Genesis 38:28 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 38:28, NIV: As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, 'This one came out first.'

Genesis 38:28, ESV: And when she was in labor, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.”

Genesis 38:28, KJV: And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.

Genesis 38:28, NASB: Moreover, it took place while she was giving birth, that one baby put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, 'This one came out first.'

Genesis 38:28, NLT: While she was in labor, one of the babies reached out his hand. The midwife grabbed it and tied a scarlet string around the child's wrist, announcing, 'This one came out first.'

Genesis 38:28, CSB: As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand, and the midwife took it and tied a scarlet thread around it, announcing, "This one came out first."

What does Genesis 38:28 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In an era where birth order was all important, a quick-thinking midwife ties a red thread around the tiny wrist that first emerges during Tamar's delivery (Genesis 38:27). Had she not done so, they never would have known which of the twins was technically the first to arrive.

As with their ancestors Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:23–26), these twins will be born in odd circumstances and an innate rivalry. The younger (Genesis 38:29) will be the one to carry on the family legacy, while the older does not.