Bible Commentaries

Genesis 38

Verses 1-30

The sad and tragic story of Judah's corruption recorded here needs very little comment. It carries its own lessons of the frailty of human nature and of the far-reaching effects of sin.

However, placing it at this point in the history is suggestive and important. Following this revelation, we are observing the first movements of God in the process of regeneration amid the degeneration of the race. So far, we have been occupied almost exclusively with individuals. Gradually the larger outlook on the family and society emerges into view. The conditions which made possible Judah's sin, and the sin in itself, revealed the necessity for another new departure. A marked tendency toward the corruption of the chosen people by unhallowed intercourse with the people of the land was apparent. Had there been no divine over-ruling and had these people been left to themselves, the chosen seed would have inevitably been utterly corrupted and the purposes of God defeated.

While Judah was thus sinning, Joseph was already in Egypt, and so the segregation of the chosen people for a long period was already being prepared by keeping them separate from other people and by the rigid exclusiveness of the Egyptians.