Make a Donation
About The Author
Holy Day Calendar
Free Online Bibles
Bible Reading Plan
Tuesday, August 27 2013
Genesis 38: The First Jews
The man later known as Israel was born as "Jacob" (see Genesis 25: The Birth of Jacob and Esau). When Jacob's children were born (see Genesis 29: Jacob In Syria), they were known as the sons and daughter of Jacob (no different than the custom today), or "Jacobites" (as the common custom that we read throughout the Bible). After the LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ; see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) changed Jacob's name to Israel (see Genesis 32: The Origin Of Israel), the children of Jacob / Israel became the first "Israelites."
When Jacob's children themselves had children, they were all Israelites, but were further categorized according to which of the sons of Jacob / Israel was their forefather e.g. from Benjamin came the Benjamites, from Levi came the Levites (see also The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood), from Dan came the Danites, from Reuben came the Reubenites, and so on.
Judah is the most-familiar of the sons of Jacob / Israel. In the case of Judah's children, they are today most-commonly known by a term that is actually just an abbreviation of Judah - "Jew."
None of the children of Jacob / Israel could have married an Israelite - they, their brothers and sister Dinah (see Dinah Of Israel), were the only Israelites that existed. So too, Judah could not have married an Israelite. Nor could Judah have married a Jew, because he was the only "Jew" (i.e. the abbreviation of his name, another of which is Jude) that existed. For Jews to come into existence, Judah had to have children with a woman who was neither an Israelite or a Jew - the same as his brothers Levi, Dan, Reuben etc.
In Judah's case, he became the father of the Jews with a Canaanite woman, and then another Canaanite woman.
Judah's first wife was Shuah, a Canaanite, who gave birth to the first three sons of Judah, the first "Jews" - Er, Onan and Shelah.
"38:1 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. 38:2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her. 38:3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er. 38:4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan. 38:5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him." (Genesis 38:1-5 KJV)
When the oldest son Er had grown to adulthood, Judah found a wife for him - a woman named Tamar, who could not have been a "Jew" either because the only Jews that then existed were Judah's three sons. Tamar was almost certainly a Canaanite woman, just like Judah's wife Shuah. The marriage of Er was brief however: "Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him." The LORD put Judah's second-born son Onan to death also (i.e. the LORD, Who would Himself later be born as a Jew, killed the first two "Jews" that existed).
"38:6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. 38:7 And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
Judah then arranged for the widow Tamar to live in her father's home, with the intention that Tamar would eventually marry Judah's youngest son Shelah when he had grown up. Later, Judah's wife Shuah also died.
"38:11 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.
Tamar eventually lost her tolerance for her widowhood and delayed family situation, so she resorted to a ruse to have children, not through her dead husband's brother, but through her dead husband's father who was then, as a widower, not married - just as Tamar was not married.
"38:13 And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep. 38:14 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.
Judah had twin sons with Tamar - Pharez and Zarah. It was from the line of Pharez that Jesus Christ was born (Matthew 1:1-3).
"38:27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb. 38:28 And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. 38:29 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. 38:30 And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah." (Genesis 38:27-30 KJV)
Fact Finder: (a) When did the tribe of Judah (the descendants of Judah) become the Kingdom of Judah? (b) When did the national religion of Judah begin? (c) Is the nation that is known today as "Israel" actually Judah?
This Day In History, August 27
479 BC: The Battle of Plataea during the Greco-Persian Wars. The Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia; Persia is known today as Iran) under Mardonius were defeated by the Greeks (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids) under Pausanias.
1593: Pierre Barriere failed in his attempt to assassinate King Henry IV of France.
1626: The Danes were defeated by the Catholic League in Germany (again, see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation), marking the end of Danish intervention in European wars.
1689: The Treaty of Nerchinsk was signed by Russia and the Qing Empire of China.
1776: The Battle of Long Island during the revolution of the New England colonies. In what is now Brooklyn, New York, the British Army under General William Howe defeated a rebel force under George Washington, a former Colonel of the British Army in Virginia.
1793: During the French Revolutionary Wars, the city of Toulon rebelled against the French Republic and allowed British and Spanish forces to seize its port, leading to the Siege of Toulon by French Revolutionary forces.
1813: French Emperor Napoleon I defeated an allied army of Austrians, Russians, and Prussians at the Battle of Dresden.
1828: Uruguay became an independent state.
1832: Black Hawk, the leader of the Sauk tribe of Native Americans, surrendered to U.S. authorities, ending the Black Hawk War.
1883: 36,000 people died in the eruption of a volcano on the island of Krakatoa; it produced the loudest noise (in recorded history) to echo around the world.
1916: Italy declared war on Germany (both Italy and Japan fought against Germany during the First World War; both Italy and Japan were allied with Germany during the Second World War - listen to our sermon The European World Wars).
1921: Britain installed the son of Sharif Hussein bin Ali (leader of the Arab Revolt of 1916 against the Ottoman Empire) as King Faisal I of Iraq (see also A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).
1928: The Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed in Paris by 60 nations, outlawing war and providing for the peaceful settlement of disputes. The Second World War followed a little over 10 years later.
1939: Just before the start of the Second World War, Germany's Heinkel He 178, the first jet aircraft, made it first flight.
1962: The Mariner 2 spacecraft was launched to "Venus" (the pagan-god name that scientists gave to the second planet from the sun).
1975: Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia, died at age 83.
1979: Louis Mountbatten was killed by an Irish terrorist bomb in his sail boat in Sligo, Ireland.
1991: The European Union recognized the independence of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
2003: The planet "Mars" (the pagan-god name that scientists gave the fourth planet from the sun) made its closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years.