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Genesis 38 – Deception and Providence


    Genesis chapter 38 takes a narrative detour from the story of Joseph and focuses on Judah’s personal life.

    Judah’s Marriage and Sons

    Judah marries a Canaanite woman named Shua and they have three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah.

    Tamar and Her Deception

    Genesis 38:6-7 “Then Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord killed him.”

    After the death of Judah’s first two sons, Tamar, as the widow, seeks to continue the family line through deception.

    Judah’s Encounter with Tamar

    Genesis 38:16-18 “So he turned aside to her by the road, and said, ‘Please let me come in to you’… And he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him.”

    Judah unknowingly has a sexual encounter with Tamar, resulting in her pregnancy.

    The Birth of Perez and Zerah

    Tamar gives birth to twin sons, Perez and Zerah, from her union with Judah.


    Genesis chapter 38 serves as an interlude within the Joseph narrative, focusing on the events in Judah’s life. This chapter explores themes of deception, judgment, and the unexpected fulfillment of God’s plan. Reading the New King James Version allows us to grasp the nuances of these intricate family dynamics and gain a deeper understanding of God’s providence in the lives of His people. Let the New King James Version be your guide as you dive into the narratives and teachings of the Bible.

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