Genesis 38 academic

From Sensus Plenior
Jump to: navigation, search

The account of Judah and Tamar has been called the worst chapter in the Bible. [1] [2] Perhaps the salacious details have distracted many from the intended meaning of the scripture. Often this chapter is skipped over quickly in the surveys of the Bible and Pastors arrange their sequential preaching plans to conveniently break for Christmas topical sermons instead.

Luke taught that we needed to look for Christ in all the scripture [3], just as Jesus had taught his disciples. Therefore if we cannot find Jesus in Genesis 38, we don't yet know how to read the scriptures as Jesus and the apostles did.

Before we can tackle the 'mystery hidden from the beginning' we first must be familiar with the literal text. We will the examine the actors involved in the mystery play, re-tell the story as a story of Christ, and then dig into details within the story that corroborate the correlation with Christ.

Literal text

It is here for those who have not ventured into the dark recesses of the Old Testament.

Ge 38:1 ¶ And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name [was] Hirah.
Ge 38:2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name [was] Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
Ge 38:3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.
Ge 38:4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.
Ge 38:5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.
Ge 38:6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name [was] Tamar.
Ge 38:7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
Ge 38:8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
Ge 38:9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled [it] on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
Ge 38:10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
Ge 38:11 Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren [did]. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.
Ge 38:12 ¶ And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
Ge 38:13 And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep.
Ge 38:14 And she put her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which [is] by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.
Ge 38:15 When Judah saw her, he thought her [to be] an harlot; because she had covered her face.
Ge 38:16 And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she [was] his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?
Ge 38:17 And he said, I will send [thee] a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give [me] a pledge, till thou send [it]?
Ge 38:18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that [is] in thine hand. And he gave [it] her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.
Ge 38:19 And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.
Ge 38:20 And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive [his] pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not.
Ge 38:21 Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where [is] the harlot, that [was] openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this [place].
Ge 38:22 And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, [that] there was no harlot in this [place].
Ge 38:23 And Judah said, Let her take [it] to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.
Ge 38:24 ¶ And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she [is] with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.
Ge 38:25 When she [was] brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these [are, am] I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose [are] these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.
Ge 38:26 And Judah acknowledged [them], and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
Ge 38:27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins [were] in her womb.
Ge 38:28 And it came to pass, when she travailed, that [the one] put out [his] hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
Ge 38:29 And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? [this] breach [be] upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.
Ge 38:30 And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.

Brief comment on the literal account

Many Bible commentators wonder why this chapter is inserted in the middle of the account of Joseph. Close reading tells us that this event caused the change in Judah from being the jealous, murderous liar who tricked his father, Jacob, to believing Joseph was dead, into the repentant, self-sacrificing brother who would give himself in place of his younger brother Benjamin.

The key to understanding his transformation is the word הכר, loosely translated: "Do you recognize these?" It is the word Judah used when he presented Jacob with Joseph's bloody coat, and he is being confronted by his daughter-in-law with the same word. It is made more poignant because she took an action to give Judah an heir, and Judah used the word to deprive his father of a son. Tamar was more honorable than he.

The chapter is exactly where it needs to be to explain Judah's transformation.

Deep reading the mystery

Cast of characters

As they appear on stage

Judah/God

The fourth child of Jacob, but as far as counting the children, he is the second son. Levi (older than Judah) is eliminated from the count of tribes because they belong to the Lord as priest. [4] Simeon (also older than Judah) is eliminated from the count because he played judge. [5] This leaves Judah as the second son of Jacob. Judah as a second son is in a line of second sons: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. These all are part of the second Adam motif. The second Adam motif will be carried through the sons of Tamar.

In this vignette, Judah represents God. He is the father of Er/Adam, Onan/Israel and Shela/Joseph (the husband of Mary). His name means praised'.

Adullamite/Holy Ghost

In God's revelation of himself, he has used two messages. He is Holy and he is Love. The problem is that we don't understand these if we mix them together. Love is together, Holiness is separate. It doesn't make sense to us.

In the Trinity, The Father is the invisible God who sends forth the Holy Spirit and his Son to make him known. The Holy Spirit represents his Holiness through law, justice, judgement, etc. The Son makes him known through love, grace, forgiveness, long-suffering, etc. Adullamite means 'justice of the people' [6]. If people get justice, they get judgement, which is an expression of holiness. The Adullamite represents the Holy Ghost and his name,Hirah, means 'a noble family' [7], which we will pencil in as the Trinity.

Shuah/earth

Shuah is the mother of Er/Adam, Onan/Israel and Shelah/Joseph. There is no woman who meets that requirement in the mystery. She was a Canaaanite, which means 'lowlander' and is a metaphor for 'of the earth'. All men are created from dust. [8] Hills and mountains are 'spiritual'. Her name, Shuah, means 'rich' [9] and 'cry out for help'. [10]

Er/Adam

Er/Adam is the first 'son of Judah/God'. He was 'called Er' by his father. [11] The significance of being named by his father is that his name would reflect his nature. One who is named by his mother may not reflect his character since the woman was deceived. [12]

Er means 'awake'. Considering Biblical euphemisms, 'asleep' and 'in the dust' both refer to 'death'. In riddle, being called 'awake' means you were called alive from the dust. This is a good description of Adam. Furthermore, Er/Adam was killed because of sin. [13]

Onan/Israel

His mother mistakenly named him 'Onan'. The meaning of 'Onan' is 'vigorous' or 'full of life'. but he spilled his seed in the earth. The seed of Israel is the nation of Israel. They had so much potential life coming out of Egypt, but they were a people of the earth. They died in the dust of the wilderness.

