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The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Chapter Overview
1Judah begets Er, Onan, and Shelah.
6Er's marriage with Tamar, and death.
8The trespass of Onan.
11Tamar is reserved for Shelah.
12Judah's wife dies.
13Tamar deceives Judah.
27She bears twins, Pharez and Zarah.
 Chapter 37
Chapter 39
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Chapter 38

Verse 1
And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.

A. M. 2265. B.C. 1739
it came
As there cannot be above 23 years from the selling of Joseph, unto Israel's going down into Egypt; and as it is impossible that Judah should take a wife, and by her have three sons successively, and Shelah, the youngest, marriageable when Judah begat Pharez of Tamar, and Pharez be grown up, married, and have two sons, all within so short a period; Mr. Ainsworth conceives that the time here spoken of is soon after Jacob's coming to Shechem, (ch. 33.) We have accordingly adapted the chronology to correspond with that time.
19:2,3; Judges 4:18; 2 Kings 4:8; Proverbs 9:6; 13:20
An inhabitant of Adullam, a city of Canaan, afterwards given to Judah, situated in the southern part of that tribe, west of Hebron.
Joshua 12:15; 15:35; 1 Samuel 22:1; 2 Samuel 23:13; Micah 1:15

Verse 2
And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
3:6; 6:2; 24:3; 34:2; Judges 14:2; 16:1; 2 Samuel 11:2; 2 Corinthians 6:14
46:12; 1 Chronicles 2:3
6:4; 24:3

Verse 3
And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.
A. M. 2266. B.C. 1738. Er
46:12; Numbers 26:19

Verse 4
And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.
A. M. 2267. B.C. 1737. Onan
46:12; Numbers 26:19

Verse 5
And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.
A. M. 2268. B.C. 1736
11,26; 46:12; Numbers 26:20; 1 Chronicles 4:21
Chezib is said, by Eusebius and Jerome, to have been situated near Adullam, and to be then uninhabited.

Verse 6
And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.
21:21; 24:3
Matthew 1:3

Verse 7
And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
46:12; Numbers 26:19
6:8; 13:13; 19:13; 2 Chronicles 33:6
and the
1 Chronicles 2:3; Psalms 55:23

Verse 8
And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
A. M. 2282. B.C. 1722
Leviticus 18:16; Numbers 36:8,9; Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Ruth 1:11; 4:5-11; Matthew 22:23-27

Verse 9
And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
he is
Deuteronomy 25:6; Ruth 1:11; 4:10
lest that
Job 5:2; Proverbs 27:4; Titus 3:3; James 3:14,16; 4:5

Verse 10
And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
Heb. was evil in the eyes of.
Numbers 11:1; 22:34; 2 Samuel 11:27; 1 Chronicles 21:7; Proverbs 14:32; 24:18; Jeremiah 44:4; Haggai 1:13
him also
46:12; Numbers 26:19

Verse 11
Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father's house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house.
till Shelah
Ruth 1:11,13
in her
Leviticus 22:13

Verse 12
And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
in process of time
Heb. the days were multiplied. comforted.
24:67; 2 Samuel 13:39
sheep shearers
31:19; 1 Samuel 25:4-8,36; 2 Samuel 13:23-29
Timnath is, in all probability, that in the border of Judah, between Jerusalem and Diospolis, given to Dan, and mentioned in the history of Samson as belonging to the Philistines.
1; Joshua 15:10,35,37
Joshua 19:43
Judges 14:1

Verse 14
And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.
and sat
Proverbs 7:12; Jeremiah 3:2; Ezekiel 16:25
an open place
Heb. the door of eyes, or of Enajim Some think ainayim means "the two fountains," or "double fountain;" while others regard it as a proper name, and the same as Enaim, a city of Judah, (Jos 15:34.) So the LXX. render it Enan.
that Shelah

Verse 16
And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?
Go to
2 Samuel 13:11
What wilt
Deuteronomy 23:18; Ezekiel 16:33; Matthew 26:15; 1 Timothy 6:10

Verse 17
And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it?
I will
Ezekiel 16:33
a kid
Heb. a kid of the goats. Wilt thou.
20,24,25; Proverbs 20:16; Luke 16:8

Verse 18
And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.
Thy signet
Chothem, or chothemeth, as in ver. 25, is properly a ring-seal, with which impressions were made to ascertain property, etc. From Jer 22:24, we find that it was worn on the hand; though it might also have been suspended from the neck by a ribband, as the Arabs still wear it.
25,26; Jeremiah 22:24; Luke 15:22
Pathil, from pathal, to twist, wreathe, may denote either a wreath for the arm or neck, a twisted collar, or bracelet. In the former sense the LXX. render it by [ormiskon] and Aquila and Symmachus by [strepton;] and in the latter sense, the Vulgate renders it by armillam. It may have been a collar by which the signet was suspended; though its being used in the plural seems to favour the opinion of its being a bracelet.
gave it her
25,26; Hosea 4:11

Verse 19
And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.
laid by her vail
14; 2 Samuel 14:2,5

Verse 20
And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman's hand: but he found her not.
his friend
20:9; Leviticus 19:17; Judges 14:20; 2 Samuel 13:3; Luke 23:12

Verse 21
Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place.
openly by the way side
or, in Enajim.

Verse 23
And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.
lest we
2 Samuel 12:9; Proverbs 6:33; Romans 6:21; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Ephesians 5:12; Revelation 16:15
be shamed
Heb. become a contempt.

Verse 24
And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.
played the harlot
34:31; Judges 19:2; Ecclesiastes 7:26; Jeremiah 2:20; 3:1,6,8; Ezekiel 16:15,28,41; Ezekiel 23:5,19,44; Hosea 2:5; 3:3; 4:15
let her
20:3,7,9; Leviticus 20:10; 21:9; Deuteronomy 22:21-27; 24:16; 2 Samuel 12:5,7; Jeremiah 29:22,23; Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 2:1,2; 14:22

Verse 25
When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.
18; 37:32; Psalms 50:21; Jeremiah 2:26; Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Revelation 20:12

Verse 26
And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
She hath
1 Samuel 24:17; 2 Samuel 24:17; Ezekiel 16:52; Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:9; Romans 3:19
more righteous
Not less to blame, but more righteous. because.
And he knew
4:1; 2 Samuel 16:22; 20:3; Job 4:5; 34:31,32; 40:5; Matthew 3:8; Romans 13:12; Titus 2:11,12; 1 Peter 4:2,3

Verse 29
And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.
A. M. 2283. B.C. 1721. How hast, etc. or, Wherefore hast thou made this breach against thee? his name
46:12; Numbers 26:20; 1 Chronicles 2:4; 9:4; Nehemiah 11:4,6
Matthew 1:3; Luke 3:33
Pharez. i.e., a breach.

Verse 30
And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.
1 Chronicles 9:6
Matthew 1:3

Copyright Statement
These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Genesis 38". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". <>.  


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