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by Wayne Blank
The Line of Perez
Perez was the firstborn of the twin sons of (the widower) Judah and his (widowed) former daughter-in-law Tamar, although it was at first thought by the midwife that Perez' brother Zerah would be born first, hence how Perez got his name:
"When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb. And when she was in labor, one put out a hand; and the midwife took and bound on his hand a scarlet thread, saying, "This came out first." But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out; and she said, "What a breach you have made for yourself!" Therefore his name was called Perez. Afterward his brother came out with the scarlet thread upon his hand; and his name was called Zerah." (Genesis 38:27-30 RSV)
Judah had five sons, including Perez; Perez had two sons from whom came the Hezronites and the Hamulites:
"The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah, but Er and Onan died in The Land Of Canaan; and the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul." (Genesis 46:12 RSV)
Ruth the Moabitess (the Moabites originated from one of the sons of Abraham's nephew Lot, see also Moab) married Boaz of Bethlehem who was of the line of Perez. From their descendants came King David, and Jesus Christ:
"So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and he went in to her, and The Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son ... They named him Obed; he was the father of Jesse, the father of David."
The descendants of Perez were well-represented in the people of Judah during the return from the Babylonian captivity (see also Why Babylon?). Zerubbabel, one of the leaders of the former exiles at that time of Ezra and Nehemiah, was a descendant of Perez, and also an ancestor of Jesus Christ.
"Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel" (Ezra 3:8 RSV)