Shelah/Joseph

Shelah/Joseph was next in line to beget the son on behalf of Er/Adam. Neither Shelah nor Joseph were given the chance. His name means 'petition, neglect, at rest, extract' and he was at Chezib meaning 'false'. These riddles have not been solved yet. Perhaps you can.

Tamar/Mary

Since the story involves Adam and Israel, Tamar also represents Eve and Rachel/Leah. But her involvement is little in those scenes so she will not be addresses much in the dynamic equivalent.

'Tamar' means 'palm-tree' but in formation 't' ת at the beginning of a word means 'purpose of' and 'mar' מר means 'bitter, myrrh' and is a metaphor for death. 'Mary' in Hebrew is 'Miryam' מרים which can be read as 'bitter water' or death of 'the water below' which is a riddle for Christ. Her name means 'rebellion' [14]. The main story is about Tamar/Mary, so many other parallels will make this plain.

Observe the similarities with Eve, who was both rebellious and the cause of death as she handed her husband the fruit. Likewise, Rachel and Leah were both pagan and their bickering was no end of strife for Jacob. Before his death and resurrection scene, wrestling with the angel, even though their strife was not his primary reason, he was willing to have them both killed by Esau. [15]



Tamar's mystery revealed Tamar and Mary were in a similar predicament. Tamar has been discovered to be with child and was going to be killed. (Ge 38:24) Mary was discovered with child and was going to be put away. (Mt 1:18-19) When the true father of each child was discovered, they both were honored. (Ge 38:26, Lk 1:42) Such a coincidence. Each had wanted an assurance of a promise. Tamar had received three things from Judah (Ge 38:18) and Mary had received three saying from the angel that announced her pregnancy. (Lk 1:35) These are easy parallels to understand, but they are easy to dismiss as accidents of history until we examine the whole story:

The appointment Judah and Tamar God and Mary Ge 38:14 Tamar met Judah before Timnath (the appointment) Mary met God before the appointed time of Christ. “It is appointed unto man once to die…” (Heb 9:27)

The scapegoat Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar was offered a goat by Judah. (Ge 38:17) Mary was offered THE scapegoat, since the angel told her “He will save his people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21) (words used of the scapegoat)(1) (1) And In the ritual of the scapegoat, two goats are presented. They represent Jesus before and after the cross. One is killed for a burnt offering. In the burnt offering, the priest do not get to eat any part of it since it is completely consumed by fire. It represents the Son’s total devotion to the Father which we cannot participate in, but only stand and watch in awe. The smell of the burnt offering is a sweet savor unto the Lord since there is not hint of sin involved in it. You can see the first instance of a burnt offering is when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac AND Isaac was willing to be obedient to his father. (Ge 22:2 ) The second goat is released into the wilderness to carry away the sins of the people. It represents Christ’s resurrection, which demonstrates that his sacrifice for us was accepted. Since Jesus is the fulfillment of the scapegoat images, Mary had also been promised a goat. The virgin birth Judah and Tamar God and Mary Judah told Tamar he would send a goat. The word he used also means ‘sow’. (Ge 38:17) God told Mary she would conceive miraculously by the Holy Ghost. God would 'sow' the goat. (Lk 1:35)

The need for assurance Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar wanted an assurance that she would receive the goat, (Ge 38:17) Mary asked for an assuring word of explanation. (Lk 1:34)

Three assurances Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar was given the staff or rod which represents the power of God in discipline. (Pr 22:15, Pr 23:13, Pr 29:15) Mary was told the power of the Highest would overshadow her. (Lk 1:35) She was not being disciplined, but God’s discipline upon mankind as borne by His Son and her son, overshadowed her life. Tamar was given the signet ring. (Ge 38:18) A signet ring declares the wearer to be a son. Mary was told that he would be called the Son of God. (Lk 1:35)

Tamar was given bracelets. (Ge 38:18) In a very literal sense, bracelets were given to signify a marriage, much like we now give rings. But the real clue to the hidden meaning comes from the law of cleanliness: Nu 19:15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering [bracelets] bound upon it, is unclean. Paul was called a chosen vessel (Ac 9:15) and in other images we find that we are vessels as well. Since Tamar was a vessel that had bracelets, she was not unclean. Mary was told that she was not unclean because although she was with child, it was by the Holy Ghost. (Lk 1:35)

Twins Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar bore twins (Ge 38:27) Mary bore the dual-natured God-Man. (Joh 8:58)

The names of the twins mean 'breaking forth' and 'rising sun' Jesus was called Dayspring.(Lu 1:78)

______

Editor's Draft


______

It is clear the gospel message is hidden in the Old Testament. The author of Hebrews declares: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (He 1:1, KJV). It seems these “divers manners” include what one might call “dinner theater.” Shakespeare quipped “all the world’s a stage” (“As You Like It” Act 2.7). This notion human drama and theatrical precedence is seen early in the dramaturgy of biblical literature. One example of the hidden gospel is in the story of Tamar in Genesis 38, where we have, it seems, a cast of characters acting out a play within the play as it were, as the Gospel story metaphorically hidden, can be incontrovertibly revealed in the narrative.

