My faith is an integral part of who I am. Growing up in the church means that I know all the Bible stories. There are many women in the Bible, from Eve to Miriam and Mary. Many people will talk of these righteous women but I always identified with the “bad girls”. This doesn’t mean that I am a bad girl. As a little girl I admired how they did not let the bad things that happened to them or that they did define who they were. As I have been going through tough times recently I have been thinking about them. I then realized that they were all ancestors of Jesus. My three favorite are the only ones named in Matthew chapter 1. Bathsheba is also referred to but not named. Let’s look at my three ladies.
Judas was the son of Jacob son of Isaac son of Abraham. His first son,Er, married Tamar. Unfortunately, Er died before they could have any children. In those times if a man died without an heir the nearest relative had to marry his wife in order for the dead man to have an heir. So even though biologically the child would be his the child would not be his legal heir. So Judah set Omar to marry Tamar and have children to be Er’s heirs. Onan was not having any of this. He was like “hell no! I’m not making kids for my brother.” Onan was like I’ll marry her but when the time comes I am pulling out. The bible puts it so eloquently “he spilled it on the ground.” God was unhappy about that and killed him. [This is the story that a lot of people use to justify being anti birth control]
Then Judah being afraid for his son Shelah’s safety said to Tamar come and stay with me until Shelah is old enough to marry you. So Shelah became old enough but Judah didn’t make him marry Tamar just yet. Then Judah’s wife died. Tamar became tired of being a childless widow so she took matters into her own hand. One day when Judah went away to deal with his sheep she dressed up like a prostitute and hang out on the street corner where she knew he would be walking by. Apparently in that time prostitutes covered their faces. So he slept with her and she asked for payment. He said he would send her a baby goat. She asked to hold on to some stuff until the goat came. He gave her some rings and bracelets and stuff. Afterward he sent the goat but no one could find the prostitute. Everyone was like dude there is no prostitute working that corner.
So three months later some people are gonna tell Judah on Tamar. He is after all the patriarch of the family. They’re like so you know Tamar your daughter in law. Well she dressed up like a hooker and now she is pregnant. And Judah is like what? Bring her to be stoned. And she was like hey Judah whoever owns this stuff is the baby daddy. And Judah was like I just got served no stoning. Come make my cute lil babies. And she had twins one of whom was named Pharez.
So that’s the story of Tamar. I always thought that it was kinda cool that the Bible took time to tell us this. I always thought Tamar was pretty awesome. It may just be that I have always thought twins were awesome. But also its one of these examples of no judging other people’s actions because we do not know what drove them to it.
So Joshua is getting ready to invade Jericho and he sends these guys in to spy. The guys go to spend the night at Rahab’s house, who just happens to be a prostitute. Apparently that was the only place they could get to spend the night. So someone finds out that strangers are in town and that they’re hanging out with Rahab. The soldiers (I always picture them as secret police KGB types) come looking for them. Rahab hides them in the straw on her roof. She tells the secret police “Why yes the men were here but they left. If you go not you can maybe catch them.” So the secret police go out the gate and lock the gate behind them. And Rahab tells the men go hide in the mountains for three days until the soldiers come back to the city. But first Rahab made a deal with them. She knew the end was coming for her city and she wanted to be saved. She was like I won’t tell on you but how can I be saved. They told her hand a red rope in her window and they will spare her and her family. She let’s them out by that same window, which apparently was on the city wall.
So the men make it out safely and eventually the Isrealites march around the city and bring the walls down. Everything is leveled but Rahab is saved. Yay go Rahab. Another prostitute. Another strong woman who took matters into her own hands. Rahab marries Salman a direct descendant of Pharez. I just think Rahab was so brave to go against what she knew and embrace a totally different God.
Now Ruth I just thought was plain crazy and I loved her for it. Ruth lives in Moab and this knew family comes into town. A mother a father and 2 sons. She marries one of these sons. In time the her husband, brother in law and father in law all die. She has no one to provide for her. He didn’t even get to have any children. So her mother in law decides to go back. And so does Ruth. She tells her mother in law she will go to the ends of the earth with her.
What’s up with Ruth? I would not be going to a strange place with this lady. I would go back to my mother. But then I don’t know what Ruth would be going back to. She went back to Bethlehem with Naomi. She was so broke that she was going to fields during the harvest and picking up the stray grains that fell and were left behind. They call that gleaning.
It just so happened that she was gleaning in the field of Boaz. Boaz just happened to be the son of Rahab. He is also a wealthy land owner. So Rahab the prostitute’s son is a wealthy land owner. Talking about moving up right? Back to the story….Ruth catches Boaz’s eye. He is asking around about her. After some other stuff happens Ruth marries Boaz and they have a baby named Obed father of Jesse father of King David. And Matthew chapter 1 tells us that Jesus is a direct descendant of David.
So Ruth had some tough times and ended up being a trophy wife. I see Ruth as a trophy wife with a sugar daddy. I am not saying that there was no love or she married for riches. I am just saying after a rocky start things turned out okay.
I guess that is what really draws me to these women: they had rocky, doubtful beginnings and backgrounds but in the end things turned out just fine. In fact things turned out better than fine. They were mothers of kings and the Messiah. These three stories give me hope. They let me know that my past does not prevent me from having an awesome future. They inspire me to be myself and reach for the stars.
Are there any Bible or faith based stories that inspire you?
Here’s a picture of me at the beach,posing next to an awesome mural, a few weeks post surgery in 2010; just for fun.
I love this post – a perfect Sunday morning read.
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