Genesis 38:1
About that time, Judah left his brothers and settled near a man named Hirah, an Adullamite.
JudahM. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.Genesis 38:1-7
LessonsG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 38:1-7
LessonsG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 38:1-7
The Character of JudahT. H. Leale.Genesis 38:1-7
The Lessons of Judah's HistoryT. H. Leale.Genesis 38:1-7
The Goodness and Severity of GodR.A. Redford Genesis 38

Jacob may be said to fall into the background from this time until his parting benediction. The kingdom of God is represented in Joseph and his history. The main points in this chapter are -

I. GOD'S DISTINGUISHING GRACE TO JOSEPH, separating him from his brethren in character, in his father's affection, in the method of his life, in' the communications of the Spirit. Joseph is the type of the believer, faithful to the covenant, amongst both the Canaanitish heathen and the unfaithful children of the covenant, the patriarchs.

II. THE WORKING OF EVIL PASSIONS AND MORAL IMPURITY BROUGHT TO A CLIMAX THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT OF GOD'S GRACE IN THE INDIVIDUAL. Joseph brought the evil report to Jacob. Joseph dreamed. Joseph was evidently both in himself superior to his brethren and more favored by God. That is the old story - the Cain spirit developed by contact with the Abel spirit. A time of special grace is always a time of special wickedness and judgment. Witness the advent of the Lord, the Reformation period, the revival of religion in the last century, leading on to the outburst of both wickedness and judgment at the end.

III. THE DREAMS OF THE PIOUS LAD WERE THEMSELVES STEPS IN THE COURSE OF REVELATION. The dominion which was foreshadowed was that of the spiritual kingdom over the unspiritual.

IV. THE PROVIDENTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE PROMISE. Partly through the personal character of Joseph, partly through the evil passions of his brethren, partly through the apparently casual incidents of the neighborhood, partly through the Spirit of righteousness working in the heart of Reuben, partly through the weakness and fondness of Jacob. How strangely "all things work together" in God's hands 1 He weaves the web composed of many single threads into one united, orderly pattern as a whole in which we are able to trace his own thought and purpose.

V. Joseph in the pit while his brethren sit down to eat bread represents THE BELIEVER SUFFERING IN THE MIDST OF AN UNBELIEVING WORLD. A type of Jesus cast into the pit of his humiliation, while the Jewish people despised and rejected claims, his prophetic words, his evident favor with God, and by their transactions with Gentiles, the Romans, gave him up to what seemed to them ruin, but what was the crowning of his head with glory. We begin to see at this point that, as the Psalmist sang, "the word of the Lord tried him."

VI. THE DELIVERANCE Of Joseph and his transference to the sphere of his future triumph are EFFECTED THROUGH JUDAH IMMEDIATELY, THROUGH THE OTHER BRETHREN AND THE ISHMAELITES OR MIDIANITES SECONDARILY. These names of Judah, Ishmael, Midian remind us that the fleshly links which bind the descendants of Abraham together are not lost sight of by God, are called in to serve the purposes of grace, but not to take the place of the true spiritual work, which goes on in its own appointed channel. So in the history of the Church, while there are many secondary influences at work, still there is a remnant according to the election of grace in which there is the real continuity of Divine dealings.

VII. The genuine grief of Reuben, the barbarous inhumanity towards their father of the fallen sons, THE OVERWHELMING SORROW OF THE AGED, HEART-BROKEN JACOB, the rising up of all his sons and daughters to comfort him, are all beautiful and significant touches of nature in this history, which remind us that we are not "following cunningly-devised fables, and that God's gracious kingdom of truth and love does not annihilate the human in order to reveal the Divine, but puts its rainbow on the cloud.

VIII. THE INTRODUCTION OF EGYPT again into the history. Egypt is the type of the world, as built upon the foundation of fallen humanity alone, without the special grace of God, Into that bulk of the unrenewed race the leaven of the kingdom must be put. The connection between the covenant family and Egypt, which we trace in the history of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as afterwards in their descendants, represents at once

(1) the thoroughly human character of the kingdom that God would set up in the earth, for the people of God found much in Egypt which they carried away with them afterwards, and assimilated to their own specially-communicated faith;

(2) the breadth of the promises of God - the separation of the one people was for the sake of all the families of the earth. - R.


1. In his separation from his brethren (ver. 1).

2. In his marriage with an idolater (ver. 2).




(T. H. Leale.)



III. THIS HISTORY HAS AN IMPORTANT BEARING UPON GOD'S PURPOSE OF SALVATION. Considered in regard to God's redeeming purpose, this history shows —

1. That God's election is by grace. Otherwise Judah would not have been chosen as the ancestor of Christ. It shows —

2. The native glory of Christ, He derives all His glory from Himself, and not from His ancestry. It shows —

3. The amazing condescension of Christ. The greatest and most shameful sinners are found in His birth-register.

(T. H. Leale.)

