And she put her widow's garments off from her,.... By which it appears that in those times and countries it was usual for widows to have a different apparel from others, especially in the time of their mourning, as it has been since in other nations, and with us at this day, and which is commonly called "the widow's weed":
and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself; in it, or in a cloak, or some such like garment, which the Arabs now call "hykes"; this she did that she might not be known, and not that she might appear as an harlot; for it was common to all women in those countries to go abroad with their veils: and on the contrary, whatever might be the custom here in those early times, which cannot be said what it was; in other countries, and in later times, harlots have been used to appear unveiledF20Alex. ab Alexand. Genial. Dier. l. 5. c. 18. and open to the view of all; though JuvenalF21Satyr. 6. represents the Empress Messalina as covering herself with a night hood, and hiding her black hair under a yellow bonnet or peruke, that she might appear as an harlot going to the stews: and so the Arabs now, their whores as well as other women, veil themselves in the streets, but in Egypt they are used to sit at the door, or walk in the streets unveiledF23Pitts's Account of the Mahometans, p. 56, 67. and Norden's Travels in Egypt, vol. 2. p. 47. :
and sat in an open place, which is in the way to Timnath; the Septuagint version renders it, "at the gates of Aenan"; some take it to be the name of a place, and suppose it had its name, as Aben Ezra observes, from two fountains of water that were in the way, like a door, through which Judah passed when he returned home: so Philo the JewF24De profugis, p. 471. reads, Genesis 38:21; "where is the harlot which was in Ainan by the way?" and JeromF25De loc. Heb. fol. 87. F. G. speaks of Aenan as you go to Timnath, now a desert place, and near to the great village Timnath, which is between Aelia and Diospolis (i.e. Jerusalem and Lydia), and there is a fountain in the above place, from whence it has its name: the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it,"in the division of the ways where all eyes look;'for the word has the signification of eyes as well as of fountains; and seems to design a place where two ways or more met, which were not only open and obvious to every eye, but required persons to make use of their eyes, and look about them, and consider which way they should go; and where perhaps a way mark was set up for them to look to, to direct them; and here Tamar placed herself as harlots used to do: hence CatullusF26Epigram, 35. 16. calls common prostitutes "semitariae moechae", pathway whores; and on the contrary, such an one as was a secret whore, and less exposed, HoraceF1Carmin. l. 2. Ode 11. calls "devium scortum", an whore that was at some distance from the public road, not so common as others: so in the Apocryph,"The women also with cords about them, sitting in the ways, burn bran for perfume: but if any of them, drawn by some that passeth by, lie with him, she reproacheth her fellow, that she was not thought as worthy as herself, nor her cord broken.' (Baruch 6:43)whorish women are represented as sitting in the ways and by the roadside, girt with cords (of bulrushes, and so easily broken), to be picked up by men as they passed by; referring to what HerodotusF2Clio sive, l. 1. c. 199. reports of the women in the temple of Venus at Babylon. This method Tamar took:
for she saw that Shelah was grown: was at least at the age of her former husbands when, married, if not older: this might be two or three years after his brother's death: for it was in process of time, or when there had been a multiplication of days after this, that Judah's wife died, and now his mourning for her was over, Genesis 38:12,
and she was not given unto him for wife: as he had given her reason to expect, Genesis 38:11, and as was usually done.