Dramaturgically, we have Tamar as a parallel character to Mary (mother of Jesus) in the Gospels, and by juxtaposing the predicament of Tamar in (Ge 38:24) and Mary (Mt 1:18), we see both being with child out of wedlock, faced certain ruination: “And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt” (KJV). Compared to Mary as “Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily” (KJV).

However, in parallel fashion, when the true father of each child is discovered, both women are honored (Ge 38:26, cf Lk 1:42). Judah declares “She hath been more righteous than I.” The Hebrew word for “righteous” צָדַק (tsadaq) denotes “to have a just cause, be in the right; to be just (of God); and to be just, be righteous (in conduct and character)” (Davidson 640).

Likewise, the reversal of reputation for Mary is proclaimed by Elizabeth when she proclaims “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (Lk 1:42). The Greek for blessed, εὐλογέω (eulogeō), denotes “to praise, celebrate with praises; to invoke blessings; to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers” (Kittle 2: 754-765). In both cases we have a plot reversal, with Tamar and Mary, who face certain ruin—given their respective predicaments— are ultimately lauded.

While the wider implications of the story of Tamar might go unnoticed by a casual reader of the Bible, there are arguably more comparisons to be made with her story and Mary mother of Jesus. By way of dramaturgical agenda continuing the “play within the play” motif, we have, in this vignette, Judah representing God. He is the father of Er/Adam, Onan/Israel and Shela/Joseph (the husband of Mary) whose name means “praised.” This comparison features the source of a mysterious pregnancy. Where Tamar is surreptitiously impregnated by Judah, Mary is supernaturally impregnated by the Holy Spirit. Both pregnancies register as “mysterious” because, while the reader is savvy to the plot through the narrative, in the cultural context, both pregnancies create a potentially shameful situation for both women—who are not only pregnant out of wedlock—but in both cases, the father of each child is concealed—deepening the sense of disgrace to a level of whoredom. It is only when the true father of each child is revealed, that a sense of restoration is registered and the women are, respectively, not only exonerated and their reputations restored (or preserved), but they are both elevated—for Tamar is “more righteous” than Judah (Ge 38:26) and Mary is “blessed … among women” (Lk 1:42).

The parallels between Tamar and Mary continue as we consider the pledges given to each woman before conception. Tamar is given Judah’s “bracelet, staff, and signet ring” (Ge 38:18), three items of personal property and arguably symbols of authority and power—and a combination of evidence that would hold Judah inescapably culpable in this affair. The signet, חוֹתָם (chowtham), in particular is quite personal—typically baring “distinctive ornamentation” (Sarna 268). It was basically the modern-day equivalent of a personal signature (like a royal stamp) as a head of a tribe might carry (Botterweck 5: 266). So, in effect, Judah “leaves part of himself [and his authority] with Tamar” in giving her this seal (Sarna 268). It is only after Tamar receives these personal pledges that Judah subsequent “came in unto her and she conceived by him” (Ge 38:18). In this dramatic vignette, one is left with no doubt the child that Tamar conceives belongs to Judah. In parallel fashion, Mary, like Tamar, is given three pledges that denote authority and power: “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee [the first pledge], and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee [the second pledge]: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” [the third pledge] (Lk 1:35). The commanding diction used in these three pledges, “power of the Highest”; "Holy Ghost”; “holy thing”; and “Son of God” leave little room for doubt by whom Mary shall conceive. For Mary, as with Tamar, a promise is made and a son is given.









Tamar's mystery revealed Tamar and Mary were in a similar predicament. Tamar has been discovered to be with child and was going to be killed. (Ge 38:24) Mary was discovered with child and was going to be put away. (Mt 1:18-19) When the true father of each child was discovered, they both were honored. (Ge 38:26, Lk 1:42) Such a coincidence. Each had wanted an assurance of a promise. Tamar had received three things from Judah (Ge 38:18) and Mary had received three saying from the angel that announced her pregnancy. (Lk 1:35) These are easy parallels to understand, but they are easy to dismiss as accidents of history until we examine the whole story:

The appointment Judah and Tamar God and Mary Ge 38:14 Tamar met Judah before Timnath (the appointment) Mary met God before the appointed time of Christ. “It is appointed unto man once to die…” (Heb 9:27)

