Chapter 38 of Genesis has caused many of levels of frightening thoughts to ones mind if they were to spill or “waste” their seed.
Many pastors and the like use Chapter 38 out of context to scare boys into not taking matters in to their own hands. This chapter has a story that is weird from start to finish, but just shows what can happen if things get out of hand.
So, lets look at the context of what is going on, instead of just the climax phrase.
There was instruction that if a husband and a wife had no children and the husband died that his brother could and should father a child with his sister-in-law.
Judah had several sons. But the story is about ER and Onan and ER’s wife Tamar. As any parent wants grandchildren, Judah was no different. He picked out a wife for his first Born ER, her name was Tamar. However ER was wicked and died. Judah told his second born Onan to do his duty and fill in for his brother and be a father to kids for him with her. Onan knew these kids would not be his so as he is having relations with Tamar, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother.
But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, so He took his life also.
Now, comes the crazy part. Judah tells Tamar that as soon as his next oldest son is old enough that he will take over. However, Tamar is scared that he may die also.
Soon Judah’s wife died and he told Tamar that he was going somewhere to shear his sheep. She covered her face and pretended she was a harlot and seduced Judah. He gave her a ring of his and a kid from his flock.
Later he came back to town to find the harlot from the side of the road and the people there said there was no harlot. Then he sees his daughter in law and she has the ring and the goat which he recognized.
She had twins and as the first one was being delivered the midwife tied a ribbon on his wrist so they would know which one was first born. At that moment the hand was retracted and the other was born first. Perez ended up coming out first then Zerah after with the ribbon.
Thats the story. Something tells me there is more going on here. The comment that if you waste or spill your seed, it is displeasing to the Lord, seems a little out of context from what happened.
There was a duty of the next oldest to perform and he did not do what was asked according to the duty of raising up his brothers children which would have actually been his just not for inheritance sake. Lets say he made a bad decision and because of this decision, a chain of events occurred.
Now lets look at other areas where this things might be more in context.
Leviticus 15:18. Lets start with this one and see where it leads.
If a man lies with a woman so that there is a seminal emission, they shall both bathe in water and be unclean until evening.
now 19. When a woman has a discharge if her discharge in her body is blood, she shall continue in her menstrual impurity for 7 days and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening.
So if there is a seminal emission they just need to bathe and are unclean until evening, but if it is a menstrual impurity it last for 7 days then another 7 days.
There are other mentions of Nocturnal seminal emissions and in those cases bathing with water is the cleanser.
Now as a parent, I am aware of things now that I was not aware of as a child. Whenever there is relations there is ‘wasting or spilling’ of the seed whether you are trying to or not. So the bathing with water is the enough to get one clean.
The meaning of Chapter 38 of ‘displeasing to the Lord’ is describing the duty of a brother, not what the brother did to get out of his duty.
So, if one was to spill or waste their seed. Take a bath.
More to come.