Beyond the Lectionary Text: Genesis 38

by Chelsey Harmon


Genesis 38 has to be near the top of the list of least-preached texts in Scripture. There’s death (by the hand of God no less), sex—both in marriage and outside of it, and lots of things that parents might not be ready to have their kids understand (i.e. parents are too embarrassed to have to be the ones to explain). In ironic paradox, much of the church has tried to shelter itself from any sort of sexual innuendo or discussion beyond “true love waits” in response to our oversaturated sexual culture.

But to let sex and all of its related pieces keep us from this story is to keep us from learning two important things about God’s view of human righteousness. Both Tamar and Judah give us a window into what it means to be right before God.



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