Genesis 38-40

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Before we begin today’s reading let’s do a brief overview of “who’s who” in Jacob’s/Israel’s family.  Jacob marries Leah and they have 6 sons and a daughter (listed from oldest to youngest): Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah the only daughter.  Zilpah (Leah’s maidservant) gives him two sons Gad and Asher.  Bilhah (Rachel’s maidservant) gives him two sons Dan and Naphtali.  Then finally Rachel, the one Jacob truly loved is able to give him Joseph and then dies giving birth to their son Benjamin.  NOW Jacob is the father of twelve sons, aka: the twelve tribes if Israel. 

Chapter 38 — Judah Leaves.  Judah was the 4th son, one of the ones who plotted to kill Joseph, and also the one who “suggested” that they sell him to Ishmaelites (relatives of the biological son of Isaac with Hagar) so basically the brothers would not have blood on their hands.    WHY does he leave?  We are not given the answers to this question in the scripture.  HOWEVER, we KNOW that God is at work in all of this.  JUDAH IS the line that Jesus the Messiah will come from.  I find this TOTALLY AMAZING that we KNOW two of Judah’s sons were “bad to the bone” …. He married a Canaanite …. YET… Jesus will come to us through HIS lineage!!  Between JUDAH and Jesus (YESHUA) there is a little bit of EVERY one of EVERY back ground in this family line. Why do I say EVERY one … well in the family line we have … Hebrews, Gentiles, Prostitutes, Moabites (Lot’s grandchildren from his daughter), kings, mistresses…. And I could go on but you get the point!!  (CAN YOU SEE HOW GOD PLANNED FOR EVERYONE TO COME TO JESUS FROM THE BEGINNING AND NOT ONLY THE ISRAELITES??)

Judah marries a Canaanite woman (I KNOW… I can see your SHOCK face right now!!).  She had three sons with Judah, Er, Onan, and then Shelah.  “BAD BOYS, BAD BOYS, WHAT CHA GONNA DO???”  Judah and his wife also had an unnamed daughter (who later dies). Judah gets a wife for Er, his oldest, and her name is Tamar.  Don’t you wonder WHAT Er did for God to say: “(he) was so wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord PUT HIM TO DEATH.”?  Heavens!!!  “Back in the day”, the law about marrying a widow in the family is explained in Deut. 25:5-10.  According to the Life Application Bible, “the purpose of the law was to ensure that a childless widow (like Tamar) would have a son who would receive her late husband’s inheritance and who in turn would care for her.”  Since Tamar and Er had NO children before his death, Tamar became Onar’s (the next son).  WEEELLLLLLLLLLL >>>> WHAT can I say, but the man did NOT want to have a son for the sake of his brother, or the law.  He knew Er’s inheritance would go to the son, wanted his own son for inheritance, and decided to waste his semen.  (I am NOT making this UP… it is right there in the reading!! )  SO…God killed Onan because he REFUSED to fulfill his obligation to his brother and Tamar.  Judah asks Tamar to live with HER father until Judah’s youngest son could fulfill the obligation and she agrees. (Ummmmm …. More deceptions he may have learned from his father??)

“After a long time,” Judah’s wife died.  After he had grieved for her he went up to Timnah to shear sheep.  People told Tamar where he was going.  Tamar saw Shelah all grown up and has not been given to her (HOW LONG had she been in her widow clothes???).   She disguises herself as a prostitute, makes Judah an offer he can’t refuse, (he has NO clue who he is about to sleep with), he promises to give her a young goat from his flock. She asked for a pledge from him so when their moment of pleasure was over she would be able to claim her goat (or so Judah thought).  She got his very important seal, its cord and his staff.  He gave them to her, slept with her; she became pregnant, and leaves.  Three months later Judah is told Tamar is guilty of prostitution and is pregnant.  Judah is going to KILL her, until she pulls out his seal, cord, and staff!!  RUT ROW!!!  WHO’S YOUR DADDY???

Judah recognized his belongings and says: “she is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.  And he did not sleep with her again.” (verse 26).  Judah KNEW his youngest son was now of age to be with Tamar.  He also KNEW she was still living with her father wearing the widow clothing.  So it makes perfectly good sense to me, as to why Judah recognized that he had done the wrong things and she was more righteous.  Tamar would now become the matriarch of Judah’s lineage.  Tamar does have twins, Perez and Zerah.  Zerah’s name means scarlet because the doctor had tied a red ribbon around his wrist to tell which one came first…. BUT… somehow the babies switched places and Perez was first.  Something here is reminding me of the birth of the twins of Isaac and Rebekah… Esau and Jacob.  I can’t find anything that shows there is significance in the scarlet string but I did learn from my mentor last year that scarlet is the color of Mercy, of Royalty, of Jesus. We will see a Scarlet thread again with Rehab 🙂

WHO NEEDS TV when we have reading like this????

Chapter 39 – Poor Joseph!!  AFTER ALL he goes through he does NOT question his FAITH.  His brothers threw him in a well, sold him to slavery, he is now in prison for doing something morally right (Potiphar’s wife was just a MESS wasn’t she??) …and yet in 40:8 he says “Do not interpretations belong to God”.  After all this, he is proclaiming God is in control!!  No wonder even in bad times the Lord showed him favor!

Chapter 40 — The last verse “The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph, he forgot him”.   We KNOW God did not forget Joseph, but isn’t it easy to feel that God has forgotten us when the going gets tough?  Isn’t that what happens to many us and why we can feel so alone?   There is SO much in this story.  MANY years ago I was a chaperone for a youth group (seniors in high school).  We traveled to PRISONS from NC to Florida singing a musical named “Dreamer.”  “Dreamer” was about Joseph, written by a Christian, and was powerful!!  I learned so much about Joseph and after visiting maximum security prisons had great compassion on Joseph’s imprisonment.

Joseph is a Portrait/foreshadow of Christ.  ALL the details in Joseph’s life line up with Christ’s.  God does INDEED have a HUGE plan.  Can you see any similarities between Joseph and Christ at this point?  God knows the details of Jesus, the age, the temptation, the return…etc, and He can showcase all that for us through Joseph.  It is so awesome to watch it all unfold through Scripture.

Sharing HIS love,


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