Judah And Tamar In Genesis 38

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There are many purposes that are served by the story of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38, some more important than others. The most important purpose was to vividly contrast the immoral character of Judah with the moral character of Joseph. Genesis 38 is in harmony with the Joseph story, but sits uncomfortably in the midst. Tamar was a Canaanite woman who married Er, the eldest son of Judah and Shua, who was also a Canaanite woman. Er was slain for his wickedness in the LORD's sight, so Judah chose Onan to perform the task of levirate marriage with Tamar because he was the next eldest son. Onan did not accept this task because he knew the child would not be his, so he did something that was also wicked in the LORD’s sight and was slain. “The…show more content…
“Some scholars believe that chapter 38 represents a tradition in which Judah's actions are not blameworthy, but the larger narrative strongly suggests otherwise. Judah is not just impetuous; he is a sinner. He sinned in marrying a Canaanite, in visiting a prostitute, and in peremptorily ordering the burning of his daughter-in-law. He sinned by failing to ensure that the levirate law was observed to benefit his daughter-in-law Tamar” (Clifford, 2004). Judah’s marriage to a Canaanite is particularly recognized as a major sin. Isaac forbade Jacob, Judah’s own father, to marry a Canaanite. “Judah's second sin was his failure to ensure that levirate law was observed to benefit his daughter-in-law Tamar. He acknowledges his sin in v. 26” (Clifford, 2004). Although Judah did try with Onan, but he did not cooperate, so he was put to death. For refusing, Onan should of been taken before the elders by Tamar, so that they could shame his desperately for reducing her to the class of a widow. Although the first two sins of Judah were bad enough, there were indeed more. “Though the text does not explicitly condemn his seeking out a prostitute, the narrative implies that he acted like a fool to pledge the symbols of his legal and social standing—his cord, seal, and staff—to a Canaanite, a woman, and a prostitute! Lastly, Judah, without any judicial inquiry, decreed a cruel and excessive sentence for his own daughter-in-law

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