Tuesday, June 23, 2020

A Tale of Two Prophecies

And Three Statutes

And Five Hidden Messages

And One Monarchy

First the prophecies.

Prophecy #1
Gen 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Prophecy #2
Ruth 4:12 Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the Lord will give you by this young woman. 

Prophecy #2 sounds more like a wedding toast, which is the spirit in which it was delivered.  Someone said this to Boaz when he had just purchased (yes purchased) Ruth for his wife. Since Boaz was descended from Perez, it makes sense as a toast or a prophecy. If the speaker understood Prophecy #1, it could be interpreted as wishing Boaz and Ruth to have royal offspring, which they did in the dynasty of King David.

Judah, the fourth son of Jacob is mentioned in both verses. The scepter in Gen 49 refers to royalty  - Wikipedia(Sceptre) [1]. On the surface, it seems like the two prophecies are saying that Judah and Tamar's descendants will be kings (through Boaz) until you find out that Tamar was Judah's daughter in law, a scandal.

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.


Why did Judah and Tamar have children? Enter the law of Levirate marriage (nothing to do with the Levitical priesthood). If a man dies childless, his brother marries the widow to father a child so the dead man's name is not forgotten.

Statute #1
Deut 25:5 When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6 It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.
This was written long after Judah, but it was already the custom in Judah's time. Tamar married Judah's first son Er, who died. Then she married the second son Onan, who wouldn't father a son because that son would inherit the double portion due to the eldest son instead of him, so God took his life. Judah had one more son named Shelah, but he was too young to marry yet, and Judah was afraid somehow Shelah would die too. When Shelah was grown, Tamar was not given to him as a wife. Sooo, she hatched her own plan. She posed as a harlot to entrap Judah and had twin boys, Perez and Zerah. There are lots more interesting details to the story which is told in Gen 38.

Which brings us back to the second prophesy spoken to Boaz. The book of Ruth is not just to give the genealogy of David, that only takes the last five short verses. One of the lessons is the example of a kinsman redeemer, which serves as a type for Jesus Christ. As Boaz redeemed Naomi and Ruth, and Naomi's land, So Christ has redeemed mankind.

Statute #2
Lev 25:23 The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. 24 Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land.  25 If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold.
With this statute (and the Jubilee year), you cannot permanently lose your land. EVER. There is a provision for redeeming it if one falls on hard times. Mankind has a bond with land, probably because we are made from the dust of the ground. The land is permanent, and most people have a desire to own a piece of it.

There is a technicality here. Boaz is not a brother to Mahlon and is not obligated by Dt 25 to marry Ruth, and redeeming land as described in Lev 25 doesn’t require marrying the kinsman’s widow - IsraelMyGlory [2]. However, both Naomi and Boaz do refer to Levirate marriage to raise up a son for the deceased. And everyone in the story had the expectation that marrying Ruth was part of redeeming the land. So the word “brother” in Dt 25 may have been expanded to include nearest kinsman.

The phrase "kinsman redeemer" only occurs in some translations of the book of Ruth. Some translations use relative, or close relative, or simply kinsman or redeemer. Adding kinsman to redeemer conveys an important piece of information. Not just anyone could redeem the person in distress, it had to be family. This is a type of Jesus coming in the flesh to be a family member to all mankind. He is our Redeemer, AND a kinsman. It is not just used in the book of Ruth - the Lord repeatedly calls Himself the Redeemer of Jacob aka Israel, see Isaiah 41, 44, etc, but it's the same word as in Ruth (goel). In fact, the word goel is used about 100 times in the Old Testament. The New Testament expands the redemption beyond Israel to all mankind. The goel pictures the whole Gospel message.

Tit_2:14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

AbideInChrist.com [3] lists four requirements of a goel, see how Jesus fulfills every one.

  • He must be near of kin.
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
  • He must be able to redeem, ie not need redemption himself.
Being the Son of God and living a sinless life qualified Jesus to redeem.
Rev_5:9  And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
  • He must be willing to redeem.
John 10: 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. 
  • Redemption was completed when the price was completely paid. 
He paid the penalty of our sins with His own blood.

Statute #3

Dt 23:2 No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the LORD.

Again this was written well after Judah and Tamar lived, but apparently it applies. Certainly some commentators think it applies to Perez and Zerah, for example Superior Word [4]. The interesting thing is that King David IS the tenth generation from Judah. The word translated as "No one of illegitimate birth" is mamzer, and is male. Apparently females were exempt from this restriction. Aaron, the first High Priest, married Elisheba daughter of Amminadab, three generations from Perez.

