|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
38:1-30 The profligate conduct of Judah and his family. - This chapter gives an account of Judah and his family, and such an account it is, that it seems a wonder that of all Jacob's sons, our Lord should spring out of Judah, Heb 7:14. But God will show that his choice is of grace and not of merit, and that Christ came into the world to save sinners, even the chief. Also, that the worthiness of Christ is of himself, and not from his ancestors. How little reason had the Jews, who were so called from this Judah, to boast as they did, Joh 8:41. What awful examples the Lord proclaims in his punishments, of his utter displeasure at sin! Let us seek grace from God to avoid every appearance of sin. And let that state of humbleness to which Jesus submitted, when he came to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, in appointing such characters as those here recorded, to be his ancestors, endear the Redeemer to our hearts.
Verse 6. - And Judah took a wife (cf. Genesis 21:21; Genesis 24:4) for Er his firstborn, - "by the early marriage of his sons Judah seems to have intended to prevent in them a germinating corruption (Lange) - whose name as Tamar - "Palm tree" (Gesenius). Though the name was Shemitic, it does not follow that the person was. Cf. Melchisedeck and Abimelech. Yet she is not expressly called a Canaanite, though it is more than probable she was. Lange conjectures that she may have been of Philistine descent, and thinks the narrative intends to convey the impression that she was a woman of extraordinary character.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn,.... Chose one for him, and presented her to him for his liking, whom he approving of married:
whose name was Tamar; which signifies a "palm tree": the Targum of Jonathan says, she was the daughter of Shem; but it is altogether improbable that a daughter of his should be living at this time, and young enough to bear children: it is much more probable that she was daughter of Levi, Judah's brother, as an Arabic writer (o) asserts; but it is more likely still that she was the daughter of a Canaanite, who was living in the same place, though his name is not mentioned, Genesis 38:11.
(o) Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. p. 16.
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