those modester ages of the world, when they had not learnt to outface the sun, nor to glory in their villanies.

In an open place, where she night be soonest discovered by passengers. This is noted as the practice of harlots, Proverbs 7:12 9:14 Jeremiah 3:2 Ezekiel 16:24,25.

And she put her widow's garments off from her,.... By which it appears that in those times and countries it was usual for widows to have a different apparel from others, especially in the time of their mourning, as it has been since in other nations, and with us at this day, and which is commonly called "the widow's weed":

and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself; in it, or in a cloak, or some such like garment, which the Arabs now call "hykes"; this she did that she might not be known, and not that she might appear as an harlot; for it was common to all women in those countries to go abroad with their veils: and on the contrary, whatever might be the custom here in those early times, which cannot be said what it was; in other countries, and in later times, harlots have been used to appear unveiled (t) and open to the view of all; though Juvenal (u) represents the Empress Messalina as covering herself with a night hood, and hiding her black hair under a yellow bonnet or peruke, that she might appear as an harlot going to the stews: and so the Arabs now, their whores as well as other women, veil themselves in the streets, but in Egypt they are used to sit at the door, or walk in the streets unveiled (w):

and sat in an open place, which is in the way to Timnath; the Septuagint version renders it, "at the gates of Aenan"; some take it to be the name of a place, and suppose it had its name, as Aben Ezra observes, from two fountains of water that were in the way, like a door, through which Judah passed when he returned home: so Philo the Jew (x) reads, Genesis 38:21; "where is the harlot which was in Ainan by the way?" and Jerom (y) speaks of Aenan as you go to Timnath, now a desert place, and near to the great village Timnath, which is between Aelia and Diospolis (i.e. Jerusalem and Lydia), and there is a fountain in the above place, from whence it has its name: the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it,"in the division of the ways where all eyes look;''for the word has the signification of eyes as well as of fountains; and seems to design a place where two ways or more met, which were not only open and obvious to every eye, but required persons to make use of their eyes, and look about them, and consider which way they should go; and where perhaps a way mark was set up for them to look to, to direct them; and here Tamar placed herself as harlots used to do: hence Catullus (z) calls common prostitutes "semitariae moechae", pathway whores; and on the contrary, such an one as was a secret whore, and less exposed, Horace (a) calls "devium scortum", an whore that was at some distance from the public road, not so common as others: so in the Apocryph,"The women also with cords about them, sitting in the ways, burn bran for perfume: but if any of them, drawn by some that passeth by, lie with him, she reproacheth her fellow, that she was not thought as worthy as herself, nor her cord broken.'' (Baruch 6:43)whorish women are represented as sitting in the ways and by the roadside, girt with cords (of bulrushes, and so easily broken), to be picked up by men as they passed by; referring to what Herodotus (b) reports of the women in the temple of Venus at Babylon. This method Tamar took:

for she saw that Shelah was grown: was at least at the age of her former husbands when, married, if not older: this might be two or three years after his brother's death: for it was in process of time, or when there had been a multiplication of days after this, that Judah's wife died, and now his mourning for her was over, Genesis 38:12,

and she was not given unto him for wife: as he had given her reason to expect, Genesis 38:11, and as was usually done.

(t) Alex. ab Alexand. Genial. Dier. l. 5. c. 18. (u) Satyr. 6. (w) Pitts's Account of the Mahometans, p. 56, 67. and Norden's Travels in Egypt, vol. 2. p. 47. (x) De profugis, p. 471. (y) De loc. Heb. fol. 87. F. G. (z) Epigram, 35. 16. (a) Carmin. l. 2. Ode 11. (b) Clio sive, l. 1. c. 199.

And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.
14. And she put off, &c.] The neglect on Judah’s part to satisfy the requirements of the levirate rule provoked Tamar to have recourse to trickery. To our moral sense such conduct is bad and disgusting. But to Orientals, whose life depended so largely upon the sanctity of racial customs, her action may have seemed not only entertaining in its cleverness, but even honourable and justifiable in its devotion to a deceased husband’s rights.

her veil] Tamar apparelled herself in the guise of a religious prostitute (ḳedêshah, Genesis 38:21), one who dedicated herself to the goddess Astarte, the Babylonian Istar. The veil was one of the symbols of Istar.

in the gate of Enaim] i.e. in the open space at the entrance into the town. The name of the town means “wells,” possibly Enam, mentioned in Joshua 15:34, in the same context with Adullam.

by the way] i.e. on “the way side” (Genesis 38:21): see Jeremiah 3:2; Ezekiel 16:15-25.

Verse 14. - And she put her widow's garments off from her (to prevent detection by Judah), and covered her with a veil, - to conceal her features, after the fashion of a courtesan (ver. 15; cf. Job 24:15) - and wrapped herself, - possibly with some large mantle (Alford) - and sat in an open place, - literally, in the opening (i.e. gate) of Enaim (LXX., Gesenius, Keil, Kalisch, Lange, et alii); less happily, in the opening of the eyes, i.e. in a public and open place (Calvin), in the parting of the ways, in bivio itineris (Vulgate), in the opening (or breaking forth) of the two fountains (Aben Ezra, Rosenmüller) - which is by (or upon) the way to Timnath; - "close to the site of Thamna, now Tibneh, three miles to the east, on an ancient road coming from Adullam, the very road by which the patriarch Judah would have come from Adullam to Timnah, is a ruin called Allin, or Anita, or Ainim" ('Palestine Exploration,' quoted by Inglis) - for she saw that Shelah was grown (he was probably not much younger than either of his brothers who had died), and she was not given unto him to wife - literally, for a wife. Genesis 38:14As soon as Thamar heard of Judah's going to this feast, she took off her widow's clothes, put on a veil, and sat down, disguised as a harlot, by the gate of Enayim, where Judah would be sure to pass on his return from Timnath. Enayim was no doubt the same as Enam in the lowland of Judah (Joshua 15:34).
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