“It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and turned aside to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah”(Genesis 38:1)
As soon as the event of Joseph’s sale to the Midianites had been finalized, the following verse shows us Judah leaving his home to go live with a man called Hirah. We are not told why he broke away from his family, but it is possible that Judah lost authority over his brothers because of what happened with Joseph. Maybe he could no longer stand being a witness to his father Jacob’s grief over Joseph’s loss.
From that point on Judah makes a series of bad decisions that bring him suffering, though it is true that at the end, he comes out victorious and with a sublime mission. Let us see some of his problems:
He became a friend of Hirah, the Adullamite, a Canaanite with values and philosophies that were contrary to those of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
He married a woman (whose name is not mentioned), the daughter of another Canaanite, Shum who used to visit Hirah and of whom we only know the nationality. Choosing a Canaanite woman to be his wife was unacceptable under divine law (Gen. 9:25).
Of this union, three boys were born: Er, Onan, and Shelah.
Judah’s wife died prematurely.
His firstborn Er, married Tamar and shortly thereafter, was killed by God because of his wickedness.
His second son, Onan, refused to father and raise the offspring for his dead brother and God also took his life.
7.The widow, Tamar, aware that her father-in-law didn’t want to give her his third son with whom she could have an offspring, devised a plan so that Judah himself would be the father of her child. Judah got caught in the trap and ended up being the father of the twins Pharez and Zarah.
Judah’s life was in chaos and it seemed impossible, for him to turn things around: his wife and sons were dead, our of an incestuous encounter were born the offspring a father-in-law and daughter-in-law, who should have been put to death (Lev. 20:12). However, a crucial decision made his life take a turn for the better: he confessed his mistake (Gen. 38:26) and got back on the right track. This allowed God to take action, to guide his life by bringing him back to family to become Jacob’s most prominent son.
The magnitude of our errors does not matter because, just like in Judah’s case, God patiently waits to fill our lives with blessings as long as we confess our mistakes and let Him take action.