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1.15 Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38 Bible Study)
Episode 155th April 2021 • BibleSumo Weekly Bible Study • Pedro Cheung MD
00:00:00 00:29:10

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Genesis 38 Outline

  • Judah's First Sin - Marrying a Pagan Wife (v.1-5)
  • Judah's Second Sin - Breaking a Promise (v.6-14)
  • Judah's Third Sin - Soliciting a Prostitute (v.15-23)
  • Tamar's Vindication (v.24-26)
  • Tamar Bears Twins (v.27-30)

In this episode, we will study a parenthetical chapter: Genesis 38. This chapter is a flashback in Canaan to Joseph older brother Judah. Many ask, “why is this here?” It seems to interrupt the plot development of the Genesis narrative of Joseph.

There are at least 5 reasons why the account of Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar.

  • First, it is a part of Jacob’s story. Remember that the heading of Genesis 37:2 is “These are the generations of Jacob.” Even though I have consistently referred to Genesis 37-50 as the Joseph narrative, it is really the story of Jacob’s household. We will soon see that in this story of Jacob’s children, Judah becomes a central protagonist.
  • Second, this chapter explains why it was necessary for God to bring Israel to Egypt. Jacob’s sons were intermarrying with the Canaanites and in danger of being swallowed up by Canaan’s culture. God chose to preserve the Jews in Egypt as a separate people, since the Egyptians disliked foreigners, particularly shepherds.
  • Third, Genesis 38 contrasts the shortcoming of Judah with the uprightness of Joseph in Genesis 39.
  • Fourth, this chapter provides important background for us that will built up to the climax in Genesis 44, when Judah becomes a pledge and guaranteer for Benjamin. I can’t wait til chapter 44 when we see one of the strongest foreshadowing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
  • Finally, this story gives Judah’s lineage that provides further background to the genealogy of the Messiah. We learn that God’s promised Messiah, Christ Jesus, will come through the line of Judah through Tamar.