the sons of thamar
And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; Matt. 1:3.
Jews were polygamists like many other Oriental peoples. Men of wealth and nobility married several wives and this custom was also followed by men of the poorer classes. In every case the name of the mother is given with that of her son. It often happens that a man may have several sons who bear the same name but of different mothers. Thus the name Zara may be given to three or four boys who have the same father but they are distinguished from one another by being known as Zara the son of Thamar. It is also interesting to know that if a boy called Zara dies and a son is born to the same mother, the same name might be given to him. This fact explains why the name of the mother is so often mentioned in connection with the kings of Israel and Judah.
- from page 29, Gospel Light