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Showing posts from January 24, 2014
Royal Seals of Judah ‎Ancient kings sealed important correspondence with a lump of wet clay, stamping the clay with a seal. These seals were often engraved in semi-precious stones such as brown carnelian. The seals of the kings of Judah featured handles similar to this one.

Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

January 24
Undue FavorGenesis 38–39
Genesis 38 interrupts the climax of the Joseph narrative with another tale: Judah and Tamar. Switching protagonists is a surprising enough, but the tale itself shocks us. We’re hardly given time to process the strange cultural practices of the ancient Near East, prostitution, deception, and the sudden death of those who displease God before we’re returned to Joseph’s struggles in Egypt.

The story is additionally confusing because it seems to lack a hero. Judah uses Tamar, as his two sons did—though he at least acknowledges his actions. Tamar uses her wits and risks her life to secure a future for herself, but she does so through deplorable means.

Attempts have been made to justify the characters and put it all in perspective, but there is no neat packaging. The characters in this story face dire circumstances and a unique cultural context—one that is nearly impossible for modern readers to understand. But we don’t need a lesson in ancient Near Eastern…