Judah leaves and meets Hirah, marries Bat Shua and has Er, Onan and Shelah with her. From Genesis 38:1-12 commented by ASV and questions

God’s protection

Israel the father of Judah lived a moral life according to the standards of YaHaWaH, his awesome God that had protected him through difficult times at Haran in the hands of Laban the manipulator, through the meeting with his brother and his 400 soldiers. God Also held His hand over him when Simeon and Levi killed the entire male citizens in Shechem and made the surrounding tribes Israel’s enemies.

Pleasing the body

To live their lives like Israel demanded was in strict contrast to the life of the Canaanites surrounding them. Israel’s life with his God was based on the love of YaHaWaH influenced from His Holy Spirit and didn’t satisfy the five senses of the body as the Canaanites did. The spiritual life is always fighting against pleasing your body, your senses.

Bat Shua and her three children

One day Judah, the son of Israel and Leah had enough of it, he just left North West, stopped in the town of Adullam, and found a friend there, Hirah the Adullamite. After a while, he took a Canaanite wife, the daughter of Shua, Bat Shua, and had three children with her, Er, Onan and Shelah. Judah a Sheppard worked all day to keep the flock and herd as was normal. This left his three children in the hands of his Canaanite wife, she raised them and thought them how to live their lives and what to believe in, she of course thought them of the Canaanite culture.

The teaching of Er, Onan and Shelah

What did Er, Onan and Shelah learn? The Canaanites believed in many gods and every one of these gods, demons, was violent and did grotesque things to each other and to their family. These gods were in constant fight and war, molesting and doing things so terrible, that hearing of it makes you sick. These stories are being influenced of the devil, involving killing, stealing and destroying.

The Canaanites

The Canaanites wanted to please their gods and live like them, this was the teaching given of Judah’s wife and her family to his three boys. They grew up becoming evil as the rest of the Canaanites. The Canaanite people were an extremely violent people involved in and promoting idolatry, gang rape, bestiality, child sacrifice, temple prostitution and many other evil and grotesque practices.

God killed him

When Er was ready to marry, Judah piqued a wife for him, a nice girl named Tamar. When Judah married Bat Shuah, no one piqued her for him, he did it himself, may be being helped by his friend Hirah a Canaanite. It was obviously a mistake, and Judah learned from it and this time he didn’t leave it to Er to find a wife for himself. Er was an extremely evil person and seen from Tamar’s point of view the marriage was a disaster. Er was Judah’s first born and selected to be a part of God’s people, however his evil behaviour sent a terrible signal to the outside world and God just killed him.


Now the custom was that the next in line should marry the widow and have child in the name of Er the deceased. Onan, the next in line went into Hagar and slept with her, but spilled the semen on the ground, Onan didn’t want a child with Tamar, the question is why. When Er lived, as the first borne he had the right to a double portion of the inheritance; they were three sons, so the inheritance was divided in four, two fourth for Er and one fourth for the two others.

He killed him too

When Er had died, suddenly Onan was the firstborn and entitled to a double portion, this time the inheritance being divided in three parts, 2 third to Onan and one third to Shelah. If Onan had a child with Tamar, the son would take Er’s place and be entitled to a double portion and then Onan would drop down to one fourth as he had before, it is a huge difference from 2 third and one fourth. It was simple math and Onan didn’t want to lose all that value. Onan thought he was smart, but God didn’t like it and killed him too. Now Judah had only one son left, Shelah, but at that time he was too young to marry, and Judah told Tamar to go to her family and live there until Shelah was old enough.

Married between 12 and 15

Now Bat Shuah died also. At that time the custom was to marry young, the girls could have between 12 and 15, and Bat shuah could have been about 35 when she died.


  1. Do you see the love of God in this text?
  2. Are the parents responsible for what their children learn or is it the society?
  3. Is it difficult to raise children today?
  4. Do we need God’s help in raising children?

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