Genesis Chapter 38
"Joseph's Brother: Judah"
Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
This chapter in Genesis is a very important chapter, that is often overlooked. The last four verses contain a short story about the birth of twins, the twins of Judah, the son of Israel. According to custom, the birthright of the father was passed to the oldest son, and in Judah's case it was the right of the scepter. The right to rule, as well as the law giver was given to Judah, to be passed through his blood line.
Genesis 38:1 "And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah."
The word "Hirah" means "a noble race", however it wasn't, as we will see. We will see here that Satan is making another attempt to pollute the bloodline of Israel, where the Messiah shall come.
Genesis 38:2 "And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her."
Do you understand that this woman was a Canaanite, and as we saw in Esau's case, that was a sin against Almighty God to marry a Canaanite. Judah is marrying out of his own kindred into a race that has an mixture of the Kenites and Nephilim, as well and the Perizzites, and other descendants of Satan and the fallen angels. This is the very event that brought about the flood, and Judah is falling into this trap. In this was Judah's sin.
Though mankind is void of memory of the struggle of what took place in the first earth age, Satan is not. Satan continually tries to destroy the seed of woman, whereby the Christ child will come through. As we can see through Matthew 1:3; "And Judas [Judah] begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares began Esrom:"; and again in Luke 3:33; "...Esrom which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda [Judah]." this is the direct lineage of Jesus Christ the son of God. For in destroying the lineage of Jesus Christ, Satan destroys the plan of God.
Genesis 38:3 "And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er."
This Canaanite woman bare a son to Judah, and this is a sin in the eyes of Almighty God.
Genesis 38:4 "And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan."
"Onan" means strong in the Hebrew tongue.
Genesis 38:5 "And she yet again conceived, and bare a son: and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him."
So this genealogy that Judah has started is in complete defiance of the laws that God gave, in the promises from Adam, through Noah and Abraham. Will God allow it to continue? This is a disgrace and a crime against God himself. God tried to block Satan's similar act with the flood and the overthrow, and here Judah wildly commits this lustful act, as if it is his right to do so.
Genesis 38:6 "And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn whose name was Tamar."
The name "Tamar" means "pine tree", and she was from his own brethren. Judah again fouled up, by taking one of the line of Christ, and married her to this Canaanite son of Shuah.
Genesis 38:7 "And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him."
God is taking care of his business, and correcting the wrong that Judah has committed. God is having to give divine intervention, to make up for Judah's stupidity.
Genesis 38:8 "And Judah said unto Onan, "Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother."
Genesis 38:9 "And Onana knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother."
Genesis 38:10 "And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore He slew him also."
This act and control of emotions is also part of God's divine intervention, whereby she would not conceive from these men. This act would have produced what is called a "Mamzer" in the Hebrew, also referred to as a "bastard, or mongrel" in the English language. To understand this will help give meaning to this entire chapter. These mamzers, are Judah's own offspring, not illegitimate, but it is in reference that one bloodline crossed with a different bloodline. In this case, a polluted bloodline containing the blood of the fallen angels, and Satan himself [the Kenites].
Genesis 38:11 "Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, "Remain a widow at thy father's house, till Shelah my son be grown: "for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did" And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house."
Judah is starting to get the picture; God is going to kill all of his boys that came from his Kenite wife. This is also an indication of why Judah did not give his youngest son, Shelah to Tamar, when he became of age.
Genesis 38:12 "And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite."
This Canaanite wife died and in Judah's mourning, he turns again to the Canaanite [Adullamite] friend, Hirah for comfort. Sheepshearing time was a time to work off his emotions.
Genesis 38:13 "And it was told Tamar, saying, "Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep."
Tamar knows that she has been forgotten by Judah.
Genesis 38:14 "And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife."
Judah was unfair to this woman, and Tamar has a way of getting even with him. However we must remember that this is God's divine intervention. In the distance future, it will be Jesse, and David, that the Christ child will be born, and it will not be from a Canaanite family, but the true line of Judah.
Genesis 38:15 "When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face."
She simply covered her face.
Genesis 38:16 "And he turned unto her by the way, and said, "Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee;" (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, "What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?"
Genesis 38:17 "And he said, "I will send thee a kid from the flock." And she said, "Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it?"
Judah made and offer, and now Tamar wants something of Judah's' to verify that the offer was from him, and personal to him. This is for proof for who the father would be, should she have a child by the affair. However, Tamar knew the father would be, and it was all part of her plot to deceive Judah.
Genesis 38:18 "And he said, "What pledge shall I give thee?" And she said, "Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand." And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him."
The signet is the family crest, that is the seal of the family wealth. It is what is used to do the family business with. The staff is the rule and the rod of the family, it is the birthright. That is what is asked for, and that is what she got. Judah was willing to give the value of the birthright, and the family wealth over to what he thought was a harlot, for the sake of a one night stand. Judah is showing that he is not to responsible of a person.
This act shows us his true character and human weaknesses, and is the same that was present when he was willing to sell his brother Joseph to the Ishmeelites for less then the price of a slave.
Genesis 38:19 "And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood."
Genesis 38:20 "And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman's hand: but he found her not."
Judah was willing to send the kid to this woman, but he doesn't want to be seen in public trying to get back the family crest, and bracelet. It could be embarrassing for a man of his position, seen chasing after a harlot. Judah did not know that it was his own daughter in law, Tamar.
