38:7 Tamar - "palm tree", i.e. "graceful". Bathshua was apparently
instilling Caananite culture in Judah's sons. The very reason why
Israel was commanded to remain separate. But then Jacob had laid the
groundwork by taking his family to Shechem instead of going to Bethel
as God told him. Having recognized his own mistake in insisting on
choosing his own wife, Judah doesn't give Er that courtesy. The
marriage arrangement was no doubt of mutual benefit to the two families
- but it is a disaster for Tamar. However, God chose Tamar to be the
line of Christ.
No details are given of Er's sin, but he shattered any girlhood
hopes of Tamar. While God has personally killed groups of people,
Er is the first individual that God personally kills.