Updated: Jul 18
Tamar was destined to be the mother of Perez, the ancestor of King David and the Messiah. But he wanted to keep the royal lineage for himself. Don't waste the opportunity. For Parshas Chukas.
by Bing AI
Judah, the fourth son of Jacob and Leah, left his brothers and went down to Adullam, where he married a Canaanite woman named Shua. They had three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah arranged a marriage for his firstborn son Er with Tamar, another Canaanite woman. But Er was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death. We are not told what Er did to deserve this fate, but some commentators have suggested that he wasted his semen to avoid impregnating Tamar. He did not want to share his inheritance with his children, nor did he want to spoil Tamar's beauty. He also did not care about his brother's memory or his father's honor. He was selfish and greedy, and he despised God's gift of life and fertility.
Judah then told his second son Onan to perform the duty of a brother-in-law to Tamar, and to raise up offspring for his deceased brother. This was a custom known as levirate marriage, which was meant to provide a widow with a son and heir, and to preserve the name and lineage of her late husband. But Onan also knew that the offspring would not be his, so he spilled his semen on the ground whenever he went in to his brother's wife. He did the same thing as his brother Er, for the same reasons. He also had another hidden motive: he knew that Tamar was destined to be the mother of Perez, the ancestor of King David and the Messiah. He wanted to keep the royal lineage for himself, and to prevent God's plan from being fulfilled. He also hated Tamar because she was a Canaanite woman, and he did not appreciate her righteousness and beauty. He was wicked and rebellious, and he showed contempt for God's will and purpose.
What Onan did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death as well. Er and Onan both died in the land of Canaan, without leaving any children or any legacy. They were cut off from God's blessing and grace, and from God's people and promise.
The story of Er and Onan teaches us several important lessons about God's will and purpose for human sexuality and procreation. First, it teaches us that God cares about how we use our sexual organs and our reproductive potential. He has a design and a plan for each of us, and He expects us to respect His authority and His commandments. He also wants us to love and care for our spouses, our relatives, and our neighbors, especially those who are vulnerable or oppressed. We should not abuse or neglect our sexual partners, nor should we deny them their rightful due. We should also not waste or misuse our seed, which is a precious resource that God has entrusted to us. We should use it wisely and responsibly, in accordance with His will and His word.
Second, it teaches us that God has a grand design and a cosmic purpose for each of us. He has a vision and a goal for history and redemption. He has chosen some people for a special mission or role in His plan, such as Tamar, who was meant to be the mother of Perez, the ancestor of King David and the Messiah.
He has also given each of us a divine spark and a free will, which enable us to co-create with Him and to elevate the material world to a higher spiritual level. We should not envy or hinder those who are chosen or called by Him, but rather support and assist them. We should also recognize and respect the divine potential and the messianic role of every person, especially those who are different from us or who come from other nations or cultures. We should cherish and honor our sexual partners, who are our soulmates and our partners in creation.
Third, it teaches us that God is sovereign and faithful. He sees everything that we do, think, or feel. He knows our motives and intentions. He rewards those who obey Him and guides those who seek Him. He also intervenes in human affairs, and directs them according to His will.
He can use anyone or anything to accomplish His purposes, even those who are unlikely or unworthy. He can also overcome any obstacle or opposition that stands in His way. He is trustworthy and reliable, and He will fulfill His promises and His prophecies.
The story of Er and Onan is not only a story of the past, but also a story of the present and the future. It is a story that challenges us to examine our own lives and our own choices. It is a story that invites us to align our wills and our actions with God's will and purpose.
It is a story that inspires us to embrace our sexual partners and our sexual power as gifts from God and as tools for God. It is a story that reminds us of God's presence and God's plan in our lives and in our world.