The scapegoat Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar was offered a goat by Judah. (Ge 38:17) Mary was offered THE scapegoat, since the angel told her “He will save his people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21) (words used of the scapegoat)(1) (1) And In the ritual of the scapegoat, two goats are presented. They represent Jesus before and after the cross. One is killed for a burnt offering. In the burnt offering, the priest do not get to eat any part of it since it is completely consumed by fire. It represents the Son’s total devotion to the Father which we cannot participate in, but only stand and watch in awe. The smell of the burnt offering is a sweet savor unto the Lord since there is not hint of sin involved in it. You can see the first instance of a burnt offering is when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac AND Isaac was willing to be obedient to his father. (Ge 22:2 ) The second goat is released into the wilderness to carry away the sins of the people. It represents Christ’s resurrection, which demonstrates that his sacrifice for us was accepted. Since Jesus is the fulfillment of the scapegoat images, Mary had also been promised a goat. The virgin birth Judah and Tamar God and Mary Judah told Tamar he would send a goat. The word he used also means ‘sow’. (Ge 38:17) God told Mary she would conceive miraculously by the Holy Ghost. God would 'sow' the goat. (Lk 1:35)

The need for assurance Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar wanted an assurance that she would receive the goat, (Ge 38:17) Mary asked for an assuring word of explanation. (Lk 1:34)

Three assurances Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar was given the staff or rod which represents the power of God in discipline. (Pr 22:15, Pr 23:13, Pr 29:15) Mary was told the power of the Highest would overshadow her. (Lk 1:35) She was not being disciplined, but God’s discipline upon mankind as borne by His Son and her son, overshadowed her life. Tamar was given the signet ring. (Ge 38:18) A signet ring declares the wearer to be a son. Mary was told that he would be called the Son of God. (Lk 1:35)

Tamar was given bracelets. (Ge 38:18) In a very literal sense, bracelets were given to signify a marriage, much like we now give rings. But the real clue to the hidden meaning comes from the law of cleanliness: Nu 19:15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering [bracelets] bound upon it, is unclean. Paul was called a chosen vessel (Ac 9:15) and in other images we find that we are vessels as well. Since Tamar was a vessel that had bracelets, she was not unclean. Mary was told that she was not unclean because although she was with child, it was by the Holy Ghost. (Lk 1:35)

Twins Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar bore twins (Ge 38:27) Mary bore the dual-natured God-Man. (Joh 8:58)

The names of the twins mean 'breaking forth' and 'rising sun' Jesus was called Dayspring.(Lu 1:78)


Tamar's mystery revealed Tamar and Mary were in a similar predicament. Tamar has been discovered to be with child and was going to be killed. (Ge 38:24) Mary was discovered with child and was going to be put away. (Mt 1:18-19) When the true father of each child was discovered, they both were honored. (Ge 38:26, Lk 1:42) Such a coincidence. Each had wanted an assurance of a promise. Tamar had received three things from Judah (Ge 38:18) and Mary had received three saying from the angel that announced her pregnancy. (Lk 1:35) These are easy parallels to understand, but they are easy to dismiss as accidents of history until we examine the whole story:

The appointment Judah and Tamar God and Mary Ge 38:14 Tamar met Judah before Timnath (the appointment) Mary met God before the appointed time of Christ. “It is appointed unto man once to die…” (Heb 9:27)

The scapegoat Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar was offered a goat by Judah. (Ge 38:17) Mary was offered THE scapegoat, since the angel told her “He will save his people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21) (words used of the scapegoat)(1) (1) And In the ritual of the scapegoat, two goats are presented. They represent Jesus before and after the cross. One is killed for a burnt offering. In the burnt offering, the priest do not get to eat any part of it since it is completely consumed by fire. It represents the Son’s total devotion to the Father which we cannot participate in, but only stand and watch in awe. The smell of the burnt offering is a sweet savor unto the Lord since there is not hint of sin involved in it. You can see the first instance of a burnt offering is when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac AND Isaac was willing to be obedient to his father. (Ge 22:2 ) The second goat is released into the wilderness to carry away the sins of the people. It represents Christ’s resurrection, which demonstrates that his sacrifice for us was accepted. Since Jesus is the fulfillment of the scapegoat images, Mary had also been promised a goat. The virgin birth Judah and Tamar God and Mary Judah told Tamar he would send a goat. The word he used also means ‘sow’. (Ge 38:17) God told Mary she would conceive miraculously by the Holy Ghost. God would 'sow' the goat. (Lk 1:35)

The need for assurance Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar wanted an assurance that she would receive the goat, (Ge 38:17) Mary asked for an assuring word of explanation. (Lk 1:34)

Three assurances Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar was given the staff or rod which represents the power of God in discipline. (Pr 22:15, Pr 23:13, Pr 29:15) Mary was told the power of the Highest would overshadow her. (Lk 1:35) She was not being disciplined, but God’s discipline upon mankind as borne by His Son and her son, overshadowed her life. Tamar was given the signet ring. (Ge 38:18) A signet ring declares the wearer to be a son. Mary was told that he would be called the Son of God. (Lk 1:35)

