“Judah took a wife for ‘Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But ‘Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil from Adonai’s perspective, so Adonai killed him.“-Genesis 38:6
If there is any one chapter that reveals how important God feels about preserving the Hebrew race, Genesis Chapter 38 has got to be it.
In this narrative, we are told that Judah became one flesh with a Canaanite woman and bore children by her.
In God’s eyes, this was an abomination.
Just as there was no way God was going to let a marriage occur between Dinah and Shechem, in His timing and wisdom, he was not going to let these three half-Canaanite sons of Judah carry on the line of covenant promise.
I wonder what was going on in Judah’s mind?
The Scripture says, “Judah left his brothers“.
Maybe Judah separated from his family because he knew full well that marrying a Canaanite woman was a big no-no among his Israelite brethren.
He also seemed to have overlooked the fact that his Uncle Esau had been passed over for the firstborn blessing, in part because he married Canaanite women.
Keep in mind, this is different than entering into marriage with a foreigner who has pledged allegiance to YHVH and through this act has effectively become one with Israel.
The idea of being properly grafted into Israel is one of the earliest principles established in the Torah.
What Judah did that was so wrong was to marry a Gentile woman with no regard for the fact that she was of a different faith.
And the fruit born from this unholy union was bitter indeed.
The first born son was named Er.
Judah got a wife named Tamar for Er and then we are told he was so wicked that God had to kill Him.
What did Er do that was so repulsive in the Lord’s sight?
We are not told and I think it is dangerous to speculate on the cause when the Bible has given no cause.
Now don’t misunderstand me.
I’m not saying God killed him because he was simply the product of an unholy union between an Israelite and a Canaanite, as bad as that was.
I am saying that the actions Er committed of his own free will were wicked enough to justify God taking his life.
In addition, I believe that these free will wicked actions Er committed is sure fire evidence that YHVH knew what He was talking about when he commanded His people to NOT MIX with the Canaanites.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
Do not unite in marriage with unbelievers,
for what fellowship has righteousness with iniquity?
Or what mingling has light with darkness?
-2 Corinthians 6:14