We now take a time out from the story of Yosef to look at Y'hudah's (Judah) life more closely. At first it may seem that this story has no place being stuck in here at this point in time. However, it takes place right after Yosef went to Egypt. Remember Yosef was seventeen years old when he was sold into slavery. When Yosef interprets Pharaoh's dream he was 30 years old. (B'resheet (Genesis) 41:46), That is 13 years right there. Then there were 7 good years and 2 years of famine for a total of 22 years before the Israelites migrate into Egypt. So there is plenty of time for this story to take place.
Because of Rueben's, the first born, sin of incest, and Shim'on (Simeon) and Levi's sin of Murder. Y'hudah assumes the position of first born for the Messianic line to pass through. Therefore this story becomes extremely important because it involves the bloodline of our Messiah.
B'resheet 38:1-5 And it came about at that time, that Y'hudah departed from his brothers, and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. And Y'hudah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua; and he took her and went in to her. So she conceived and bore a son and he named him Er. Then she conceived again and bore a son and named him Onan. And she bore still another son and named him Shelah; and it was at Chezib that she bore him.
about at that time - After Yosef was sold into slavery Y'hudah separated from his family and took a Canaanite wife. This was a big NO NO. Remember, Abraham had his servant go back to his family in Ur for a wife for Yitz'chak (Isaac). Yitz'chak sent Ya'akov back for his wife. This was because of the great sins of the Canaanites. It is also because of the curse upon the Canaanites. We discussed this when we studied chapter 9.
B'resheet 9:24-25 When Noach awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said, "Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers."
Er - means "watchful".
Onan - means "strong"
Shelah - means "request".
Chezib - means "falsified"
Adullamite - a native of Adullam - this was a city in the Shephelah of Y'hudah. The land in the Shephelah is low rolling hills and valleys. It falls between the coastal plain of the Mediterranean Sea and the Hill Country of Judah.
B'resheet 38:6-7 Now Y'hudah took a wife for Er his first-born, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Y'hudah's first-born, was evil in the sight of the L-RD, so the L-RD took his life.
Tamar - means "a Palm Tree" - we do not know if she was a Canaanite or not.
We are not told what sin Er committed.
B'resheet 38:8-10 Then Y'hudah said to Onan, "Go in to your brother's wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother." And Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so it came about that when he went in to his brother's wife, he wasted his seed on the ground, in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the L-RD; so He took his life also.
Onan knew the child would not count as his so he wasted his seed on the ground. This is in contrast to the Ruach Hakodesh who would come over Miryam (Mary) who gave birth to a man only known as Yeshua Ben Yosef. He would not be known by most as the Son of G-d although Gavri'el declared it to Miryam. (Luke 1:35)
Later this was recorded in the Mosaic Law.
D'varim (Deuteronomy) 25:5-10 "If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband's brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. But if the man does not want to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, 'My husband's brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.' "Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him; and if he stands firm and says, 'I do not want to take her,' "then his brother's wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, 'So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother's house.' "And his name shall be called in Israel, 'The house of him who had his sandal removed.'
B'resheet 38:11 Then Y'hudah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, "Remain a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up"; for he thought, "I am afraid that he too may die like his brothers." So Tamar went and lived in her father's house.
Y'hudah has no intention of giving his youngest son to Tamar.
Here we get a look at some of the evil actions of the line of Y'hudah, which would be the same line that would bring us the Messiah. It illustrates that we all fall short of the glory of the L-rd and fail in comparison to Him. It also illustrates to us the need that Messiah's Father came from above because the line of Y'hudah was tainted with sin. The father passes on the sin nature to the child not the mother. Yeshua HaMashiach would not receive a sin nature from His father. He was truly made in the image of the Father and was born with His spiritual nature alive.
All receive a body, soul and spirit. But after Adam's sin all offspring have a dead spiritual nature. Adam fathered a son like himself or in "Adam's image" who had become dead spiritually because of his sin. We are then born in the flesh spiritually dead.
B'resheet 5:3 And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
We have an alive body and an alive soul but our spirit is dead -One third of our potential dead. Are our offspring exactly made in G-d's image? No, not any longer, we are all born with a sin nature. It is not until we are born again and receive a new spiritual birth that are we brought back to completion.
(See John chapter 3; 1 Peter 1:3)
The soul and spirit are separately mentioned in:
Heb. 4:12 For the word of G-d is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Messiah (Christ) all shall be made alive.
How can we be made alive?
By admitting our sin and our spiritual emptiness and that we need our Messiah to come in our lives. If we trust in what He said - that His death alone was payment for our sins and that we are not a new creation apart from Him. We now walk in a new spiritual birth and give our lives for the Father to use for His purpose. We walk in the spirit through new covenant power. If you have further questions feel free to e-mail us. email@example.com
B'resheet 38:12 Now after a considerable time Shua's daughter, the wife of Y'hudah, died; and when the time of mourning was ended, Y'hudah went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
It those days there was a lot of partying and feasting going on at sheep shearing time.
B'resheet 38:13-14 And it was told to Tamar, "Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep." So she removed her widow's garments and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife.
Enaim - "two fountains"
Y'hudah failed to keep his promise to Tamar. So Tamar decided to trick Y'hudah. She apparently knew Y'hudah's character enough to know he would fall into her trap. We will see in the following passage that she does not approach him. She just makes herself available and he approaches her.
The corresponding letter to this chapter is Ayin - eye; spiritual insight. Man's measurement of character.