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Jacob's son Judah (see Children of Jacob) married a Canaanite woman; they had three sons.
"There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua; he married her and went in to her, and she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name Er. Again she conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Onan. Yet again she bore a son, and she called his name Shelah. She was in Chezib when she bore him." (Genesis 38:2-5 RSV)
Judah's oldest son Er was put to death by The Lord because he behaved wickedly (Genesis 38:7). When Judah's second son, Onan, refused to produce a child for his dead brother Er through his widow Tamar, according to custom, The Lord put Onan to death too (Genesis 38:8-10). This left Judah with one son, who was too young to be married, and a widowed daughter-in-law who very much wanted a child from her dead husband's family line.
"Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, "Remain a widow in your father's house, till Shelah my son grows up" - for he feared that he would die, like his brothers. So Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house." (Genesis 38:11 RSV)
Judah's own wife then died, upon which his daughter-in-law Tamar devised a plan to have a son.
"In course of time the wife of Judah, Shua's daughter, died; and when Judah was comforted, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
Tamar became pregnant by her father-in-law Judah from which she gave birth to twin boys, Perez (the line of Judah through whom King David and Jesus Christ were descended i.e. Matthew 1:3,6,16) and Zerah.
"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)
Genesis Chapter 39
Jacob's son Joseph (see the Fact Finder question below) had been sold into slavery by his jealous brothers (see Joseph's Dreams).
"Now Joseph was taken down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there." (Genesis 39:1 RSV)
It soon became apparent however that Joseph was no ordinary young man.
"The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian, and his master saw that The Lord was with him, and that The Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hands." (Genesis 39:2-3 RSV)
Unfortunately, Potiphar's lustful wife found him desirable for another purpose, but when she was refused, she falsely accused Joseph in order to cover her own wickedness.
"And after a time his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph, and said, "Lie with me."
Joseph was unjustly imprisoned, but even there he prospered because The Lord was with him for the coming purpose.
"And Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. But The Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's care all the prisoners who were in the prison; and whatever was done there, he was the doer of it; the keeper of the prison paid no heed to anything that was in Joseph's care, because The Lord was with him; and whatever he did, The Lord made it prosper." (Genesis 39:20-23 RSV)
Genesis Chapter 40
While in prison, The Lord enabled Joseph to understand dreams, a power that would eventually not only secure his release, but make him the Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to the king of Egypt himself.
"They said to him, "We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them."
Despite the accuracy of Joseph's interpretation of the dreams, "the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him." Innocent Joseph would remain imprisoned for over 2 more years.
"Then Joseph said to him, "This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days; within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you shall place Pharaoh's cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his butler (see The Pharaoh's Chief Butler). But remember me, when it is well with you, and do me the kindness, I pray you, to make mention of me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house. For I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews; and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon."