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Pharez and Zara (Ge.38:11-30)

 

Birth of Judah’s sons from Tamar is very similar, superficially at least, to the birth of Jacob and Esau. Pharez did not catch the heel as Jacob did but having put forth hand withdraws as quickly as he put it out. Not before the midwife could tie a scarlet thread to his wrist. His brother Zara came forth followed by Pharez with the scarlet thread still on his wrist. Instead of heel catching Jacob we have in Pharez as a symbol for the nation of Israel, which started out as the heir of promise but their history showed the truth: in their falling off the gentiles symbolized by Zara shall fill in the breach.

In short one narrates the progression of the seed of Abraham and the other foretelling the rejection of Israel. Two variable speeds: God’s Plan and its fulfilment by the Son.

Narrative of the patriarchs runs parallel with its symbolism predictive of the coming of Messiah. For example Joseph is the forerunner of Jesus. The number of 12 is common for the patriarchs and the disciples. It also echoes as a memorial in heaven. Twelve refers to God’s ministry in heaven as well as on the earth. We have 24 elders of whom Apostle John refers thus: ‘The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne (Re.4:10)’. Disciples of Jesus were 12 in number as many as patriarchs were.

Benny

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