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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 23, Day 5: Genesis 38:13-30

Summary of Genesis 38:13-30:

Tamar was desperate and knew Shelah would not be her husband. So she disguised herself to go and meet her father-in-law, Judah, at Enaim on the road to Timnah. Judah thought she was a prostitute so he offered her a young goat as payment to sleep with her. She asked for a pledge since he did not have the goat with him. He gave her his seal, cord, and staff. She slept with him and became pregnant.

Judah could not find her again to give her the goat. When he found out though that Tamar was pregnant, he ordered her death, thinking she sinned as a prostitute. She presented him with her pledge and Judah had to admit he was wrong not to give her Shelah. She had twin boys named Perez and Zerah.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 23, Day 5: Genesis 38:13-30

13a) Tamar was desperate and knew Shelah would not be her husband. So she disguised herself to go and meet her father-in-law, Judah, at Enaim on the road to Timnah. She then tricked him into sleeping with her in order to have kids.

b) Too many ways to begin.

c) Judah at first was angry, but then he realized he was the one who sinned against her.

14) Jesus came from Tamar’s son, Perez, and Judah

15) It challenges me to do what is right, but not to use deceit to do so. Although, in Tamar’s defense, this was ancient times, and she didn’t have a lot of rights or say in any matter.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 23, Day 5: Genesis 38:13-30

Now I see the significance of this story! I had forgotten about this until I read it again. Great stuff!

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 23, Day 5: Genesis 38:13-30

Tamar did not have a lot of options. It’s hard to blame her here. Judah was solely in charge if she would marry again, and it was painfully obvious he would not give her his last son.

God’s plan once again in action.

Judah fails to see his sin until he is confronted with it by Tamar. Wisely, he recognizes it for what it is.

Tamar becomes part of Jesus’ lineage!  Matthew 1:3 and Luke 3:33 Cool stuff!

Note this is another example of how God grants grace to sinners and how Jesus does not come from perfect examples of humanity (of which there are none). God can make all things work for the good of those who trust him (Romans 8:28), and for His redemptive plan.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 23, Day 5: Genesis 31

Summary of passage:  Laban’s sons were jealous of Jacob’s wealth.  The Lord told Jacob it was time to return to his homeland.  Jacob called Rachel and Leah to him and told them how he has worked for Laban despite the wages being constantly changed but God has been with him and has blessed him with their father’s livestock.

Jacob recounts a dream where God acknowledged Laban’s treachery and told Jacob to leave for home at once.  Rachel and Leah agree and say all Jacob has gained from their father should be theirs anyways as an inheritance.  Jacob and his family left Paddan Aram along with all of his livestock and goods for Canaan.  Rachel stole all of her father’s household gods and Jacob left without telling Laban.  They crossed the Euphrates.

Laban found out after three days that Jacob had fled.  He pursued him and caught up with him in Gilead.  God came to Laban in a dream, warning him not to speak to Jacob. Laban, in his infinite wisdom, speaks to Jacob anyways, and asks him why he had fled without saying good bye and why he has stolen the idols.

Jacob replies that he was afraid Laban would take his daughters from him (can’t blame him here) and that if someone has stolen the idols may they die.

Laban searched and found nothing for Rachel was sitting on them and said she was having her period so she couldn’t stand to greet him.  Laban found nothing.

Jacob is mad at Laban for accusing him of stealing.  He points out how he has worked 20 years for him, 14 for his daughters and 6 for his flocks even though Laban has changed his wages on him 10 times, and God Himself even rebuked Laban for his behavior.

So Laban and Jacob made a covenant, asking Jacob not to mistreat his daughters or take any more wives and neither will cross the other’s “side” to harm each other.  They offered a sacrifice, spent the night, and the next day Laban bid his daughters farewell and left.


11a)  The Lord told him it was time to go.

b)  20 years (verse 38 & 41)

12a)  Verse 5 (the God of my father has been with me), Verse 7 (God has not allowed him  (Laban) to harm me, Verse 9 (God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me), Verse 12 (I–God–have seen all that Laban has been doing to you)

b)  With Laban and Abimelech, the un-Godly ones (yes, I’m calling Laban un-Godly since he’s throwing such a fit about his stupid idols missing) approached the patriarchs and set the terms of the treaty/covenant.  Both knew God was with Jacob and Isaac and decided to move preemptively to protect themselves.  Both treaties stated one was not to harm the other.  Then they feasted, swore, and went on their merry way.

In terms of Jacob and Jesus, both were being pursued and both submitted to God’s will for their lives.  Jacob was told it was time to move back to Canaan.  Jesus was told it was time to die for our sins.  Both were being falsely accused (Rachel was the perpetrator, not Jacob).  Both sought God in the process.

c)  Verses 5, 7, 9, 12, 42

13a)  Hebrews says to endure hardship as discipline, which Jacob did.  He endured sweltering days and freezing cold nights out in the elements as he cared for the flocks.  He absorbed all the animals’ losses as his own and endured Laban’s mistreatments.  Jacob worked hard and was blessed.  He put his faith in God to care for him and bless him and the Lord did.  He received all he had set out for (a wife basically) and much more (two wives and flocks).

Of course, Jacob failed miserably in the wife department.  But his faith grew in God, which I believe was God’s intent, through the hardships.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Verse 42.  God has seen my hardship and rebukes the persecutors of such.  Verse 7.  God has not allowed them to harm me.  Verse 11.  God has seen all that has happened.

Conclusions:  It’s important to remember that God is with us in the difficult times and that He uses ALL things for our good (Romans 8:28).  We will be blessed for we are His. Jacob is not personally afraid.  He is afraid he’ll lose his family (as we all).  But Jacob has faith in God to protect him and do His will through him.  That is what we must remember.  God is working through us even if we can’t see it and don’t know why we have to go through something.  It will work for our good.

End Notes:  This is the last we will hear of Laban in the Bible.  As we see, he is a pompous bully who only half-believed in the Lord.  He used his idols for divination.  He is exceedingly jealous of God’s blessing upon Jacob.  It is all about him.

Why did Rachel steal the idols?  The Bible never tells us why.  Scholars give many different speculative reasons:  she didn’t want her father to have them in order to use them for divination to find them.  She was getting back at her father for the many years of mistreating them.  She wanted them for herself for she worshipped them.  And the Jews usually say she took them to keep her father from sinning into idolatry.

You can also glean a nugget here of a healthy separation from your in-laws who may unduly influence you.

Most fascinating to me was that nowhere in this passage of praising God does Jacob ever say “God is MY God.”