Genesis 38-40

We are going to talk about Judah and Tamar.  If you get nothing out of this read here is a free parent lesson.  There is a contraception method called Onanism.  You think I am kidding?? Google it!  The proper term is coitus interruptus.  I am a pretty real mom and bring it on their level, I call it “pull and pray” (my kids want to die when I have these conversations when their friends are over) Hashtag true story…the other day a bunch of high schoolers were at my house and I said “gather around, grab my pen and paper to draw this, we are going to talk about pre-ejaculation and the facts about it”.  Charlie said “mom…don’t”.  Fine…”gather around girls, we are going to talk about Onanism”.  Charlie still wanted to die!

Chapter 38.  You may need this to write on.

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To understand the background on this you need to know why Judah is giving the instructions to his son Onan. If you turn to Deuteronomy 25 you will read what is called the Levirate Marriage (levir meaning “a husband’s brother”):

If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” 10 That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.

The point of this commandment was to have the surviving brother produce an heir to continue the name of the dead brother’s family.  It would not be “blotted out of Israel”.  The child born would be named in the dead brother’s memory however, Tamar was the widow to the deceased OLDEST brother and there was question in Onan’s head about “who would get the inheritance”.  So he ignored the commandment (well, not the fun part) but ensured that he himself would get the birth rite. (Put this in your pocket for later because JESUS will be tested on it by the Sadducees!!)  Back to Genesis:

But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death.

Er was greedy, thinking only of the money.  In the Lord’s eyes that was wicked.  Judah instructed Tamar to wait until the next brother was old enough to build her family line but in verse 12 it says “After a long time…”  JUDAH never fulfilled the commandment of the Levirate marriage. This family line continually goes from deceiving to being deceived.  “What goes around comes around” I say.  Now Judah is deceived by Tamar.  

Tamar now holds:

  • the “rod”- a symbol of power,
  • the “seal”- maybe a signet ring showing family name
  • and the “Crimson Cord!”-a scarlet rope that hold things together.  Stop!! This is too Good!!  Let’s follow this to the pregnancy.

When a woman gives birth to twins it was so important not to mix them up because of birthright and blessings.  (Put’s a whole new light on the Jacob/Esau story where we tend to think about soup and hairy arms.  It was a bigger deal than maybe we read in the past).  At first, Zerah was about to be first born so the thread was tied to his wrist.  However, Perez said “Heck no! I want that thread taken off him and put on my can follow that thread to the Messiah, I am breaking out of this womb”.  And he does!  So the crimson cord…the scarlet thread…that hold things together…that identifies the family name….that will carry the rod…is passed to Perez.

We have to move on or this post will be longer than the Bible!

I think this story is clearer than most so this was a great read.  I am using a brand new Bible to read so that everything falls on fresh eyes and I don’t look at previous highlights or notes.  Usually I draw hearts around the phrases like “How could I do a wicked thing and sin against God” or “Do not interpretations belong to the Lord”.  Knowing Joseph is a typology of Jesus I always focus on his character in circumstances knowing I would have failed this!  In Chapter 39, we can see that Joseph is to Pharaoh what Jacob was to Laban.  The Lord blessed everything he was in charge of.  Pharaoh could live in peace, even trusting his wife around fine looking men like Joseph.  Other manuscripts of this historical story that God did not feel was part of what He wanted penned in the canonizing of the Bible was: Pharaoh’s wife was an adulteress and she is actually put to death for messing around behind Pharaoh’s back…focus Szymanski…people have laundry to do today!

Pharaoh did not have anything to worry about except…in Chapter 39:6…..the food he ate!  It is evident that this Pharaoh lived in the Capitol, which would be very protected from an attack, so how does one overthrow an empire at such a high level such as Kings or Pharaohs?   Well, you can poison them?  So whether there was plot or not, the highest workers in the kitchen are put in prison.  Clearly, the baker was guilty of something because in chapter 40 it says:

16 When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I too had a dream:

The chief baker on the other hand did not get good news.  On Pharaoh’s birthday he does not blow out his birthday candles, but instead of “wishing something would happen”, they actually get to do one thing they wish for.  On this case, he hangs the baker.  (again, put this in your other pocket because party ritual will unfortunately come up again and the the party entertainment that will put John the Baptist to death too.

Have a great day!  I have a feeling some may have paused on the Typology comment so I will post a handout later for you.  As you are doing the laundry pray about your Bible readings so far.  We do not interpret the Bible, the scriptures do that,  but we do get, with help from our Holy Spirit how to apply it in our walk.