Genesis 38:28, Zarah Wins by a Hand … but Loses!

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.

//Here’s a curious and obscure Bible story for you. Remember Tamar, who pretended to be a prostitute so that she could be impregnated by Judah, her father in law? Tamar wound up birthing twins in this odd story.

In Bible days, the firstborn was awarded special status and privileges. The first twin to break into the world, then, would be quite fortunate. So, imagine the struggle going on inside Tamar’s womb to cross the finish line first.

During the birth, the first twin (Zarah) stuck his hand out of the womb and Tamar’s midwife tied a scarlet thread around it to indicate the firstborn. But then the other twin (Pharez), determined to be first, fought his way to the forefront and came out first. The midwife was astonished, and Zarah was stripped of the “firstborn” title, which was given to Pharez.

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