1. Arbitrary is the Spirit of God in recording times of events; therefore careful should we be to search them.

2. Wanton forward youths are apt to leave their station, brethren, and fathers, where they should be ruled.

3. Such averseness from duty inclines foolish hearts to lose acquaintance. So it was here.

4. Wanton youths choose to be familiar with worldly companions in lust rather than to be with a good father.

5. Names of men and places of miscarriage by the sons of the Church are noted for instruction (ver. 1).

6. In bad company, and out of men's places usually, are offered baits of temptation.

7. Wanton hearts have wanton eyes by which they are carried out to evil.

8. Daughters of the Canaanites may please the eyes of the sons of Jacob to misguide them.

9. Violence of lust drives men to take their delights, never desiring leave of God or man.

10. Lust desires no better marriage than a carnal enjoyment of its pleasure.

11. Lust fears no law of God that forbids Jacob's seed to marry with Canaanites (ver. 2).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

1. Such as have been disobedient to parents are not willing their children should be such to them.

2. It is the father's right to provide and give wives to their sons.

3. It is natural for fathers to care mainly for the first-born son.

4. Providence orders wives from strangers to be registered in His Church for His own ends.

5. The first-born of men's hopes may prove most wicked, and greatest crosses.

6. It is height of wickedness to dare the Lord to His face.

7. God Himself turneth executioner to avenge Himself upon daring sinners.

8. Premature death is determined sometimes and executed upon obstinate wicked sinners.

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

Judah had taken to wife the daughter of a Canaanite, no doubt to the grief and regret of his father (Genesis 26:35); he had done what hitherto every member of the chosen branches of Abraham's house had scrupulously avoided; for even the sanguinary deed of Simeon and Levi had been dictated by the desire of preserving the purity of their family. He left his brothers and went to Adullam. This is a town in the plain of Judah, south-west of Jerusalem, mentioned together with Jarmuth and Sochoh, or with Libnah and Makkedah; it is one of the most ancient cities, and enjoyed an existence of unusual duration; for in the time of the Hebrew conquest it was the seat of a Canaanitish king; a cave in its neighbourhood was the refuge of David from the persecutions of Saul; here his relatives joined him; here he assembled around his person a large number of distressed but resolute men; and here he met a part of the Philistine army. Adullam was fortified by Rehoboam; it was later counted among the important cities of Judah; it was still inhabited after the exile; and existed even in the time of the Maccabees.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

Canaanitish, Er, Hirah, Onan, Perez, Pharez, Shelah, Shua, Shuah, Tamar, Timnah, Zarah, Zerah
Chezib, Enaim, Timnah
Adullam, Adullamite, Aside, Brethren, Brothers, Departed, Friend, Hirah, Judah, Named, Pass, Stay, Turneth, Visited
1. Judah begets Er, Onan, and Shelah.
6. Er's marriage with Tamar, and death.
8. The trespass of Onan.
11. Tamar is reserved for Shelah.
12. Judah's wife dies.
13. Tamar deceives Judah.
27. She bears twins, Pharez and Zarah.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 37:36

     5245   captain
     5330   guard
     5587   trade

Because, Therefore, Lying Heretics Find not in the Books of the New Testament Any...
29. Because, therefore, lying heretics find not in the books of the New Testament any precedents of lying which are meet to be imitated, they esteem themselves to be most copious in their disputation wherein they opine that it is right to lie, when from the old prophetical books, because it doth not appear therein, save to the few who understand, to what must be referred the significative sayings and doings which as such be true, they seem to themselves to find out and allege many that be lies. But
St. Augustine—Against Lying

Cix. Jewish Rulers Seek to Ensnare Jesus.
(Court of the Temple. Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30.) Subdivision B. Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection. ^A Matt. XXII. 23-33; ^B Mark XII. 18-27; ^C Luke XX. 27-39. ^a 23 On that day there came { ^b come} unto him ^c certain of the the Sadducees, they that { ^b who} say there is no resurrection [As to the Sadducees, see p. 71. We may regard their attitude toward Christ as expressed by their leader Caiaphas, see p. 528]; and they asked him, saying, 19 Teacher, Moses wrote unto us [See Deut. xxv. 5,
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Annunciation to Joseph of the Birth of Jesus.
(at Nazareth, b.c. 5.) ^A Matt. I. 18-25. ^a 18 Now the birth [The birth of Jesus is to handled with reverential awe. We are not to probe into its mysteries with presumptuous curiosity. The birth of common persons is mysterious enough (Eccl. ix. 5; Ps. cxxxix. 13-16), and we do not well, therefore, if we seek to be wise above what is written as to the birth of the Son of God] of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary had been betrothed [The Jews were usually betrothed ten or twelve months
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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