New Defender's Study Bible Notes
38:6 Tamar. Tamar, who had a son by Judah through a rather involved and unsavory (though, in one sense, and from her point of view, quite justified) intrigue, is the first of four women (the others being Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba) listed in the kingly genealogy of Jesus Christ (see Matthew 1:3). This, among other factors, is surely a testimony of God’s grace. Tamar had twin sons, the youngest of which, Phares, was the one in the royal line.
38:8 raise up seed to thy brother. This so-called Levirate marriage relationship (Deuteronomy 25:5-10) was practiced also in other nations at the time, according to the Nuzi tablets.
38:18 What pledge. The Hebrew word for “pledge” is essentially the same as that for “surety” in Genesis 44:32, where Judah was offering himself to Joseph as a substitute to receive Benjamin’s punishment, instead of Benjamin. Similarly, Judah’s pledge was given to Tamar in substitution for the payment due to Tamar. Both, in effect, can be considered as types of Christ offering His own shed blood in substitution for the death our sins have deserved.
38:18 signet. A signet is a seal used as a signature to confirm a contract.