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Genesis 38

38
Judah and Tamar
1At that time, Judah left his brothers. He went down to stay with a man named Hirah from the town of Adullam. 2There Judah met the daughter of a man from Canaan. His name was Shua. Judah married her and slept with her. 3She became pregnant and had a son. They named him Er. 4She became pregnant again and had another son. She named him Onan. 5She had still another son. She named him Shelah. He was born at Kezib.
6Judah got a wife for his oldest son Er. Her name was Tamar. 7But Judah’s oldest son Er was evil in the Lord’s eyes. So the Lord put him to death.
8Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife. After all, you are her brother-in-law. So carry out your duty to her. Provide children for your brother.” 9But Onan knew that the children wouldn’t belong to him. So every time he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground. He did it so he wouldn’t provide children for his brother. 10What he did was evil in the Lord’s eyes. So the Lord put him to death also.
11Then Judah spoke to his daughter-in-law Tamar. He said, “Live as a widow in your father’s home. Wait there until my son Shelah grows up.” Judah was thinking, “Shelah might die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s home.
12After a long time Judah’s wife died. She was the daughter of Shua. When Judah got over his sadness, he went up to Timnah. His friend Hirah from Adullam went with him. Men were clipping the wool from Judah’s sheep at Timnah.
13Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to clip the wool from his sheep.” 14So she took off her widow’s clothes. She covered her face with a veil so people wouldn’t know who she was. Then she sat down at the entrance to Enaim. Enaim is on the road to Timnah. Tamar knew that Shelah had grown up. But she hadn’t been given to him as his wife.
15Judah saw her. He thought she was a prostitute because she had covered her face with a veil. 16He didn’t realize that she was his daughter-in-law. He went over to her by the side of the road. He said, “Come. Let me sleep with you.”
“What will you give me to sleep with you?” she asked.
17“I’ll send you a young goat from my flock,” he said.
“Will you give me something that belongs to you?” she asked. “I’ll keep it until you send the goat.”
18He said, “What should I give you?”
“Give me your official seal and the string that it hangs from,” she answered. “And give me your walking stick.” So he gave them to her. Then he slept with her. And she became pregnant by him. 19After she left, she took off her veil. She put on her widow’s clothes again.
20Judah sent his friend Hirah with the young goat he had promised. He wanted to get back what he had given to the woman. But his friend Hirah couldn’t find her. 21He asked the men who lived at Enaim, “Where’s the temple prostitute? She used to sit beside the road here.”
“There hasn’t been any temple prostitute here,” they said.
22So Hirah went back to Judah. He said, “I couldn’t find her. Besides, the men who lived there didn’t know anything about her. They said, ‘There hasn’t been any temple prostitute here.’ ”
23Then Judah said, “Let her keep what she has. I don’t want people making fun of us. After all, I did send her this young goat. We can’t help it if you couldn’t find her.”
24About three months later people brought word to Judah. They said, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of being a prostitute. Now she’s pregnant.”
Judah said, “Bring her out! Have her burned to death!”
25As Tamar was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. She said, “I am pregnant by the man who owns these.” She continued, “Do you recognize this seal and string and walking stick? Do you know who they belong to?”
26Judah recognized them. He said, “She’s a better person than I am. I should have given her to my son Shelah, but I didn’t.” Judah never slept with Tamar again.
27The time came for Tamar to have her baby. There were twin boys inside her. 28As the babies were being born, one of them stuck out his hand. So the woman helping Tamar took a bright red thread. The woman tied it on the baby’s wrist. She said, “This one came out first.” 29But he pulled his hand back, and his brother came out first instead. She said, “Just look at how you have forced your way out!” So he was called Perez. 30Then his brother, who had the red thread on his wrist, came out. So he was named Zerah.
38
Judah and Tamar
1Now at that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to [stay with] a certain Adullamite named Hirah. 2There Judah saw a daughter of Shua, a Canaanite, and he took her [as his wife] and lived with her. 3So she conceived and gave birth to a son and Judah named him Er. 4Then she conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. 5Again she conceived and gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Chezib that she gave birth to him.
6Now Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn; her name was Tamar. 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord killed him [in judgment]. 8Then Judah told Onan, “Go in to your brother’s widow, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law [under the levirate marriage custom]; [be her husband and] raise children for [the name of] your brother.” 9Onan knew that the child (heir) would not be his [but his dead brother’s]; so whenever he lay with his brother’s widow, he spilled his seed on the ground [to prevent conception], so that he would not give a child to his brother. 10But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord; therefore He killed him also [in judgment]. 11Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow at your father’s house until Shelah my [youngest] son is grown”; [but he was deceiving her] for he thought that [if Shelah should marry her] he too might die like his brothers did. So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.
12 # Lit The days multiplied and Judah’s wife.... But quite a while later, Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died; and when the time of mourning was ended, he went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah with his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13Tamar was told, “Listen, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she removed her widow’s clothes and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself up [in disguise], and sat in the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife [as Judah had promised]. 15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a [temple] prostitute, for she had covered her face [as such women did]. 16He turned to her by the road, and said, “Please come, let me lie with you”; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, “What will you give me, that you may lie with me?” 17He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” And she said, “Will you give me a pledge [as a deposit] until you send it?” 18He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She said, “Your seal and your cord, and the staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and was intimate with her, and she conceived by him. 19Then she got up and left, and removed her veil and put on her widow’s clothing.
20When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite, to get his pledge [back] from the woman, he was unable to find her. 21He asked the men of that place, “Where is the temple prostitute who was by the roadside at Enaim?” They said, “There was no prostitute here.” 22So he returned to Judah, and said, “I cannot find her; also the local men said, ‘There was no prostitute around here.’ ” 23Then Judah said, “Let her keep the things (pledge articles) for herself, otherwise we will be a laughingstock [searching everywhere for her]. After all, I sent this young goat, but you did not find her.”
24About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the [role of a] prostitute, and she is with child because of her immorality.” So Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned [to death as punishment]!” 25While she was being brought out, she [took the things Judah had given her and] sent [them along with a message] to her father-in-law, saying, “I am with child by the man to whom these articles belong.” And she added, “Please examine [them carefully] and see [clearly] to whom these things belong, the seal and the cord and staff.” 26Judah recognized the articles, and said, “She has been more righteous [in this matter] than I, because I did not give her to my son Shelah [as I had promised].” And Judah did not have [intimate] relations with her again.
27Now when the time came for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb. 28And when she was in labor, one [baby] put out his hand, and the midwife took his hand and tied a scarlet thread on it, saying, “This one was born first.” 29But he pulled back his hand, and his brother was born first. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself [to be the firstborn]!” So he was named Perez (breach, break forth). 30Afterward his brother who had the scarlet [thread] on his hand was born and was named Zerah (brightness).