Devotional Short Note on Genesis 38


Daniel Hämmerly Depuy is a famous Seventh-day Adventist archaeologist of South America who wrote two sets of Volumes on Biblical Archaeology of Paleo-testaments in 1965/1966. He knew Siegfried Horn, Edwin Thiele (Dead of Chronology of Adventists) very well. Siegfried Schwantes was another famous Seventh-day Adventist archaeologist. Douglas Waterhouse, William Shea. The next and younger generation after these others were Lawrence Geraty, Larry Herr, Randall Younker, Gane, and some others as well. Chronology is the issue.

In the era that preceded them, thus between 1937-1949 was Lynn Wood, E. R. Thiele, W. L. Emmerson, W. A. Spicer, J. C. Muir, R. F. Cottrell, T. G. Bunch, F. D. Nichol, B. F. Allen, R. L. Odom and the start of S. Horn. It is in the next era between 1950-1973 that S. Horn, L. Wood and E. Thiele and the names listed above came into play. There is a long list of them until L. Geraty in 1973.

The next era is the younger generation from L. T. Geraty, W. H. Shea, L. Running between 1974-1980. These scholars until present operated with a strong emphasis on anthropology and cultural links rather than history and chronology as the older scholars did.

I will answer about the reliability of a good chronology answer from the above listed scholars the following: just as someone in the days of the Ptolemees at Pella asked where they can get a good copy of the Iliad of Homer, the answer came: “As long as it is not one of these recent ones” so I want to answer also about a good chronology scheme to someone asking: “Where can I get a good scheme of biblical chronology?” and the answer is: “As long as it is not one of these recent ones”.

Nearly all of them agree on a fifteenth century Exodus but that is so broad that is like telling someone “you just take the road and you will get there” without telling the person whether they should drive on the right-side or left-side of the road. The Bible is clear and exact. Numbers are not in generalizations but specific. Scholars of this science need to be exact or striving to be so. Sweeping statements as is the consensus of all biblical scholars today is not fulfilling the task of biblical analysis. It means the mind is somewhere else and not in the Word of God. The early archaeologists are blamed that they were apologetic with wrong facts sometimes by the later generation but standing back the later generation is not necessarily stable in facts just because they sound more global consensus acceptable, since they are chronology quietists and history debunking anthropological scientists.

Before interpreting Genesis 38, let me say about the system of chronology: Horn and Thiele designed the SDA Bible Commentary datings starting the 4th year of Solomon in 1 Kings 6:1-4 in 967/966 BCE. From this day one must add 480 years as the text say until the Exodus. Then one has to look at the Pharaohs of that time’s history to see who was the pharaoh of the Exodus and Thiele ended with Amenhotep II the son of Thustmosis III. So did nearly all the listed scholars above. So Waterhouse, Dupuy, Schwantes etc.

Except W. Shea and myself who start this date at 970 BCE for the 4th year of Solomon. At another time I may explain how I got to 970 BCE. Thus, the Exodus date is 1450 BCE and that is the year Thutmosis III died. I used a modern article on Egyptian chronological systems and was able to verify the date of Thutmosis III death. His mummy was never found but a younger man of 35 years is in his coffin in the Chicago Oriental Institute. He was supposed to be in the seventies!

Then the Bible added 400 years of slavery or 430 years until the death of the one to whom the last promise of the Seed was made, by Joseph at his death [fourth generation from Abraham as the prediction was to Abraham in Genesis] mentioned by Galatians 3:17-19. Thus 1450 + 430 ends in 1880 BCE. The law was given in 1448 BCE thus that date of the death of Joseph should be 1878 BCE. The rest of the calculation from this point is to add the death length of Joseph until his birth in 1988 and one knows exactly how to calculate the rest. He died at the age of 110 years.

The first thing we learn from Genesis 38 is that woman who covered her face in the days of Joseph was considered a harlot. Just the opposite of what is expected today by Islam in their religion of woman. “When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; for she had covered her face.” = וַיִּרְאֶהָ יְהוּדָה וַיַּחְשְׁבֶהָ לְזוֹנָה כִּי כִסְּתָה פָּנֶיהָ (Genesis 38:16).

We also learn that sin had its way with a number of the descendants of Judah and the Lord was displeased and they died as a result of that (see verses 7 and 10).

There is the sin of Judah who secretly had the tendency to be a womanizer, running after harlots (verses 16-26). Judah was even willing to kill her but she had evidence against his twisting accounts to rationalize away his own guilt in this whole process. In Genesis 38:18 Judah conceived with this misunderstood “harlot”.

They were all wrong and there is not a choice of righteous persons here. The fact that Judah called her righteous does not make her righteous, it means she is legally in a better position than himself.

A funny anecdote is added to this terrible deed of Judah at the end of the chapter that when the twins were born a string was attached to the hand that came out first but he pulled it back and came out last. A bit of humor in history is added by Moses here in this somber chapter.

Cultural jurisprudence popular in a territory can clash with the Word of God and what is right in society is not necessary right with the Word of God. The outcome of decision-making? Follow the Word of God rather than Cultural habits. When I wanted to study for a lawyer, a friend of mine said to me: “Do you want to sit from the morning to the evening sorting out people’s dirty clothing?”


Dear God

This chapter is about hanging out dirty washing of Judah and his evil-mindedness. It is only grace that his name became the popular name for the area of God’s people to be looked for later in history. Conversion and contrition for past sins must have been the key. Clean us also from any wrongs in our lives and straighten us with You. Our God of Grace. Amen.