The Bible can be quite graphic. There are certain parts that I want to say: TMI! We hear about Judah, who if you remember was the primary player in selling Joseph into slavery. His family seems quite dysfunctional. The Lord takes the life of one of his children because he did what was displeasing in the sight of the Lord. We don’t know what that is, but just that he was not in the good graces of the Lord, to the point where his life was required.
Then we have Jacob’s other son who is given Tamar, the wife of the son whose life was taken, and instead of giving her progeny, he takes steps to ensure that she would not be pregnant. This is the part of the story that we might be somewhat surprised by the detail. It is quite graphic, and it is also very displeasing to the Lord. As a result his life is also taken. Now we have Tamar who has been married to two of Jacob’s children, and both of them have died because the Lord is not pleased with them.
So, Jacob says enough, let’s just not let her marry any more of my sons, even though I do have one more. So I’m going to tell her that he isn’t old enough yet. Once he gets old, I’ll tell her, then she can marry him. But not really. So, as a result time passes and Tamar is not given in marriage to the son, as she is supposed to be. As a result she dresses up as a prostitute and sleeps with her father in law. The result of that tryst is the birth of twins. This just might be the definition of a dysfunctional family. What a mess! But we knew from the start that Jacob was not going to produce too much that was pleasing to the Lord.