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CHAPTER 38 Jan. 23 
Judah and His Sons 
It happened at that time, that Judah went down from his brothers, and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua. He took her, and went in to her. 3She conceived, and bore a son; and he named him Er. 4She conceived again, and bore a son; and she named him Onan. 5She yet again bore a son, and named him Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bore him. 6Judah took a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of Yahweh. Yahweh killed him. 8Judah said to Onan, Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her, and raise up seed to your brother. 9Onan knew that the seed wouldn’t be his; and it happened, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest he should give seed to his brother. 10The thing which he did was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and He killed him also. 11Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, Remain a widow in your father’s house, until Shelah, my son, is grown up; for he said, Lest he also die, like his brothers. Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.
Judah and Tamar 
12After many days, Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died. Judah was comforted, and went up to his sheepshearers to Timnah, he and his friend Hirah, the Adullamite. 13It was told Tamar, saying, Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep. 14She took off of her the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gate of Enaim, which is by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she wasn’t given to him as a wife. 15When Judah saw her, he thought that she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16He turned to her by the way, and said, Please come, let me come in to you, for he didn’t know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, What will you give me, that you may come in to me? 17He said, I will send you a young goat from the flock. She said, Will you give me a pledge, until you send it? 18He said, What pledge will I give you? She said, Your signet and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand. He gave them to her, and came in to her, and she conceived by him. 19She arose, and went away, and put off her veil from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20Judah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend, the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, but he didn’t find her. 21Then he asked the men of her place, saying, Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the road? They said, There has been no prostitute here. 22He returned to Judah, and said, I haven’t found her; and also the men of the place said, ‘There has been no prostitute here’. 23Judah said, Let her keep it, lest we be shamed. Behold, I sent this young goat, and you haven’t found her. 24It happened about three months later, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar, your daughter-in-law, has played the prostitute; and moreover, behold, she is with child by prostitution. Judah said, Bring her out, and let her be burnt. 25When she was brought out, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, By the man, whose these are, I am with child. She also said, Examine, please, whose these are—the signet, and the cords, and the staff. 26Judah recognized them and said, She is more righteous than I, because I didn’t give her to Shelah, my son. He knew her again no more. 27It happened in the time of her travail that, behold, twins were in her womb. 28When she travailed, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, This came out first. 29It happened, as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out, and she said, Why have you made a breach for yourself? Therefore his name was called Perez. 30Afterward his brother came out, that had the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah.


38:1 Judah fell into sin whilst separate from his brothers. Keeping together with others in the family of faith is part of our armoury against sin.
38:10 Sins of omission are all the same as bad as sins of commission. 
38:15 Tamar is listed in the New Testament genealogy of Jesus as one of His descendants. Yet like many in His genealogy, she was somewhat non-standard- she had acted as a prostitute. The Lord Jesus had so many strange people in His gene bank, yet He never sinned. We can’t therefore blame our sins on our ancestry or background situation.
38:19 Was Tamar right to have done this…?
38:24 Condemning others for sin when ourselves guilty is exactly what happened with David (2 Sam. 12:6). This phenomenon is because we realize on some level that we have sinned, and that sin must be punished. But if we don’t admit our sin, we earnestly wish to punish that sin whenever it occurs in others. This explains the huge hypocrisy often observed in religious people. We can only guard against it by seriously confessing our sins, regularly, daily; and living a continually self-examined life.
38:25 Judah and his brothers sent Joseph's blood stained coat to Jacob. It's recorded that they invited their father to “Examine it, please, whether it is your son’s coat or not”. He recognized it…” (37:32,33). The very same Hebrew words are used in 38:25,26 in describing how Tamar sent to Judah saying “Examine, please, whose these are… And Judah recognized them and said...'. The whole point of the similarities is to show how God sought to teach Judah how his father Jacob had felt. Note the parallels between the he-goat in Gen. 37:31 and the “kid of the goats” of Gen. 38:17-20; “and he refused to be comforted” of Gen. 37:35 is a designed contrast with how “Judah was comforted” (Gen. 38:12).
38:30 This is part of a theme in Genesis of the firstborn not enjoying the full status of being firstborn- all part of God’s preference to work with the underling and the weak.