Tamar was given bracelets. (Ge 38:18) In a very literal sense, bracelets were given to signify a marriage, much like we now give rings. But the real clue to the hidden meaning comes from the law of cleanliness: Nu 19:15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering [bracelets] bound upon it, is unclean. Paul was called a chosen vessel (Ac 9:15) and in other images we find that we are vessels as well. Since Tamar was a vessel that had bracelets, she was not unclean. Mary was told that she was not unclean because although she was with child, it was by the Holy Ghost. (Lk 1:35)

Twins Judah and Tamar God and Mary Tamar bore twins (Ge 38:27) Mary bore the dual-natured God-Man. (Joh 8:58)

The names of the twins mean 'breaking forth' and 'rising sun' Jesus was called Dayspring.(Lu 1:78)

Pharez and Zarah as Christ

'Pharez' means 'breaking forth" [16]and 'Zarah' means 'rising sun' [17] Together their names mean 'breaking forth of the dawning" while Jesus was called 'Dayspring' [18] [19]

Together they represent Christ as both the first man and the second man, in the Second Man motif. Zarah put forth his hand and was greeted with a scarlet thread, representing Christ as the first man, the man in the flesh who bore our sin [20]. Should we miss the subtlty of the metaphor, the word for 'scarlet' also means 'second'. The first son was made second.

Pharez usurps Zarah's position as first-born, just as Isaac and Jacob had done. He received the inheritance that the first man lost. Jesus, as the first man, died alone and forsaken by all. But in resurrection, he received the inheritance that he lost in his death.

The mystery

1. God came to earth and declared his holiness.
2. And he entered in to the earth and produced life.
3. He called Adam alive from the dust.
4. Israel became a people, who were expected to be spiritually alive.
5. Joseph (the husband of Mary) was expected to be king but did not fulfill his name 'Jehovah has added'.
6. God wanted Adam to be fruitful and gave him a wife who was rebellious, and has a reputation of death.
7. God killed Adam because of sin.
8. And God said to Israel, be fruitful and multiply on behalf of Adam.
9. But Israel begat children of the flesh.
10. And it displeased God, so he killed them [in the desert].
11. Then God told 'death', to not be final until the appointed time of the Faux Pax [Romana].
12. In time, the burnt offering ceased [during captivity]. And God repented, and he and the Holy Spirit returned to heaven [400 years of silence]. He intended to return to judge man at the appointed time.
13. And it was told to the rebellious woman: The appointed time approaches and the Holy Spirit comes to judge mankind.
xxx 14. And the rebellious wife stopped her vanity and worked to fulfill the promise made to her and waited in the open door before the appointed time. For she saw that the there was something wrong with the petition and she was not given to Joseph to marry.
15. When God saw her, he thought she was the bride of the Son of Man. She heard his voice.
16. And he turned to her and said: Let me come into you. For he had not taught her that she was his helper. She asked what he would give her.
17. He said he would sow the [redeemer] scapegoat. She asked for a pledge of the promised goat.
18. He said he would be called the Son of God, that she would be Holy, and that the power of God would over-shadow her. She conceived by him.
19. She arose and stopped trying to obtain her promise and bore the shame of treachery.
20. Then he sowed the Messiah [scapegoat] by the Holy Spirit, and she kept his pledge.
21. He inquired of the men of that place: where is the harlot? No one could bring an accusation against her [She was Holy].
22. The Holy Spirit (justice of the people) returned and said the people said there was no harlot.
23. God said, let her keep my pledges so that I am not shamed. "I have sowed the kid" and she has gone to another place [to visit her cousin?]
24. When the Christ was conceived, God was told: Mary, your wife, is a sign of the bride of the Messiah, who is the Word on earth [water below]. God said, I am finished, let her be totally devoted.
25. And she was totally devoted and said to the Spirit: These belong to the one who made me a sign. Do you recognize that he [my son] is the Son of God, I am Holy, and the Power of God [overshadowed me]?
26. And God said: She is righteous from me. I did not give her a false petition. And he did not 'know' her again.
27. At the appointed time her child had two natures.
28. And the first nature, was made second and bore the sins of man.
29. And the second nature was made first and was called "breaking forth"
30. The first who bore the sins of man was called "dawning" [Together dayspring]

Commentary

These notes are the solution to the mystery and to transform the riddle in Hebrew to an English dynamic equivalent.

v. 1

Ge 38:1 ¶ And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to [lengthened his journey to see; went out of his way to see] a certain Adullamite, whose name [was] Hirah.
1. God came to earth and declared his holiness.
At that time eth עת - compare to eth את which is the first and last letters of the alphabet. similar to alpha and omega. One is a reference to time, and one to eternity.
Judah:God see Characters above.
Went down: came to earth. God is not really 'up' somewhere he could come down from. 'Up' and 'down' are used as metaphors to describe the indescribable; God would condescend to interact with men. The use of 'at that time' eth suggests that God entered into time from a timeless eternity. The word for 'went down' is yarad ירד which is the hand yad יד [21]; a metaphor for works, of God with a heart [22] of revelation ר.
Turned into:declared natah natah = stretched out, spread out. [23]
Adullamite:holiness - 'Adullamite' means 'justice of the people'. God has revealed himself in a dualism of Holiness vs. Love. Justice is a part of the revelation of his holiness.
Hirah Chiyrah חירה - a noble family. Since the hidden cannot contradict the revealed; the noble family can only be suggestive of the Trinity in the timeless eternity.

