Genesis Chapter 38

Jul 2, 2012  |  Genesis, Old Testament  |  No Comments

Judah and his Sons

Background: Judah left his brothers and married a Canaanite woman who bore him three sons. He arranged for his eldest son to marry a Canaanite woman named Tamar.

  • Genesis 38:7 And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord killed him.
  • Since Er had had no children, Judah commanded his second son, Onan, to have sexual relations with Tamar, Er’s wife, so Er would have descendants.  Onan slept with Tamar, but spilled his seed on the ground to avoid giving her a child, since the child would not be his.
  • Genesis 38:10 And the thing that he did displeased the Lord; therefore He killed him also.

No mention is made of God in the remainder of the chapter.

Reflection on Genesis Chapter 38

  • How quickly things went awry when Judah married a Canaanite woman.  This was a constant trend in the Old Testament – marrying foreign women, who worshiped foreign gods, always led to destruction.
  • It is shocking when God kills someone due to their wickedness. The specific behavior of Er to cause his death is not known, but this passage is a strong warning.  God will not forever tolerate evil, particularly among His people.
  • Er’s evil behavior is not known, but his brother Onan intentionally defied the command of his father and tradition. It was also a direct violation of God’s command to be fruitful and multiply.
  • God has the authority to kill.  It is not mine to question Him.
  • God is not a God to be taken lightly. Defy Him at your own risk.

Leave a comment