The language of ivrit ( עברית ) Genesis 38, Post #1

Welcome to my Hebrew reading & language series.

Genesis 38:1-8

Last week we finished with the story of Joseph's betrayal by his brothers. So now that he has begun his life in bondage, we get on with the lives of his brothers who put him there.

Our story continues with Judah heading to see an Adullamite (Adulami in Hebrew) and had met his wife among the Canaanite women. Her name was Shua, his first son was Er. He then fathered Onan and Shelah.

I'm not sure what her did wrong, but God put him to death. Apparently, he did something evil or maybe he was just evil as a person.

According to Hebrew tradition if a man dies and he had no children, his brother is to get together with his sister in law and have kids for his brother so that his name will not be blotted out of history. It would also be very good that the deceased's wife is not left alone and so that the children she has would support her in her old age. The children would also inherit the deceased brother's possessions and money.

It is strange yet interesting that going to bed with another woman would not be considered adultery. But in this case, I believe the brothers were younger and not yet married so the next in line would be asked to "do the right thing" and did go to bed with Tamar.

We will leave this story to unfold a bit more next week. It is a famous one and ends up going places that only a woman could contrive.

Today's reading


It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and turned aside to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua. He took her and went in to her, and she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name Er. She conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name Onan. Yet again she bore a son, and she called his name Shelah. Judah-was in Chezib when she bore him.

And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of YHVH, and YHVH put him to death. Then Judah said to Onan, "Go in to your brother's wife and perform the duty of a brother-in- law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother."



The story continues next week as things get sticky...

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Shabbat Shalom