The lineage of Judah is given next, because through Judah would come king David and eventually the Christ. Reuben was firstborn, but he lost favor by going into Jacob's concubine. The next in line were Simeon and Levi, but because of their cruelty towards the men of Shechem they were not chosen. Jacob favored Joseph, so they hated Joseph. Judah played a role in saving the life of his brother Joseph. When Joseph's brothers had plotted to leave Joseph in a pit to die, Judah convinced his brothers to sell Joseph to Ishmaelites, rather than letting him die.
A region of Israel, which included the city of Jerusalem, was named after Judah. In fact, Judah became the name of the southern kingdom when Israel divided into two kingdoms.
The firstborn blessings, the promises of Abraham, were given to Judah. Later Jesus would come being called the firstborn of all creation.
Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
He would be called the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
The story of Judah
Gen 38:1 And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. Hirah meant, "a noble family".
Gen 38:2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
The daughter is named Shuah, meaning "wealth". Maybe Judah married for wealth and social position in the world.
Gen 38:3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.
Er, means "awake".
Gen 38:4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.
Onan, meant "vigorous"
Gen 38:5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him. Three sons were born to the Canaanite woman and Judah. The son's are taught by the mother, who had other gods and values and the first two son's were not good sons.
2 Cor 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Gen 38:6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.
Er, means "awake". Tamar, means "Date Palm". She was his first date?
Gen 38:7 And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
Er needed to wake up and smell the coffee. He was such a bad sinner that God slew him. Does God kill the wicked? Yes, he is long suffering, but he does not like sin.
Rom 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Rom 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Rom 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
Rom 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
Rom 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
Rom 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Rom 2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
Gen 38:8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
According to the custom of levirate marriage (levir in Latan means husbands brother) (later codified into law in Deuteronomy 25:5-10), if a man died before providing sons to his wife, it was the duty of his brothers to marry her and to give her sons. The child would be considered the son of the brother who had died, because really the living brother was acting in his place. (Guzik)
Gen 38:9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
Gen 38:10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
The sin of Onan was pretending to be responsible towards his brother's widow, but refusing to give children to Tamar in her brother's name. He used sex only for pleasure, without responsibility. The sin was in not fulfilling his duty in providing an heir. He was a hypocrite. There are many like Onan, irresponsible to the woman and there are women who are just as bad, even killing their babies at delivery by abortion. The sin of Onan is being selfish and irresponsible. Onan was to raise up an heir and provide for his brothers wife. What new testament couple were known for hypocrisy? Ananias and Sapphira, in Acts 5, were slain by God, for hypocrisy.
Gen 38:11 Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father's house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house.
Tamar was under the headship of Judah. He was the one who could choose a mate for her. Many get into trouble by not waiting on God and marrying the wrong person. The last son of Judah, Shela was of age, but Judah had not given Tamar to him to marry.
Gen 38:12 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.
Judah's wife, Shuah died. Judah was comforted by his Caananite friends.
Gen 38:13 And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep.
Gen 38:14 And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife. Judah had withheld his last son from Tamar, so she resorts to her plan.
Gen 38:15 When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.
She was playing the harlot.
Gen 38:16 And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?
What price have you? There always was money in selling sex. Pornography is a 13 billion dollar industry.
Gen 38:17 And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it?
A promise, but no credit card for collateral. One young woman in which I loved as a daughter who was saved out of prostitution from our Internet ministry, took the responsibility to care and shelter others that she brought out of this lifestyle. At one time she had no money and no credit cards and sold herself to pay for their needs. She hated to do this, after coming to Jesus. When we come to Jesus he gives us a heart that is troubled by sin. She had no other credit and resorted to the old way. We must seek the way of Christ, renewing our minds, taking on the mind of Christ.
Gen 38:18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.
Judah gave up the things that represented his character and honor. The ring with his seal that was worn around his neck on a cord. Men did not wear bracelets, so it is believed that the word used for bracelets was for the cord around his neck. He also gave her his staff. The shepherds staff was a useful tool, and personal. He exchanged the things that brought him honor and recognition for a moment of lust. Tamar conceived from this union.
Gen 38:19 And she arose, and went away, and laid by her veil from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.
Gen 38:20 And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman's hand: but he found her not.
Gen 38:21 Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place.
Gen 38:22 And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place.
They could not find the woman to pay her.
Gen 38:23 And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.
The incident itself would bring shame upon Judah and not keeping his word, added to the shame, so he kept this quiet. Do we think we can get by with our sins if no one knows? Satan uses our un confessed sins to torment us and eventually they are revealed. Judah was a sinner, giving in to the temptations of the flesh.
1 Cor 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Gen 38:24 And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.
Rom 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
Gen 38:25 When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.
Gen 38:26 And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
He acknowledged his sin. "she hath been more righteous than I," and did not lay with her again. I assume that Tamar remained unmarried, caring for her two sons. Judah had become the kinsman redeemer.
Gen 38:27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
Gen 38:28 And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
This one counted as the firstborn.
Gen 38:29 And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.
Pharez would be the son to carry the blood line through which Messiah Jesus would come, the son of man and the Son of God. The lineage of Mary had two prostitutes: Rahab and Tamar.
Gen 38:30 And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.
Zarah was the firstborn but Pharez received the birthright. Esau was the firstborn of Isaac, but Jacob received the birthright. Ishmael was the firstborn of Abraham, but the second child born of Sarah, Isaac received the blessings of the firstborn. Adam was the firstborn after God's image, but Jesus the last Adam is the blessed one of God the fulfillment of the promises of God.
1 Cor 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1 Cor 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1 Cor 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1 Cor 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1 Cor 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Mat 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Mat 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
In Revelation 7:7, Judah is at the top of the list of the tribes receiving the Seal of God for 12,000 of its members. The name Judah means "gratitude" or "to praise." Let us put off the works of the flesh, the temptations and be grateful to our Lord. Let us praise him, there is power in praise. The devil hates it and must leave.