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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary


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(tay' mahr) Personal name meaning, “date palm.” 1. Daughter-in-law of Judah, wife of his eldest son, Er (Genesis 38:6 ). After her wicked husband died without fathering a child, Tamar was given to Er's brother, Onan, for the purpose of bearing a child in the name of the dead man. Onan refused to impregnate Tamar, for which God killed him. She then tricked her father-in-law into fathering her child (Genesis 38:18 ). See Levirate Marriage.

2. A daughter of David raped by her half brother, Amnon (2 Samuel 13:14 ). The act was avenged by her full brother, Absalom, when he had Amnon murdered (2 Samuel 13:28-29 ). These acts were part of Nathan's property that the sword would never depart from David's house (2 Samuel 12:10 ).

3. Absalom named his only daughter Tamar. She is called “a beautiful woman” (2 Samuel 14:27 ).

4. City built by Solomon “in the wilderness” (1 Kings 9:18 ). The text should perhaps read Tadmor (2 Chronicles 8:4 ), since the Hebrew lacks the qualifying phrase “of Judah” and the Masoretic vowel points correspond Tadmor. See Tadmor .

5. Fortified city at the southern end of the Dead Sea, marking the ideal limit of Israel (Ezekiel 47:19; Ezekiel 48:28 ). If identical with 4, this Tamar likely served as a supply depot for Solomon's mines in the Arabah and as a frontier post to guard the border with Edom.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Tamar'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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