Most Christians are aware of the twelve sons of Jacob. These sons became the patriarchal leaders of the “twelve tribes” or families of Israel. Israel is another name for Jacob, who was renamed Israel by the Lord.
After the Great Flood, we are given a listing of the nations of the earth in Genesis chapter ten. This chapter is known as the Table of Nations. There are seventy nations listed in this chapter. From these nations all the peoples of the earth are descended.
I have learned that every fact given in the Bible has a purpose. There is nothing that was added just for additional content. When the Children of Israel (the twelve families descended from Jacob) were delivered from slavery in Egypt, one of the first places they camped on their journey to Mount Sinai was Elim. This name means “palm trees” or “a grove. (Strong’s H362) This oasis is described as having twelve springs and seventy palm trees. (Exodus 15:27)
You can immediately see the significant numbers of twelve and seventy. I say that facetiously, because it had to be pointed out to me by a Christian Brother. I was familiar with the oasis with twelve springs and seventy palm trees, but I never made the connection.
The twelve springs are symbolic of the Children of Israel, and the seventy palms are symbolic of the seventy nations. Here we are shown the people chosen by the Lord and then the rest of mankind.
In the unusual story of Tamar and Judah in Genesis chapter thirty-eight, Tamar met Judah in a place named Enayim. The King James Version does not give us the specific name, but rather describes it as an “open place.” But the name is in the original Hebrew. It means “double springs.” (Strong’s H5879) When you consider the fact that Tamar means “palm-tree” (Strong’s H8559) it adds a possible Gentile connection to the story.
First, the meaning of Elim (palm trees) strongly suggests that Tamar (palm-tree) was from a Gentile nation. She was included in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 1:1-11) which contains at least two other Gentile women.
The oasis at Elim suggests that springs are representative of the chosen people of the Lord. The event at Enayim (double springs) resulted in Tamar giving birth to twins. This almost could be described as a prophetic pun inserted into Scripture by the Lord. Never doubt the omnipotent Lord’s ability to insert hidden words and facts into His Holy Word for us to uncover. Remember also that every fact given in the Bible is there for a reason.
Our Lord’s ways are as far above us as are the heavens. (Isaiah 55:9) He knows the end from the beginning! (Isaiah 46:10) What a mighty God we serve! Praise Him always!