January 8, 2020

Jesus’ Ancestors (1:1-17) Part 6

In Ge. 38:1-3 the narrative of Judah and Tamar is written. Judah was the fourth-born to Jacob’s first wife Leah. He was the “father” of the future Isrealites who later took on his name to describe their territory — the southern kingdom of Judah — and their national/ethnic designation: “Jews”. As you read the Genesis account you realize that this story summarizes events over the course of 15-20 years. It reads like a soap-opera.

Judah’s era was what modern Israelis refer to as “meyode primitivi” (very primitive). It was a raw time of battles between ethnic clans, ongoing struggles with health and nature, short life-spans, and more sorrow than joy. Rape and pillage were common, as was the vie view of women as sex-objects and wombs for sons. They had the status of prized animals in many cases. Sexual morality had faint profile. It was a man’s world, and it was the strong man who prevailed.

Judah was such a man. He ruled his household with inviolable authority. What he wanted he got. What he commanded was obeyed. His word was his will. In this account we read about his marriage to a Canaanite woman, daughter of a man named Shua. She gave Juda three sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah. There appears to have a gap of several years between the last two.