The name of the righteous is used in blessings, but the name of the wicked will rot. Proverbs 10:7

This was true for Tamar. Her name was used in a blessing when Boaz announced his intention to marry Ruth. “May your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah” (Ruth 4:12).

Perez means a breach or breakthrough. It suggests a reversal of what was supposed to happen. Perez was a twin who was born first though it initially appeared that his brother, Zerah would have the honour. This connects to Ruth because she experienced a reversal in her circumstances. She was a Moabite and not entitled to be included with God’s people. Yet by seeking marriage to Boaz, she demonstrated her commitment to God and his people.

Tamar was the mother of Perez and Zerah, but had become pregnant by tricking Judah. So it was unusual that her name would be included in a blessing. Perhaps it was because Tamar’s motive was honourable, even if her actions were not. God described Judah’s first two sons as wicked and Judah’s name was in danger of being “blotted out from Israel,” since he refused to allow Tamar to marry his youngest son, as was the custom at the time (Deuteronomy 25:6). Having your name blotted out was a disgrace and it’s this thought which is reflected in the proverb, “the name of the wicked will rot.”

Tamar acted to preserve her husband’s family line so their name would continue and while this practice is strange to our understanding, family inheritance was an important sign of God’s blessing. The Israelites kept careful track of descendants and land entitlements.

Tamar acted selflessly to secure God’s blessings and her name became a blessing. As we seek God’s blessings, we become a blessing.