Bath-Shua – Judah’s Canaanite wife

I don’t wish to refer to any woman as a “footnote” but there are some about whom we know considerably less.

Judah, the son of Leah and Jacob is noted to have had a wife – the daughter of Shua – a Canaanite woman (ie not from amongst his own family as his father and grandfather had found wives).  Judah had left his family and gone to a town called Adulla where he met his wife through a friend called Hirah.  The lists of descendants in 1 Chronicles refer to her as Bath-Shua the Canaanite woman.

They had three children – Er, Onan and Shelah.  Sadly she did not see her children grow up to be fine examples of manhood, both Er and Onan (sequentially married to Tamar) did not live a life in the favour of God and died prematurely. Her youngest son Shelah was still quite young and was promised to Tamar, but his father didn’t want that to happen.  Whatever opinion his mother had is not recorded, but she dies probably just as Shelah becomes of an age to marry, as we learn from the story of Judah, now a widower and Tamar. Interestingly Judah’s is accompanied on his visit to Tinnah by that same Hirah who was instrumental in finding for Judah his wife.

Poor BathShua – not even her own name is recorded – we have only the merest fleeting glimpse.

Woman of Canaan
Watanabe placed biblical subjects in a Japanese context rendered in the mingei (folk art) approach.
Copyright Permission: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License. I
Attribution: Watanabe, Sadao, 1913-1996. Woman of Canaan, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN . [
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