Scandinavian Journal for the Old Testament vol:25 issue:2 pages:276-288
Although Gen 38 has attracted significant scholarly interest, attempts at identifying its central theme have provided divergent opinions. For some authors, it is about Levirate marriage, for others, it focuses on justice for the widow, or righteousness, or a description of Judah’s genealogy, or tracing of the genealogical roots of David’s dynasty and so on. This Babel-of-voices raises a number of questions: Why are there such divergent results? Which of the interpretations is “right”? Which theme is consistent with the narrative? or “Is the text so overloaded that it permits many legitimate readings at the same time? These questions make a case for a re-examination of the pericope. The present reading argues strongly and consistently that the theme of the “search for progeny” runs throughout the entire narrative of Gen 38 and weaves it together. Our conclusion suggests that reading Gen 38 as “a tale of the search for progeny” is illuminating and stands out as the consistent theme of the pericope.