v. 2

Ge 38:2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name [was] Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
2. And he entered in to the earth and produced life.
Canaan Kᵉna‘an כנען - lowlander [24]; metaphor for earth/flesh.
Took laqach לקח - married [25]

v. 3

Ge 38:3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.
3. He called Adam alive from the dust.
Consider the riddle
Death can be described as 'asleep' or 'in the dust'
The opposite of 'asleep' is 'awake' and 'alive' or 'from the dust'.
'Er' ער - means 'awake [26]
Er was called 'alive from the dust as was Adam.
He was named by his father (male) which means his name is one which reflects something about him.

v. 4

Ge 38:4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.
4. Israel became a people, who were expected to be spiritually alive.
'Onan' אונן means 'vigorous' [27]. He was expected to bear children who would be alive or faithful to God. But because he was named by his mother, we would not expect his name to be an accurate representation of his character or attributes [28]. Jacob, also called Israel, was the father of the nation Israel through his children. They multiplied into a great nation, but it was rebellious against God. 'Israel' ישראל means 'man יש joined by revelation ר to God אל'. They did not live up top their name.

v. 5

Ge 38:5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.
5. Joseph (the husband of Mary) was expected to be king but did not fulfill his name 'Jehovah has added'.
Shelah:Joseph see Characters above
Joseph was of the heir of Davids throne [29] but because of the Romans, he did not take the throne. He would have been the Father of the next heir to the throne but was not given the chance; like Shelah.

v. 6

Ge 38:6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name [was] Tamar.
6. God wanted Adam to be fruitful and gave him a wife who was rebellious, and has a reputation of death.
There is an interesting 'foretelling' in this verse: Judah 'took' a wife for Er. The word 'took' laqach לקח also means 'married'. It will be Judah who indeed married Tamar to beget a child for Er.
Likewise, it is God who bore an heir for Adam: Jesus, the second Adam [30]
Tamar and Eve were both rebellious women. Tamar played a prostitute, and Eve gave Adam the forbidden fruit.
Both women also had reputations for death. Though death came through Adam [31] , it was Eve who gave him the fruit. Tamar was the wife of two men whom God killed for sin.

v. 7

Ge 38:7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
7. God killed Adam because of sin.
God said taht the day Adam ate the fruit, he would die [32]. Though he lived 900 years, he died that day spiritually. He then had a living body and a dead spirit. Seth was born in his image and likeness with a living body and dead spirit [33] We are all born in the image and likeness of Adam, and this is why we must be born again [34] [35] [36]

v. 8

Ge 38:8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
8. And God said to Israel, be fruitful and multiply on behalf of Adam.
God called the people of Israel his son [37]. He called Israel his firstborn. If Adam was his first son, and Israel is his first son, then Israel replaced Adam.

v. 9

Ge 38:9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled [it] on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
9. But Israel begat children of the flesh.
Immediately they took up pagan worship, which is of the flesh. [38]

v. 10

Ge 38:10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
10. And it displeased God, so he killed them [in the desert].
All but two were killed in the wilderness [39]

v. 11

Ge 38:11 Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren [did]. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.
11. Then God told 'death', to not be final until the appointed time of the Faux Pax [Romana].
Tamar:death תמר means 'beginning ת of death' where myrrh מר is a metaphor for death.
remain a widow:not to become final: Widowhood is desolation. To remain desolate means to not be fruitful or effective.
grown:appointed time Grown is a point of maturity, which by Judah's intention would have been a specified time.
Shelah:Faux Pax (Romana) or false peace of the Romans: 'Shelah' means both 'rest' [40] and 'false' [41]
The peace provided by the Romans was a false peace because it did not provide for peace between God and men.

v. 12

Ge 38:12 ¶ And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
12. In time, the burnt offering ceased [during captivity]. And God repented, and he and the Holy Spirit returned to heaven [400 years of silence]. He intended to return to judge man at the appointed time.

v. 13

Ge 38:13 And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep.
13. And it was told to the rebellious woman: The appointed time approaches and the Holy Spirit comes to judge mankind.
shear:judge : shear gazaz גזז = 'cut off' [42] which is a metaphor for judgement.

v. 14

Ge 38:14 And she put her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which [is] by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.
14. And she would berth a new creation through the fulfillment of prophecy and waited in the open door before the appointed time. For she saw that the there was something wrong with the petition and she was not given to Joseph to marry.
vail tsa‘iyph צעיף - shall berth צע a new creation י through the fulfillment of prophecy ף.
I am not happy with the dynamic equivalent yet...but there should be sufficient evidence in the rest of the verses.

v. 15

Ge 38:15 When Judah saw her, he thought her [to be] an harlot; because she had covered her face.
15. When God saw her, he thought she was the bride of the Son of Man. She heard his voice.
harlot: zanah זנה - 'the bride ז of the Son of Man נ who heard ה.

