The story concerns Judah and his children Er, Onan, and Shelah. Er, the eldest son, had taken Tamar to wife. Before Tamar could bear him a son, Er was slain by God because of his wickedness. The Scriptures do not tell us what Er did, but that he ‘was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.’
Some claim the firstborn, who here was Er, would receive two-thirds of the inheritance (which would have the siblings share the other third), whereas others claim they would be given a double portion over the other siblings. They were usually considered ‘the first of the strength’ of the father. Let it suffice to say that the first male child was held in the highest regard.
‘Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.’
Apparently, here at verse 9 is where the commenter has his problem with God and Scripture. Was Onan really slain because ‘he spilled it on the ground’ or was there something more? Onan directly rebelled against the voice of his father, for Onan knew if Tamar bore a son he would be heir to his brother Er and not himself. This assumingly would move the child into the greater inheritance being counted as the son of Er the firstborn, where Onan would then remain under him.
The judgment upon Onan deals more with his deceit and rebellion than the physical act in the account. He pretended to obey his father by going into his brother’s wife to bare his brother seed, yet did it not. As with all sin, it is a heart matter before it portrays itself in a physical action.
Though many would like to gloat over the mentioning of unsightly things recorded in the Scriptures, the inclusion of such within the Bible is to be an example for all of us as to the depravity of man and the repercussions of sin. ‘For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’
Note: If any reader wishes to comment, please ensure the proper etiquette if you wish for your remarks to be posted. You do not have to agree, but they must be made in good taste and minus vulgarity.