Ruth 4:18 Now these are the generations of Perez: to Perez was born Hezron, 19 and to Hezron was born Ram, and to Ram, Amminadab, 20 and to Amminadab was born Nahshon, and to Nahshon, Salmon, 21 and to Salmon was born Boaz, and to Boaz, Obed, 22 and to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David.
Exo_6:23  And Aaron took him Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Naashon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

But Wait, There's Five Hidden Messages

There is the obvious link connecting the stories of Judah and Tamar (Gen 38) with Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 1-4) in that Boaz is a descendant of Judah through Tamar's son Perez. There is another non-obvious link in that the descendants from Boaz to David are encoded in five hidden messages in Gen 38 itself.

You may have heard of Bible codes - words, names, dates and places hidden in the text. Bible codes are interesting yet controversial. The books of Moses (Genesis included) were written at least three generations before Ruth - GotQuestions [5], Chronology Of Ruth [6], yet the names Boaz, Ruth, Obed, Jesse, and David are embedded in the text of Gen 38. All five of these names are short so one would expect one or even two to show up in a large enough text like a chapter, but not five in one chapter, and in the very chapter that speaks of Judah's descendants. Not only that, they appear in chronological order.

How do these Bible codes work? The technique used here is called Equidistant Letter Sequence (ELS). The text is examined by computer (or by hand) skipping letters by a fixed amount - spaces are always skipped. In this case, the spacing is 49 letters apart for all five names. ELS works best in a language like Hebrew written without vowels.

As I said, Bible Codes ARE controversial. An Internet search will turn up plenty of hits, both for and against them.  Bible codes gained attention in the 1994 with the publication of a paper called "Equidistant letter sequences in the Book of Genesis" [7] by Doron Witztum, Eliyahu Rips, and Yoav Rosenberg (WRR). Bible codes were then popularized by  Michael Drosnin's book "The Bible Code" [8] in 1998. However, the ELS idea did not originate with the computer age, though computers make it much easier to do the tedious work. Written references to hidden ELS messages date to the 13th century - Wikipedia(Bible_Codes) [9]. The claim is that these are not just coincidence, for a mathematical discussion of this, see ELS In Genesis [10]. Professor Barry Simon published a rebuttal of Witztum, Rips, & Rosenberg, "The Case Against the Codes" [11]. Do your own research, draw your own conclusions. If you don't believe God wrote the Bible, Bible codes won't convince you. If you do believe it, it will reinforce your faith. I think there are messages encoded, like the example of Gen 38, but the WRR paper and Drosnin's book (which I have not read) try to make too much out of Bible codes.

I find these points to be a more balanced view of ELS, from God On The Net [12].

Bible codes can not be used to tell the future*.
Bible codes do not contain new teachings.
Christian beliefs are not based on the bible codes.
There are no Bible Codes in the Apocrypha.
There are no Bible Codes in the New Testament**.
All Bible codes can be confirmed manually with an English-Hebrew Interlinear Bible, or the Internet.

* Ironically, Bible Codes appear to all be prophetic, but only make sense after the fact.
** A few codes have been found in the Greek, but not statistically significant. Researchers have shifted their focus to the Aramaic New Testament - Greek Bible Code [13].

The late evangelist Chuck Missler [14] was convinced of ELS, he wrote a book on it called Cosmic Codes [15], I'll give him the last word.
One of the reasons that the sordid tale of Judah and Tamar has been included in the Scriptures is because this incident is included in the family tree of the Messiah. It is interesting that hidden within the text of Genesis 38, at 49-letter intervals, are the names of Boaz, Ruth, Obed, Jesse, and David-in chronological order! [See figure] ; note that Hebrew goes from right to left, and the names are coded backwards.) - Koinonia House [16].


1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sceptre
2. https://israelmyglory.org/article/ruth-and-boaz-the-story-of-the-kinsman-redeemer
3. http://www.abideinchrist.com/messages/lev25v25.html
4. http://superiorword.org/ruth-4-18-22-perez-to-david-from-the-breaker-to-the-beloved/
5. https://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Deuteronomy.html
6. https://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-timeline-date-chronology-of-ruth-1300bc.htm
7. https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ss/1177010393
8. https://www.amazon.com/Bible-Code-Michael-Drosnin/dp/0684849739
9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_code
10. https://www.math.toronto.edu/drorbn/Codes/Nations/WRR2/index.html
11. http://torahcode.us/torah_codes/code_history/TheCase.htm
12. https://www.godonthe.net/evidence/codes.htm
13. http://ad2004.com/Biblecodes/Greekmatrix/Grkmatrix.html
14. http://www.chuckmissler.com/
15. https://store.khouse.org/products/cosmic-codes-book16. https://www.khouse.org/articles/2004/522/print