Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Genesis 38

Verses 1-30

CHAPTER 38 Judah and Tamar

1. Judah’s marriage to the Canaanitish woman (Genesis 38:1-2)

2. His sons: Er, Onan and Shelah (Genesis 38:3-5)

3. Tamar married to Er and Onan (Genesis 38:6-10)

4. Tamar waiting for Shelah (Genesis 38:11)

5. Her deception and Judah’s sin (Genesis 38:12-16)

6. The birth of Pharez and Zarah (Genesis 38:27-30)

Historically this chapter comes before the thirty-seventh. The higher critics are one against the other in their unbelieving speculations over the composition of this chapter. It is inserted here for a most interesting purpose. Judah’s history foreshadows the history of the Jews after they had rejected the Lord Jesus. His connection with a Canaanite (trafficker) and his marriage to the daughter of Shuah (riches) shows what the Jews have been ever since they rejected Christ. His offspring is Er (enmity) and Onan (wickedness) till the significant third one comes, Shelah (the sprout) pointing to the godly remnant of that nation in the future. (On that remnant see chapter on Isaiah.)

And Tamar’s sin, so dark and vile, shows forth the grace of God. We find her name and the names of her two sons in the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1).

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Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Genesis 38". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/genesis-38.html. 1913-1922.