Genesis 38:12
And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up to his sheep shearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
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(12) Timnath.—There were two places of this name (Joshua 15:10; Joshua 15:57). One was a little to the west of Bethlehem, the other upon the Philistine border, beyond Bethshemesh. As it lay, however, only about seven miles beyond Adullam, and as the flocks there were Judah’s private property (Genesis 38:13), and under the charge of Hirah, this remoter place, now called Tibneh, is probably the Timnath meant, as at Bethlehem the pastures were occupied by his father. (See also Genesis 38:14.) For the sheep-shearing, see Genesis 31:19. Instead of “his friend Hirah,” the LXX. and Vulg. render his shepherd Hirah. This would require no change in the consonants, but only in the vowels. Most of the other authorities agree with the Authorised Version; but even so, there was most probably some partnership between Judah and Hirah in these flocks, and they would be under Hirah’s charge whenever Judah was absent, tending the flocks of his father.

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.Judah now comes into criminal, and, though unknown to him, incestuous sexual intercourse with Tamar. "And many were the days," a year or somewhat more. "To Timnah." This town is about twenty miles northwest of Hebron. There is another, however, in the hills about seven miles south of Hebron. "Put on a veil;" to conceal her face from Judah, or any other beholder. "The qate of Enaim." This is supposed to be the same as Enam Joshua 15:34. "And thy lace." This is the cord by which the signet was suspended round his neck. "Courtesan." The original word קדשׁה qedêshâh means one consecrated to the worship of Ashtoreth, in which chastity is sacrificed.12. Judah … went up unto his sheep-shearers—This season, which occurs in Palestine towards the end of March, was spent in more than usual hilarity, and the wealthiest masters invited their friends, as well as treated their servants, to sumptuous entertainments. Accordingly, it is said, Judah was accompanied by his friend Hirah.

Timnath—in the mountains of Judah.

In process of time, when many days had passed, and Shelah, though grown, was not given to Tamar,

Judah went up unto his sheep-shearers, to feast and rejoice with them at that time, as the manner was then and afterwards. See 1 Samuel 25:36.

Timnath; a place not far from Adullam; of which see Joshua 15:57. And in process of time the daughter of Shuah, Judah's wife,

died,.... Shuah was his wife's father, who was a Canaanite, Genesis 38:2; what her name was is not certain, nor the exact time of her death; it was some time after Tamar was sent home to her father's house; and some take the death of Judah's wife to be a correction and reproof to him for his ill usage of his daughter-in-law, in neglecting to give her to his son, or not designing to do it at all:

and Judah was comforted: he mourned awhile for the death of his wife, according to the custom of the country, and of those times, and then he laid aside the tokens of it, and his sorrow wore off, and he appeared in company and conversed with his friends:

and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath; a city in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:57, said (s) to be six miles from Adullam, where Judah lived; here he had his flocks of sheep, at least this was judged a proper place for the shearing and washing of them, and this time of the year a proper time for it, at which it was usual to have a feast; and Judah went up to his shearers, not only to see how they went on with their work, but with this view to make an entertainment for them, see 1 Samuel 25:3,

he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite; he took him along with him for a companion, and to partake of the entertainment.

(s) Bunting's Travels, p. 78.

And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
12–26. Tamar and Judah

12. Timnah] Possibly the same as in Joshua 15:10; Joshua 15:57; Jdg 14:1.Verse 12. - And in process of time - literally, and the days were multiplied (cf. Genesis 4:3), which is rendered by the same words in the A.V. - the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted (or, comforted himself, ceased to mourn), and went up unto his sheep-shearers (vide Genesis 31:19) to Timnath, - a border town between Ekron and Bethshemesh (Joshua 15:10) in the plain of Judah (Kalisch, Wordsworth, W. L. Alexander in Kitto's 'Cyclopedia'); but more probably here a town (Joshua 15:57) in the mountains of Judah (Robinson, 2:343, Keil, Alford, 'Speaker's Commentary') - he and his friend - ὁ ποιμὴν αὐτοῦ (LXX.) - Hirah the Adullamite. When Ger was grown up, according to ancient custom (cf. Genesis 21:21; Genesis 34:4) his father gave him a wife, named Thamar, probably a Canaanite, of unknown parentage. But Ger was soon put to death by Jehovah on account of his wickedness. Judah then wished Onan, as the brother-in-law, to marry the childless widow of his deceased brother, and raise up seed, i.e., a family, for him. But as he knew that the first-born son would not be the founder of his own family, but would perpetuate the family of the deceased and receive his inheritance, he prevented conception when consummating the marriage by spilling the semen. ארצה שׁחת, "destroyed to the ground (i.e., let it fall upon the ground), so as not to give seed to his brother" (נתן for תּת only here and Numbers 20:21). This act not only betrayed a want of affection to his brother, combined with a despicable covetousness for his possession and inheritance, but was also a sin against the divine institution of marriage and its object, and was therefore punished by Jehovah with sudden death. The custom of levirate marriage, which is first mentioned here, and is found in different forms among Indians, Persians, and other nations of Asia and Africa, was not founded upon a divine command, but upon an ancient tradition, originating probably in Chaldea. It was not abolished, however, by the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 25:5.), but only so far restricted as not to allow it to interfere with the sanctity of marriage; and with this limitation it was enjoined as a duty of affection to build up the brother's house, and to preserve his family and name (see my Bibl. Archologie, 108).
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