In Genesis we learn that Judah's sons Er and Onan died, and both of them were married to Tamar. Because of their deaths (and involvement with the same woman, Tamar), Judah thinks that Tamar has something to do with them dying, and so refuses to give Shelah (his other son) to her as a husband.
So, Tamar disguises as a prostitute and conceives by Judah.

Does Tamar marry someone else after conceiving from Judah?
Does she eventually marry Judah's son, Shelah?

Because Numbers 26:20 mentions descendants of Shelah, Judah's son, so this makes me wonder if he did eventually marry Tamar, since usually a deceased man who was childless would have his brother marry his wife to carry on the family line, as Onan did after Er died.

Even though the family line was carried on by Tamar conceiving from Judah, does this still suggest that Shelah married Tamar?

  • Kindly click here for an answer.
    – Joseph
    Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 20:53

3 Answers 3


The Bible does not give Shelah's wife's name (or maybe more accurately, the woman/women who bore him his children, since there is no details at all).

The explicit references to Tamar being the mother of Judah's children even beyond Genesis (Ruth 4:12, 1 Chr 2:4, Mt 1:3) and yet her name absent in relation to Shelah strongly hints that, as Joseph's answer regarding Tamar investigates, Shelah did not marry Tamar.

However, the fact that Shelah did name a son of his Er (likely firstborn; 1 Chr 4:21) after his oldest brother who had first married Tamar (Gen 38:6), implies that in some way he wanted to still see his brother's name continued on, giving some form of a legacy, even though the Levirate marriage to Tamar had not come about (Gen 38:14).

  • Good concise (and correct) answer. +1
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 9:54

The Bible does not mention his wife, only that he had children.


Thr bible clearly states that Tamar did not lay with Judah again no more, however Judah would have had to have died before Shelah could lay with Tamar, and that is kinda an abomination to lay with a woman who your father has been with, so likely no. The hint however is that in Ezekiel 16, Jerusalem is said by God to be native of Canaanites, an amorite father (likely Shelah through Shuah) and a Hittite Mother, which suggest that Shelah eventually married a Caananite woman.

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    Commented Jun 4 at 14:04

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