Why Tamar Took Judah's Signet, Cord and Staff


When Judah's wife died and he saw a woman covered with a veil sitting on the roadside, he thought she was a harlot. 

He did not know that it was his daughter-in-law Tamar who had been informed that he would be passing that way and she had therefore positioned herself there because he had negated on his promise to give her as a wife to his son Shelah.

Judah asked to use her services and she replied by asking him what he would give her in return. 

He promised to send her a young goat from his flock. 

But Tamar who knew his history of keeping promises, asked for a pledge that she would keep until he sent the kid.

He asked what she wanted for a pledge and she said, "Your signet, cord and staff". He gave them to her, went in to her and she conceived. (Genesis 38:12-18)
A harlot reduces a man to a crust of bread Proverbs 6:26

The signet was a very important item for a man since it was like a seal that he used to sign papers and mark his goods. It can thus be likened to a modern day identity card or a company seal.

The cord was also a valuable item since he used it to hang the seal around his neck. 

The staff was also a significant item since he carried it in his hand to represent his power.


Tamar therefore took Judah's power and identity as insurance for a young goat.

When Judah was told that she was pregnant, he asked for her to be brought out and burnt. 

As she was being brought out, she said, "I am pregnant by the owner of this signet, cord and staff. Please determine the owner."

Judah acknowledged his signet, cord and staff and by so doing saved her life. (Genesis 38:24-26) 
A cord of three strands is not easily broken Ecclesiastes 4:12

Tamar took these 3 items as insurance because he could have denied 1 or 2 of them, but it was hard for him to deny all 3 of them. 

By not leaving anything to chance and taking triple insurance, Tamar sealed her case shut and won it even before the trial begun. 

She also vindicated herself since the person who was advocating for her to be killed because she was a harlot, was found to be the one sleeping with the harlot and the one who had "made" her become a harlot by refusing to give her his son who was supposed to be her rightful husband.


Therefore if you are dealing with a life and death situation take triple insurance. 


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