v. 16

Ge 38:16 And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she [was] his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?
16. And he turned to her and said: Let me come into you. For he had not taught her that she was his helper. She asked what he would give her.
knew yada‘ ידע -teach [43]
daughter-in-law kallah כלה - bride [44] which is a 'helper' [45]

v. 17

Ge 38:17 And he said, I will send [thee] a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give [me] a pledge, till thou send [it]?
17. He said he would sow the [redeemer] scapegoat. She asked for a pledge of the promised goat.
send:sow [46]
kid from the flock:scapegoat This riddle is discerned backward. Since there are so many parallels with Mary, we started with Mary being told he will save his people from their sin [47] and worked back to see what goat was used to do that. The scape goat was used to make atonement for sin. [48]

v. 18

Ge 38:18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that [is] in thine hand. And he gave [it] her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.
18. He said he would be called the Son of God, that she would be Holy, and that the power of God would over-shadow her. She conceived by him.
signet:Son of God - The signet was used to designate a son [49]. Tamar was given a signet, which made her son a son of Judah, while Mary was told that he would be the Son of God [50].
bracelets:be Holy The word 'bracelet' tsamiyd צמיד is translated 'covering' when speaking of a cloth used as a lid to keep an empty vessel clean [51] Since Mary had bracelets, and we are called 'vessels' [52], Mary was not unclean. She was told that she was Holy [53]
staff:power of God - There are two words which the translators interchange for 'staff' and 'rod'. The word used here is matteh מטה which means 'from מ the teaching/marriage ט not being understood ה. It SHOULD be translated 'rod' which is the symbol of power/sicipline used by Moses [54] The other word, not used here, is maqqel מקל , which means 'from מ the gospel ק taught ל .' The first is a tool of discipline, the second a tool of teaching. Shepherds carry a rod and a staff. The rod is generally straight and is used as a weapon or for disciplining the animal. The staff is curved and is used to pull the animal to you. Mary is told that the 'power' would overshadow her [55].

v. 19

Ge 38:19 And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.
19. She arose having received her promise and bore the shame of treachery.
laid by her vail:having received her promise - 'vail' tsa‘iyph צעיף means 'berthing. She had received the promised child, not the literal goat.
garments beged בגד - treachery [56]
widowhood ‘almanuwth אלמנות - Widowhood is a metaphor for 'desolate' or 'without the word'.
Mary had received the promise but bore the suspicion of being a prostitute.

v. 20

Ge 38:20 And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive [his] pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not.
20. Then he sowed the Messiah [scapegoat] by the Holy Spirit, and she kept his pledge.

v. 21

Ge 38:21 Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where [is] the harlot, that [was] openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this [place].
21. He inquired of the men of that place: where is the harlot? No one could bring an accusation against her [She was Holy].
Though Mary carried the stigma of being a prostitute, no accusation was actually made against her.

v. 22

Ge 38:22 And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, [that] there was no harlot in this [place].
22. The Holy Spirit (justice of the people) returned and said the people said there was no harlot.
The Spirit declared her Holy before God.

v. 23

Ge 38:23 And Judah said, Let her take [it] to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.
23. God said, let her keep my pledges so that I am not shamed. "I have sowed the kid" and she has gone to another place [to visit her cousin?]

v. 24

Ge 38:24 ¶ And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she [is] with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.
24. When the Christ was conceived, God was told: Mary, your wife, is a sign of the bride of the Messiah, who is the Word on earth [water below]. God said, I am finished, let her be totally devoted.
This is not a very good dynamic equivalent because elements seem to foreign to our doctrinal statements. When they are considered closely, they are seen to be in agreement with things we know but simply do not talk about.
Daughter-in-law kallah כלה - bride [57]. Since God was the Father of Jesus, Mary was the bride of God.
sign of the bride of the Messiah: Mary, though fulfilling prophecy, is living dinner theater for another prophecy. Just as God took Mary to be a bride, Jesus will take the church to be his bride. It is important to remember that this is not speaking of physical relations, but that the word for 'marriage' also means 'doctrine'. See through to the end of teh prophecy and don't get trapped by the cartoon version.
burnt:totally devoted: In the offerings, the priest and/or the one offering, participates in the offering by eating it. In the burnt offering the sacrifice it totally consumed. We can only watch in awe as it represents the Son's total devotion to the will of the Father, even unto death. Here it is used as a secondary metaphor.. Applied to Mary rather than to Christ.

v. 25

Ge 38:25 When she [was] brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these [are, am] I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose [are] these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.
25. And she was totally devoted and said to the Spirit: These belong to the one who made me a sign. Do you recognize that he [my son] is the Son of God, I am Holy, and the Power of God [overshadowed me]?
father-in-law cham חם - hot [58]. A metaphor for the Spirit is fire.

v. 26

Ge 38:26 And Judah acknowledged [them], and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
26. And God said: She is righteous from me. I did not give her a false petition. And he did not 'know' her again.
She hath been more righteous than I: She is righteous from me tsadaqah mimine ממני צדקה - she is righteous from me. In your annotated Bible with Stongs numbers you may find that they did not translate mimine [59] as from me even though it is in the text.

