And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him as wife.
Read Chapter 38
Ephrem The Syrian
Because Tamar was afraid lest Judah find out and kill her in vengeance for his two sons of whose deaths she was accused, she, like Eliezer, asked for a sign saying, “Let your knowledge not condemn me for this act of desire, for you know that it is for what is hidden in the Hebrews that I thirst. I do not know whether this thing is pleasing to you or not. Grant that I may appear to him in another guise lest he kill me. [Grant] also that an invitation to lie with him might be found in his mouth, so that I may know that it is acceptable to you that the treasure, which is hidden in the circumcised, might be transmitted even through a daughter of the uncircumcised. May it be that, when he sees me, he will say to me, ‘Come, let me come into you.’ ”
When Shelah had become a young man and Judah did not wish to bring her back to his house, Tamar thought, “How can I make the Hebrews realize that it is not marriage for which I am hungering, but rather that I am yearning for the blessing that is hidden in them? Although I am able to have relations with Shelah, I would not be able to make my faith victorious through Shelah. I ought then to have relations with Judah so that by the treasure I receive, I might enrich my poverty, and in the widowhood I preserve, I might make it clear that I did not desire marriage.”
Veil; (theristrum) a long robe, covering the whole body, except the eyes. Thus she was disguised; or, as it were, masked, as Aquila translates. Harlots herein imitated modest women, chap. xxiv. 65.
Cross way. Hebrew Henayim, which the Septuagint and Syriac take for a proper name. Others translate "at the gate of the eyes "which means two roads, where a person must open his eyes to judge which is the right one
or "at the gate of the two fountains leading to Thamnas "Judges xiv. 1. Prostitutes formerly infested the high roads. (Jeremias iii. 2; Ezechiel xvi. 25.) Chrysippus says, "at first harlots remained out of the city, and covered their faces; but afterwards growing more hardened, they laid aside the mask"
So, buoyed up with these promises Tamar sat in her father’s house, the text says, waiting for her fatherinlaw’s promise to take effect. When she saw that Judah was not prepared to honor his promise, for a while she accepted it mildly, forbearing to have relations with another man, being content with her widowhood and waiting for a suitable opportunity. She was anxious, you see, to have children by her fatherinlaw. When she saw her motherinlaw die and Judah make for Timnah to shear the flocks, she wished to obtain by stealth intercourse with her fatherinlaw and desired to have children by him, not out of incontinence—perish the thought—but to avoid appearing to be some nameless person. As a matter of fact, what happened was by divine design, and the result was that her scheme took effect.