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Meaning and etymology of the name Perez

Perez Perez

Perez is one of Judah's twin sons with Tamar, who was actually the wife of Judah's late son Er (Genesis 38:29). Judah manages to impregnate her while not realizing who she is (he thinks she is a prostitute). When she shows up pregnant, Judah wants to execute her, but clever Tamar made sure she could prove that Judah was the father. When Tamar gives birth to Perez and his brother Zerah, Zerah is on the way out first but Perez shoves him out of the way and becomes the first-born. Hence it is said of Perez, "What a breach you have made for yourself!" (Genesis 38:29). Since Perez, not Zerah, is the ancestor of Jesus Christ, many interpreters see a connection between Jacob and Esau, who also swapped the coveted predicate of being first-born (Genesis 25:30-34).

The name Perez comes from Perez (peres (1826a), breach, usually in walls (Isaiah 58:12, Amos 9:11). It comes from the root Perez (paras) meaning break (through, down, over), burst. This verb is used to mean breaching a wall (Isaiah 5:5), but also to break the stubbornness of people (Psalm 60:1). This verb may also be used to indicate a quantitative progression; a sudden increase in numbers, such as that of produce (Proverbs 3:10) or progeny (Genesis 28:14).

NOBS Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names agree: The name Perez means A Breach. Jones adds the eloquent Irruption.



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