|Publication Date||October 29, 2011|
Tamar is a Judahite living in captivity in Babylonia during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. She has grown up surrounded by Babylonians, and at fourteen is beginning to question her family's desire to remain separate from them. Perhaps Babylonian religion has more to offer than the worship of Yahweh, the god who has abandoned her to exile and who is threatening to destroy his chosen city, Jerusalem.
Tamar's diary traces her faith journey as her thinking is shaped by encounters with friends and neighbours, in particular: Enki, her childhood friend and source of most of her information about Babylonian beliefs; Sin-gamil, the troubled Babylonian who has come to her father seeking to learn more about the Hebrew faith; Simeon, the charming merchant's son, who puts profit before principle; and Ezekiel, the prophet of Yahweh, who is popularly believed to be mad. Tamar comes to accept that the Hebrew Scriptures are the source of truth, and to dismiss Babylonian myths, but she still wrestles with the mismatch between the God of compassion and longsuffering portrayed in those Scriptures and the harsh God who speaks to Ezekiel.
Everyday life in Babylonia continues despite the tragic news from the siege of Jerusalem and its aftermath. Tamar observes the joys and sorrows of her brother, Reuben, and her friend, Peninnah, as they enter adulthood, but she is taken by surprise by her own heart. She finds that Babylonian life still has unwelcome secrets to reveal, and that she has a lot to learn about faith, commitment and the love of God.
The prophecy of Ezekiel is perhaps one of the most daunting books in the Old Testament. "Tamar's Story" will help you to view it with new eyes.