The woman I admire most in the Bible is Tamar. She was one gutsy lady. She put her reputation and her very life on the line in order to fulfill the purposes of God.

God had divided up the land amongst the tribes of Israel. The land was always to stay within the tribe and passed down family lines. They were stewards of the land God gave them. It was a great tragedy if there was no one to continue a family line and everything possible must be done to ensure the continuation. When Tamar was widowed, Judah told his next son Onan to marry Tamar in order to continue the family line. Although Onan slept with her he refused to allow her to conceive (Genesis 38:9). God obviously took this very seriously because He put him to death. When Judah did not allow Tamar to marry his next son she decided something must be done to fulfill God’s purposes. She dressed up as a prostitute and tricked Judah into having sex with her. Tamar must have known there was an excellence chance of falling pregnant at that time and she did. When Judah discovered she was pregnant he was going to have her execute until she proved he was the father. All of a sudden the death penalty included him and not surprisingly he no longer thought it was a good idea!

God vindicated Tamar not only did she have a son, but she had two, Perez and Zerah. Tamar is highly regarded by the Jews which may strike us as strange; I mean having sex with your father-in-law is rather unsavory to say the least. However she is honoured because she sacrifices her wishes in order to preserve her husband’s family line and his inheritance which was seen as fulfilling God’s purposes.

The second lady I admire is Ruth who did a similar thing. She left her family and set aside her Moabite heritage and customs. She committed herself to Naomi and Naomi’s God. Following Jewish custom she went to Boaz (a relative of her dead husband) at night and lay at his feet to signal she was available for marriage (Ruth 3:7). She risked her reputation in order to continue her husband’s line. Boaz, being a man of good character did not take advantage of her.

Similarly Mary, Jesus’ mother, laid her reputation on the line when she said to the angel, “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38) agreeing to be pregnant and unmarried which was totally unacceptable in that culture.

These three women Tamar, Ruth and Mary show a level of commitment that is rare. They are honoured by being included in Jesus’ ancestry line (Matthew 1:3, 5, and 16).

Today we may consider ourselves fortunate that God’s purposes don’t usually involve marrying in order to perpetuate a family line. However we can still emulate their faith, perseverance and ingenuity.

This is my contribution to this month’s synchroblog about Biblical Women or Women of Faith.

I’ve been a bit slow adding these links (internet problems); but here are the links to other blogger’s contributions:

Julie Clawson on the God who sees
Steve Hayes on St. Theodora the Iconodule
Sonja Andrews on Aunt Jemima
Sensuous Wife on a single mom in the Bible
Minnowspeaks on celebrating women
Michelle Van Loon on the persistant widow
Lyn Hallewell on women who walked with God
Heather on the strength of biblical women
Shawna Atteberry on the Daughter of Mary Magdalene
Christine Sine on women who impacted her life
Susan Barnes on Tamar, Ruth, and Mary
Kathy Escobar on standing up for nameless and voiceless women
Ellen Haroutunian on out from under the veil
Liz Dyer on Mary and Martha
Bethany Stedman on Shiphrah and Puah
Dan Brennan on Mary Magdalene
Jessica Schafer on Bathsheba
Eugene Cho on Lydia
Laura sorts through what she knows about women in the Bible
Miz Melly preached on the woman at the well
AJ Schwanz on women’s work
Pam Hogeweide on teenage girls changing the world
Teresa on the women Paul didn’t hate
Helen on Esther
Happy on Abigail
Mark Baker-Wright on telling stories
Robin M. on Eve
Alan Knox is thankful for the women who served God
Lainie Petersen on the unnamed concubine
Mike Clawson on cultural norms in the early church
Krista on serving God
Bob Carlton on Barbie as Icon
Jan Edmiston preached on the unnamed concubine
Deb on her namesake – Deborah
Makeesha on empowering women
Beth Patterson on the The Whole Megillah Revisited