Genesis 38/Judah's Repentance?

Bryan Rocine brocine at
Thu Aug 26 21:39:47 EDT 1999

Dear Clayton,

Hope it's not too late to get back to you.

you wrote:
Clayton Javurek
javurek at
Does anyone have any ideas on the logic
of Genesis 38 being sandwiched in between
the selling of Joseph into slavery (Gen 37) and
the activity of Joseph in the house
of Potiphar, the Egyptian (Gen 38

You may want to consult Alter, _The art of Biblical

He concentrates on the use of the root NKR (Gen 37:32, 33,
38:25, 26, 42:7, 8) as a lexical focal point of the literary
theme of recognition, which plays so heavily in the
narrative as a whole. Ultimately, Judah has a lot of
recognizing to do including, Tamar's justice, Jacob's favor
for Benjamin, and finally, Joseph's supremacy.  In addition,
we may consider the whole of chapters 37-48 as the "Joseph
and Judah Story," which serves as the background to the epic
struggle between the Southern and Northern tribes/kingdoms.
Chapter 38 signals that Judah must first and most be the one
to learn a lesson about God's sovereignity. It also
foreshadows his role as key player in the narrative's climax
in Egypt before Joseph.


B. M. Rocine
Associate Pastor
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

(office) 315.437.6744
(home) 315.479.8267

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