Friday, December 23, 2005

parshat Vayeishev: The Chronology of Yehuda's Marriage

Yaakov's children try to console him, and Yosef descends to Egypt {Bereishit 37:35-36}:
לה וַיָּקֻמוּ כָל-בָּנָיו וְכָל-בְּנֹתָיו לְנַחֲמוֹ, וַיְמָאֵן לְהִתְנַחֵם, וַיֹּאמֶר, כִּי-אֵרֵד אֶל-בְּנִי אָבֵל שְׁאֹלָה; וַיֵּבְךְּ אֹתוֹ, אָבִיו. 35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said: 'Nay, but I will go down to the grave to my son mourning.' And his father wept for him.
לו וְהַמְּדָנִים--מָכְרוּ אֹתוֹ, אֶל-מִצְרָיִם: לְפוֹטִיפַר סְרִיס פַּרְעֹה, שַׂר הַטַּבָּחִים.
36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, the captain of the guard.
The very next pesukim {Bereishit 38:1-2}
א וַיְהִי בָּעֵת הַהִוא, וַיֵּרֶד יְהוּדָה מֵאֵת אֶחָיו; וַיֵּט עַד-אִישׁ עֲדֻלָּמִי, וּשְׁמוֹ חִירָה. 1 And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.
ב וַיַּרְא-שָׁם יְהוּדָה בַּת-אִישׁ כְּנַעֲנִי, וּשְׁמוֹ שׁוּעַ; וַיִּקָּחֶהָ, וַיָּבֹא אֵלֶיהָ. 2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua; and he took her, and went in unto her.
When did this marriage take place? One might take the juxtaposition {=smichut}, combined with the words וַיְהִי בָּעֵת הַהִוא to be that immediately thereafter, this happened. Or perhaps at the same time this consolation was happening.

As I demonstrate in a post on parshat VaEtchachanan, the words בָּעֵת הַהִוא are not used to indicate that something follows chronologically, but rather that this happened at the same time thereabout as the previously described events. I would suggest that it is possible that Yehuda married well before Yosef was sold, but the entirety of the events of Yehuda's marriage, death of his sons, and sleeping with Tamar spans the same time (plus possibly before and after) as the events just described regarding Yosef.

This is related to the chronology attempts I make in this post, trying to figure out how old each of Yehuda's sons must be when they marry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I discussed this issue briefly here -


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