Genesis 38:29 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 38:29, NIV: But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, 'So this is how you have broken out!' And he was named Perez.

Genesis 38:29, ESV: But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called Perez.

Genesis 38:29, KJV: And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.

Genesis 38:29, NASB: But it came about as he drew back his hand that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, 'What a breach you have made for yourself!' So he was named Perez.

Genesis 38:29, NLT: But then he pulled back his hand, and out came his brother! 'What!' the midwife exclaimed. 'How did you break out first?' So he was named Perez.

Genesis 38:29, CSB: But then he pulled his hand back, out came his brother, and she said, "What a breakout you have made for yourself! " So he was named Perez.

What does Genesis 38:29 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Tamar's twins are being born (Genesis 38:18, 24–26). As Genesis has made abundantly clear in the telling of Esau's and Jacob's story, birth order mattered a great deal in the ancient world. The oldest son will, by custom, hold both the birthright and the family blessing. Part of God's unique interaction with Israel was a constant disruption of this tradition (Genesis 25:23). In this case, one of the twins thrust out a hand before the other could emerge. Those familiar with childbirth would see this as a sign of an unusual, likely difficult labor.

A clever midwife tied a red thread around the wrist, indicating a firstborn son. Unexpectedly, however, the hand was drawn back, and the other baby was delivered first. In response, the midwife addresses the baby's remarkable breach. This leads to the boy—technically considered the younger twin—being named Perez, which means "break through."