Genesis 38 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The contents of this chapter are derived from J. The narrative forms an abrupt interruption of the Joseph story. The subject-matter is peculiarly unattractive; but the insertion of the section at this point is probably due to the desire to give prominence to the position of Judah among the sons of Jacob.
The story of Judah and Tamar conceivably resembles that of Simeon and Levi in chap. 34, and that of Reuben in Gen 35:21 f., in that it may be regarded as symbolizing tribal relations rather than as recording personal history. The daughter of Shua, the wife of Judah, is of Canaanite origin ( Gen 38:2-3). She represents the assimilation of Canaanite clans into the clans of the tribe of Judah. If this view be correct, then the primary object of the narrative is to preserve the tradition which connected leading families from the border races, e.g. Perez and Zerah ( Gen 38:29-30), with the great tribe of Judah. We may also possibly see a subordinate object in the record of the tradition of a pre-Mosaic origin for the institution of the levirate marriage.
1 11. Judah’s wife and three sons.
12 26. Tamar and Judah.
27 30. The birth of Perez and Zerah.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".