Genesis – Chapter 38: Judah and Tamar

The last chapter of Genesis brought us the story of Joseph and his crazy dreams.  Joseph’s brothers, jealous that the dreams may somehow be true, sell their brother into slavery.  Chapter 38 brings us Judah and Tamar.

“At that time, Judah left his brothers (Joseph’s) and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah.” – Genesis 38:1

In case there is any confusion, Judah is one of Joseph’s brothers.

“Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.” – Genesis 38:6

Again with the misogyny.  It’s hard to think of “got a wife” as anything but a forced marriage.  Lucky Tamar.

“But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sigh; so the Lord put him to death.  Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother.’” – Genesis 38:7-9

Wow.  Biblical love at its finest.  Family values at their best!  You must sleep with your brother-in-law and bear him a child for the Lord says so!

“But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother.” – Genesis 38:9

There’s so much wrong in this verse.  First, yes, the offspring would be Onan’s.  That’s how sex works.  Secondly, Onan realizes this is wrong in some way and still chooses to sleep with his brother’s wife.  Instead of doing the right thing and NOT sleeping with his brother’s wife, Onan sleeps with her, but spills his seed on the ground.

“What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so he put him to death also.” – Genesis 38:10

ROFL!!!  Onan sleeping with his brother’s wife is good in the eyes of God, but spilling his semen on the ground is wicked?!?!?  This is one messed up deity!  I’ve also seen Christians use this to justify that masturbation is wrong.  So much wrong thus far in this chapter!!!

Tamar is then told to live with her father-in-law until Shelah is old enough to wed her.  Again, she has no choice in the matter because she’s a woman.  When Tamar learns Judah is coming, she disguises herself as a prostitute.

“When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.  Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, ‘Come now, let me sleep with you.’” – Genesis 38:15-16.

Judah seeks a prostitute.  Where is God to say this is wrong?  Nowhere.  Spilling your semen on the ground is worthy of death, but sleeping with a prostitute is okay in the eyes of God.  Tamar gets Judah to give his seal, its cord, and the staff in his hands.  They have sex and Tamar becomes pregnant.  Judah quickly realizes something is up when others tell him there is no prostitute in the town.

“About three months later Judah was told, ‘Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.’ Judah said, ‘Bring her out and have her burned to death.’” – Genesis 38:24

Yes, you read that right.  It’s okay for Judah to sleep with a prostitute, but it’s punishable by death for Tamar to be one.  The misogyny and hypocrisy in this chapter is mind boggling!!!  Where is God?  Nowhere!

Once Judah recognizes the truth, he spares her life.

“When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb.  As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, ‘This one came out first.’ But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, ‘So this is how you have broken out!’” – Genesis 38:27-29

So…much…wrong!!!  A baby normally comes out of the birth canal head first.  A baby that comes out can’t simply decide to turn around and head back in for his brother to come out.  Again, so much wrong in this chapter!

That concludes Genesis Chapter 38.  Thank goodness!  This chapter was filled with misogyny, hypocrisy, and incorrect science!

Coming Soon:  Genesis – Chapter 39:  Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife


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