v. 27

Ge 38:27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins [were] in her womb.
27. At the appointed time her child had two natures.

v. 28

Ge 38:28 And it came to pass, when she travailed, that [the one] put out [his] hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
28. And the first nature, was made second and bore the sins of man.
scarlet shaniy שׁני - second [60]
scarlet on his hand: Scarlet is a metaphor for sin [61] and the hand is a metaphor for works. The first son, like Christ in the flesh, bore our sins. He was declared to be second by the same thread, amplified by the woman's declaration that he was first. This is the same usurping second son theme of Adam/Christ, Ishmael/Isaac, Esau/Jacob, Simeon/Judah and others.

v. 29

Ge 38:29 And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? [this] breach [be] upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.
29. And the second nature was made first and was called "breaking forth"
Pharez Perets פרץ - Breaking forth [62]

v. 30

Ge 38:30 And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.
30. The first who bore the sins of man was called "dawning" [Together dayspring]
Zarah Zerach זרח - dawning [63]

Objects

Daughter-in-law

'Daughter-in-law' kallah כלה - bride [64]

Ground

'Ground' ‘erets ארץ or earth [65]is a metaphor for the flesh.

scarlet

'Scarlet' sheniy שׁני - is is a metaphor for sin [66] but it also means 'second' [67].

seed

'Seed' zera זרע is a pun to 'Zerah' Zerach זרח which is the name of one of the twins. The word has connotation of being carnal [68]; Zerah is of the flesh and represents the flesh of Christ.

widow

'Widow' ‘almanah אלמנה - desolate [69]. Metaphor for 'without the word of God'

Verbs

Displeased

Displeased yara‘ ירע - tremble, quiver is a metaphor for judgement

Send

Send shalach שׁלח - sow (as in sowing strife) [70]

Spilled

Spilled shachath שׁחת - destroy, corrupt [71]

Turned

Turned natah נטה - stretched out [72]

References

All numbers like 0xxxx, are Strong's Concordance reference numbers for Hebrew.

  1. "This is another chapter that seems to be about as necessary as a fifth leg on a cow. After you have read the story, you may wish that it had been left out of the Bible. Many people have asked me why this chapter is in the Word of God. I agree that it is one of the worst chapters in the Bible,..." J. Vernon McGee ,Thru the Bible: Genesis through Revelation, Chapter 38.
  2. https://books.google.com/books?id=CeHUIpZMtQ0C&pg=PT351&lpg=PT351&dq=worst+chapter+of+the+bible+tamar&source=bl&ots=qVmaXDcdPv&sig=ACfU3U0HFRgO4iUAFMvufZJ9AMUz7fvnvw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjP3O6NgKHjAhUOHc0KHU23C544ChDoATAAegQICRAB#v=onepage&q=worst%20chapter%20of%20the%20bible%20tamar&f=false
  3. "Christ in Acts 12", R.C. Jones
  4. Nu 1:49 Only thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum of them among the children of Israel:
  5. Ge 49:7 Cursed [be] their anger, for [it was] fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
  6. 05726
  7. 02437
  8. Ge 18:27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which [am but] dust and ashes:
  9. 1Ti 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
  10. Ro 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
  11. Ge 38:3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.
  12. 1Ti 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
  13. Ge 38:7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
  14. 04813
  15. Genesis 32
  16. 06557
  17. 02226 cf. 02225
  18. Lu 1:78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
  19. Job 38:12 ¶ Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; [and] caused the dayspring to know his place;
  20. Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
  21. 03027
  22. (between the letters in yad)
  23. 05186
  24. 03667
  25. 03947
  26. 06147
  27. 0209 ref. 0207
  28. 1Ti 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
  29. Mt 1:6-16
  30. 1Co 15:47 The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven.
  31. Ro 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
  32. Ge 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
  33. Ge 5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat [a son] in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
  34. Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
  35. Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
  36. 1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
  37. Ex 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel [is] my son, [even] my firstborn:
  38. Ex 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These [be] thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
  39. Heb 3:17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? [was it] not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
  40. 07956 ref. 07952
  41. 07956 ref. 07954
  42. 01494
  43. 03045
  44. 03618
  45. Ge 2:18 ¶ And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
  46. 07971
  47. Mt 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
  48. Le 16:15 ¶ Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that [is] for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat:
  49. Ex 28:11 With the work of an engraver in stone, [like] the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.
  50. Lu 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
  51. Nu 19:15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, [is] unclean.
  52. 1Th 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
  53. Lu 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
  54. Ex 4:2 And the LORD said unto him, What [is] that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.
  55. Eph 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
  56. 0899
  57. 03618
  58. 02524 ref. 02525
  59. 04480
  60. 08144 ref. 08145
  61. Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
  62. 06557 ref. 06555
  63. 02226 ref. 02225
  64. 03618
  65. 0776
  66. Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
  67. 08145
  68. 02233
  69. 0490
  70. 07971
  71. 07843
  72. 05186