Genesis 38:30
And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.
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(30) Zarah.—Heb., the rising, especially of the sun. There is in the name an allusion to the red streak placed (upon the child’s hand.

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.Tamar bears Perez and Zerah to Judah. After three months her pregnancy was manifest. "Let her be burnt." It is manifest Judah had the power to execute this punishment. The life of the widow of his son was in his hands. Stoning was the mode of punishment by the law of Moses Deuteronomy 22:20-24; burning, only in aggravated cases Leviticus 20:14; Leviticus 21:9. He is a severe judge in a case where he is equally criminal. "She hath been more righteous than I. Tamar was less culpable in this matter than Judah. For he was moved by lust to commit fornication, and was the indirect occasion of Tamar's conduct by withholding Selah. But Tamar, though wronged, was not free from blame in her mode of righting herself. The youthful indiscretion of Judah in forming an intermarriage with a Canaanitish family, without the concurrence of his brothers or his father, has been fruitful of crime. If this immorality goes on, the chosen family will be speedily absorbed in the surrounding paganism. Hence, we begin to see the necessity of an immediate removal to another land, where they may be kept more distinct from the native superstition. By the disclosure of Tamar Judah is brought to acknowledgment of his fault, and, we may infer, to repentance. His abstaining from all further sexual intercourse with her may be accepted as a proof of this. "A scarlet thread." The right of primogeniture here manifests its importance. "Perez" - a breach. Slight incidents become the foundation of names, and are often the hinges on which great events turn. The minutest circumstances connected with the progenitors of the promised seed have a lasting interest.

Judah was at the close of his twenty-ninth year when Perez and Zerah were born. The dates in his family history may be arranged as underneath, on the supposition that the first child was born when the father was in his fourteenth year. This hypothesis is fairly allowable when we take into consideration not only other cases, but the early willfulness of Judah, and the example he gave to his children. The command also to be fruitful and multiply Genesis 35:11, which was given especially to Jacob, may have had a tendency to encourage early marriages. It is certain that the Jewish rabbis considered a man to have transgressed a divine precept who passed the age of twenty without being married. They also fixed the marriageable age for males at thirteen years and a day. King Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah when he was not more than twelve 2 Kings 16:2; 2 Kings 18:2; and King Josiah the father of Jehoiakim, when fourteen years of age 2 Kings 22:1; 2 Kings 23:36.

Judah 13 years 6 months when Er was born.

Judah 14 years 4 12 months when Onan was born.

Judah 15 years 3 months when Shelah was born.

Judah 28 years 9 months when Perez was born.

Judah 42 years 3 months when Hezron was born to Perez.

Judah 43 years 2 months when Hamul was born.

- Joseph in Potiphar's House

According to our reckoning, Perez and Zerah were born when Judah was in his twenty-eighth year, and therefore, Joseph in his twenty-fourth. Here, then, we go back seven years to resume the story of Joseph.

24. Bring her forth, and let her be burnt—In patriarchal times fathers seem to have possessed the power of life and death over the members of their families. The crime of adultery was anciently punished in many places by burning (Le 21:9; Jud 15:6; Jer 29:22). This chapter contains details, which probably would never have obtained a place in the inspired record, had it not been to exhibit the full links of the chain that connects the genealogy of the Saviour with Abraham; and in the disreputable character of the ancestry who figure in this passage, we have a remarkable proof that "He made himself of no reputation" [Php 2:7]. No text from Poole on this verse.

And afterward came out his brother that had the scarlet thread upon his hand,.... By which it was known that he so far came out first; which confirms the remarkable birth of his brother, who notwithstanding got the start of him:

and his name was called Zarah; not from "rising", or his coming forth like the rising sun, as is usually observed; but rather from his return, or drawing back his hand, and as it were returning to his mother's womb; and so, according to Hillerus (l), Zarah, by a transposition of letters, comes from "Chazar", to return: but Jarchi thinks he had his name from the refulgent appearance of the scarlet thread on his wrist.

(l) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 372.

And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.
30. Zerah] A word which probably meant “the rising of the sun”; but was apparently in popular etymology connected with a word meaning “scarlet.” See, for Zerah, an Edomite, Genesis 36:13; Genesis 36:17; Genesis 36:33.

In this narrative we may discern a reminiscence of a time in which the clans of Ex and Onan disappeared from the tribe of Judah; while those of Perez and Zerah, connected with native Canaanites, became incorporated with it, but were rivals with one another, Zerah, though the more ancient, being obliged to yield to the greater vigour of Perez.

Verse 30. - And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and hi, name was called Zarah - Splendor.

Genesis 38:30"And it came to pass, when it (the child) drew back its hand (כּמשׁיב for משׁיב כּהיות as in Genesis 40:10), behold its brother came out. Then she (the midwife) said, What a breach hast thou made for thy part? Upon thee the breach;" i.e., thou bearest the blame of the breach. פּרץ signifies not rupturam perinoei, but breaking through by pressing forward. From that he received the name of Perez (breach, breaker through). Then the other one with the scarlet thread came into the world, and was named Zerah (זרח exit, rising), because he sought to appear first, whereas in fact Perez was the first-born, and is even placed before Zerah in the lists in Genesis 46:12; Numbers 26:20. Perez was the ancestor of the tribe-prince Nahshon (Numbers 2:3), and of king David also (Ruth 4:18.; 1 Chronicles 2:5.). Through him, therefore, Thamar has a place as one of the female ancestors in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
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