Bible Study Notes on Genesis 38 – 20161214

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Bible Study Notes

Genesis 38:1  “…at that time…”
Have just seen Joseph sold into slavery.  Not sure how much time as passed, but shouldn’t be long after.

2  “…daughter…Canaanite…Shua…married her…”
Son of Jacob doing the same thing as Esau, intermarrying with the Canaanites.

6  “…took a wife for Er his firstborn…”
Not sure of the marrying age, but apparently some time has passed as Judah now has three sons and the two oldest are of marrying age.  Tried to get some idea from the commentaries, but nothing specific.  Some commentaries suggest that Judah’s marriage and the birth of his firstborn actually took place before the incident with Dinah at Shechem.  Somewhat irritating that commentaries will make statements regarding timelines with no references to back up their assumptions.  Certainly the episode occurred.  Just not sure of the exact times.  As the text says, at that time.  Could be several years in either direction.  I think some of the things mentioned are given for back-story with the last situation mentioned being the one closest to current time.

7  “…Er…wicked in the sight of the LORD…”
Not surprising as it appears good, Godly behavior wasn’t passed down to new generations.

8  “…Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother”
First mention of an interesting custom.  If a man died without an heir, the next brother in line could have sexual relations with her to produce a child which would receive the inheritance and legacy of the dead brother.  Interesting concept as the child would only be a descendant of the wife, not of the dead man.  Custom was later introduced into Jewish law.

11  “…Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house”
Not sure why this happened.  Judah told her to go reside in her father’s house as a widow until his third son was of marrying age.  I’m wondering if a widow returning to her father’s home was a custom or was this something Judah was doing to bring about some result.  The text suggests he either wanted separation between Tamar and his son or he really had no intention of allowing his son to impregnate her.  Knowing the customs of the time is difficult especially as they were nomadic people.

12  “…Judah was comforted, and went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah…”
Commentary suggests this business of sheap shearing time was a time of celebration and reveling.  Judah went up with his friend to carouse after the death of his wife.

14  “…she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given to him as a wife”
Tamar can now see the writing on the wall.  Judah isn’t an honest man.  She takes matters into her own hands.  I’m assuming it was to put herself into a position to have children as it appears that would have been desirable rather than die as a childless widow.  Assuming Tamar is a Canaanite, we can’t expect her to behave in a Godly manner.  Judah, on the other hand, is another matter.  He had no excuse for his continued bad behavior.

Topics15-16  “…he thought she was a harlot…Please let me come in to you…”
He had no qualms at all about fornication.  And this is the line through which the Messiah would come.  God’s grace and mercy are without bounds.

17  “…Will you give me a pledge till you send it?
I realize this was part of the plan as she would later need proof of Judah’s identity, but it strikes me that she asks for a pledge from him this time.  She knows he’s untrustworthy, and she’s covering her bets.  She probably wishes she had asked for a pledge when he told her he would give his third son.

23  “…lest we be shamed…”
Not sure of his meaning here.  Commentaries suggest either shame that others would know of his fornication or that he was taken advantage of by a harlot.  I doubt the heathen cared about his fornication.  His friend had no problem asking about the harlot so they must not have considered that a problem.  I feel like he didn’t want to appear a fool at the hands of a harlot.  He makes the statement that he had fulfilled his part of the bargain.  The goat may have been the more valuable, so as the harlot was gone, she would have to deal with the loss and be content only with the pledge.  To continue to look for her would only highlight his loss in the deal.

24  “…Bring her out and let her be burned!”
Such hypocrisy.  It was fine for Judah to commit fornication, but not for his mistreated daughter-in-law.

26  “…Judah acknowledged them…”
Probably didn’t have much choice at this point, but at least he didn’t try to hide the fact.

29  “…his name was called Perez”
Perez is in the ancestral line of the Messiah.  God deals with us as we are, sin nature and all.  He certainly doesn’t approve of it nor accept it, but He loves us and sent Jesus to forgive and cleanse us.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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