Genesis 38:21 "Then he asked the men of that place," Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side?" And they said, "There was no harlot in this place."
Genesis 38:22 "And he returned to Judah, and said, "I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place."
In fact there wasn't a harlot there, for Tamar was not an harlot.
Genesis 38:23 "And Judah said, "Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her."
If he couldn't find this woman, he told Hirah, then lets just hush it all up, and keep quiet about it. I kept my end of the bargain, yet she has disappeared, let her keep bracelet, seal, and staff.
Genesis 38:24 "And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, "Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom." And Judah said, "Bring her forth, and let her be burnt."
After the looseness and wildness of this old whoremonger, then making a statement like that, tells how low Judah had sunk. It is starting to show us just what type of man Judah was. He sold his brother into slavery, married down into the heathen people, and went whoreing after strange women; and that is who he thought Tamar was. He is worse than Esau, yet God would select Judah to be the one that the Christ child Jesus would come through.
He gave away his birthright [signet] to a harlot, which was an act of refusing the Covenant that God gave to his father Abraham, and then he becomes self-righteous with his daughter in law. Judah has wronged Tamar by withholding the third son, by law a commitment, but if he had, God would have probably killed him too, for God would not have allowed Tamar to marry that half-breed, and pollute the bloodline of the perverted Canaanite that God so disliked.
As we study each of these great men of God, we see that each of them were human, with all the human weaknesses in their thought and actions, yet there will come a point in their lives when they come to their senses, and seek forgiveness. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all had their times of despair, just as Judah has here. Yet, they are all in our Bible to be part of God's plan, to give us instruction, and to help give us insight into the prophecies of all of God's Word. These Bible characters were just plain people, with faults like anyone else; however in Judah's case it's almost unbelievable when you see what this man did in relationship to the beautiful covenants that God made with his father Israel.
He followed in his uncle Esau's footsteps in playing with the heathen, and even marring one, in total disregard of God's instruction. Now Judah has gone one step beyond in announcing death on Tamar.
Genesis 38:25 "When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, "By the man, whose these are, am I with child:" and she said, "Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff."
Tamar was a pretty smart person, and when she came to Judah in her state of being with child, she had the signet, bracelets, and staff with her. Judah has pronounced the death sentence on the woman, when it was he that did the act.
Genesis 38:26 "And Judah acknowledged them, and said, "She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son." And he knew her again no more."
At least Judah was kind enough that he admitted that they were his. Judah is overlooking the fact that he did know her again, for he knew her when the conception had taken place.
Genesis 38:27 "And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb,"
Genesis 38:28 "And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first."
The scarlet thread is the marking of the first born, with all the rights of the blessing, and duties that shall be passed on in the inheritance form their father. When this first little hand came forth the, the midwife got a little anxious, and gave the marking on the wrong child. This marking of the wrong child is called "the breach", and this breach will have a far reaching effect; even to our present generation.
The red thread can be traced through the "house of Ulster" within the families of the royal families of England, and also all of the other royal families of the Christian nations, including the Tzars of Russia.
Genesis 38:29 "And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: this breach be upon thee:" therefore his name was called Pharez."
The name "Phares" in the Hebrew text means "breach", so this reveals that Pharez is the actual firstborn that should have had all the rights of the firstborn child.
Genesis 38:30 "And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah."
In Matthew 1:3, both Phares and Zarah, together with their mother Tamar, are in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. This is why this parenthetical chapter is inserted here, out of place in order historically, for the sole purpose of calling attention to itself. In historical order it should go prior to Genesis 37.
The entire time that Judah went out from his father's house to run with Hirah, the Adullamite, he sort of forgot the lessons that his father had told him from the past. Judah was after the good times, and chasing the women of the Canaanite area, and ended up marring one of them, when he knew it was forbidden. While Judah was in a playful mood, Satan was working him over, and it all ended up just as his uncle Esau had done.
God had a purpose for the life of Judah, and it wasn't to end as in Esau's case, and God stepped in to intervene in the matter. The result of the errors that Judah made, ended in the death of all of his sons by the Canaanite wife. Then when Judah loses his Canaanite wife in death, Satan again works over Judah's mind. Satan tells him, "it will be alright, just go shear sheep, and get a whore. This was not in God's plans, nor was it what Tamar would settle for. God gave the woman Tamar the ability to reason things through, and in the end, both God's will, and Tamar's desires were satisfied.
Satan has a way of working on the minds of human beings, and all human beings have a way of responding as human beings. Though we are talking of the great Judah, or David, or any human being, we can find where their actions are not all pure, however there is a time when their faults come to the light, and the men and women of God will repent of their sins, and set themselves on the right course as God would have them.
Within this story of Judah's faults we can see the hand of God. God will allow certain things to fall upon his elect, and those chosen to do His tasks, and when they fall short of that responsibility God will intervene in their lives and make the corrections necessary. When this should happen in your life, that is the time to repent and thank God for His divine hand in changing you. This is a prime example of how wrong a man [Judah] can be, and when he analyses himself he can see how harsh and unfair he has judged someone else, when the problem was within himself.
Plough .~ Seeds .~ Vine .~ Potter .~ Seasons .~ Sonshine .~ Rain .~ Field