Deuteronomy 25:5 ¶ If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her. 6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. 7 And if the man like not to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband’s brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother. 8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her; 9 Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house. 10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.
Judah and Tamar
Before the command was given in the law of moses, the concept of the kinsman redeemer is seen in the story of Judah and Tamar.
Judah married Shuah. They had three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah gave Tamar to Er for a wife, but Er was wicked and killed by the Lord. This left Tamar with no husband. The custom was to have the brother of the widow to marry her and raise children in the name of the deceased husband to preserve his name. Onan refused to perform this duty and was killed by Lord also. The duty of kinsman-redeemer now falls to Shelah, but Judah would not allow Shelah to fulfill his duty.
Tamar then take matters into her own hands and deceives Judah into thinking she is a harlot. As an exchange for her services she is given his signet, bracelet, and staff and a pledge for a goat. Shen Judah attempts to pay her she can not be found.
Tamar, later is discovered to be pregnant and she produces the items of the pledge as proof of who the father is, e.g., Judah. Her firstborn child, Pharez, is shown to be in the line of the Messiah.
Let’s consider a few things about Judah…we know that our “Redeemer” was to come through the line of Judah, don’t we?
Could our Redeemer come from a man who, in a jealous rage, sold his brother into slavery and lied about it to his father? Or does our Redeemer come from a man who offered himself in place of his brother Benjamin, willing to be a slave himself in order for his brother to be free and his father spared tremendous grief????
Jn 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Does anyone feel led to study this aspect of Judah?
We first get a glimpse of Judah in Genesis 26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
Not a very attractive picture of Judah! He didn’t want to “kill” Joseph, but he was more than content with getting rid of him by selling him!
Judah continues to sin, with his brothers, by leading Jacob to believe Joseph was killed!
Jacob doesn’t take the news very well. Genesis 37:34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
The very next time we see Judah in Scripture, he is leaving his brethren to visit one of his friends in Adullam.
I personally do not believe there is a negative connotation to Judah’s going to Adullam. At this time, Adullam was a Canaanite town in the lowlands. Jacob and his sons resided in the land of Canaan. Adullam was ultimately given to Judah when the land was parceled out to the various tribes. Adullam means “justice”….twice David hid in the cave of Adullam. Nehemiah tells us that Adullam was also one of the stronghold cities…a city of protection for Israel. Judah’s friend is named Hirah. Hirah means a noble city.
What is significant, perhaps, is that Judah is recorded as “leaving his brethren” and then taking a wife from the people of Canaan.
The land of Cannan was promised to Abraham by God. Canaan, Ham’s son, was cursed and consigned in Scripture to be a servant of his brothers. Canaan effectively was to be given no earthly inheritance–signifying, spiritually, unrepentant sinners having no part of eternal life.
Ge 9:26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. Ge 9:27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Ge 17:8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
Judah takes a wife there, a daughter of a Canannite man named Shua. Shua means a cry for help. It also means opulence/wealth.
Many prominent men of Israel took gentile brides…Joseph had the daughter of Potipher, and Moses the daughter of Jethro….I”m not sure this was a negative thing, necessarily, Judah taking a wife of Ca Israel was NOT to take wives from the women of Canaan!
Ge 28:1 And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.
Esau took wives from Canaan, and this greatly grieved his mother Rebekah.
46 And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?
Ge 28:6 When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;
Ge 28:8 And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; 9 Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.
Israel at the time was dwelling in the land of Canaan, for that land was promised to Abraham….but they were NOT to take wives from the Canaanites.
I believe this supports the state of Judah prior to his encounter with Tamar….he was in spiritual adultery…unfaithful towards God.
The “fruit” of this union seems to have been mixed. Scripture tells us that Er was evil and was killed by God. Onan also was killed by God after he refused to beget children for his brother. Ge 46:12 And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zerah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul.
Shelah, the third son of Judah and the daughter of Shua, is recorded in the Bible as having descendents.
Nu 26:20 And the sons of Judah after their families were; of Shelah, the family of the Shelanites: of Pharez, the family of the Pharzites: of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites.
Some of Shelah’s descendents were associated with the fine linen trade from Egypt. White linen in Scripture is associated with salvation/righteousness.
1 Chronicles 4:21 The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were, Er the father of Lecah, and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, of the house of Ashbea,
I believe the mixed fruit of the union of Judah and the daughter of Shua merely supports the Scriptural Truth that salvation is an individual decision.
I believe Eira pointed out that when someone was killed by the Lord in Israel his name was blotted out of the Book of Life, symbolized by a branch being broken off the tree due to disbelief. Two branches are broken off (Judah’s first two sons) while two were grafted in (his last two sons, the twins).