“27 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, ‘This one came out first.’ 29 But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, ‘So this is how you have broken out!’ And he was named Perez.30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.” NIV

As we take our leave of chapter 38, it’s time to emphasise the point once more that God, in His mysterious sovereignty, uses even the sins of people to further His purposes. Listen to Tom Hale’s words. While he acknowledges that Tamar’s act was sinful, he adds that it:

‘…was all the more significant in that it resulted in twin sons, one of whom, Perez (verse 29), would become the ancestor of Israel’s King David and ultimately of Christ Himself (Matthew 1:3)…Tamar gave birth to twin boys. One boy seemed to be coming out first because his hand appeared, and the midwife marked it by tying a thread around the wrist. But it was actually the other twin who “broke out” first and thus became the firstborn. He was named Perez, which means “breaking out.” Once again, as with Isaac and Ishmael, and with Jacob and Esau, we see God reversing the order and causing the son who should have been second to become the first and thus obtain the birthright.

In this way the line of Judah was preserved through Perez and on through Old Testament history (Ruth 4:18-22), culminating in the birth of Jesus the Messiah. Once again we see God’s purposes being fulfilled, even through the sins and failings of ordinary people like Judah and Tamar.’ ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.186.

“ Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?” “Who has ever given to God that God should repay him?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36).