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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
1At that time Judah left his brothers and settled near an Adullamite#Jos 15:35; 1Sm 22:1 named Hirah. 2There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua; he took her as a wife and slept with her. 3She conceived and gave birth to a son, and he named him Er.#Gn 46:12; Nm 26:19 4She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and named him Onan. 5She gave birth to another son and named him Shelah. It was at Chezib that#38:5 LXX reads She was at Chezib when#38:5 Or He was at Chezib when she gave birth to him.
6Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7Now Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the Lord’s sight, and the Lord put him to death.#1Ch 2:3 8Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife. Perform your duty as her brother-in-law#Dt 25:5–10 and produce offspring for your brother.”#Mt 22:24 9But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his, so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he released his semen on the ground so that he would not produce offspring for his brother. 10What he did was evil in the Lord’s sight, so he put him to death also.
11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up.”#Ru 1:12–13 For he thought, “He might die too, like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.
12After a long time#38:12 Lit And there were many days, and Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had finished mourning, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went up to Timnah#Jos 15:10,57 to his sheepshearers. 13Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she took off her widow’s clothes, veiled her face,#Gn 24:65 covered herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had grown up, she had not been given to him as a wife. 15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.
16He went over to her and said, “Come, let me sleep with you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.#Lv 18:15
She said, “What will you give me for sleeping with me?”
17“I will send you a young goat from my flock,” he replied.
But she said, “Only if you leave something with me until you send it.”
18“What should I give you?” he asked.
She answered, “Your signet ring, your cord, and the staff in your hand.” So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19She got up and left, then removed her veil and put her widow’s clothes back on.
20When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get back the items he had left with the woman, he could not find her. 21He asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?”
“There has been no cult prostitute here,” they answered.
22So the Adullamite returned to Judah, saying, “I couldn’t find her, and besides, the men of the place said, ‘There has been no cult prostitute here.’”
23Judah replied, “Let her keep the items for herself; otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send this young goat, but you couldn’t find her.”
24About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law, Tamar, has been acting like a prostitute, and now she is pregnant.”
“Bring her out,” Judah said, “and let her be burned to death!” #Lv 20:14
25As she was being brought out, she sent her father-in-law this message: “I am pregnant by the man to whom these items belong.” And she added, “Examine them. Whose signet ring, cord, and staff are these?”
26Judah recognized them and said, “She is more in the right#38:26 Or more righteous than I,#1Sm 24:17 since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her intimately again.
27When the time came for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb. 28As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand, and the midwife took it and tied a scarlet thread around it, announcing, “This one came out first.” 29But then he pulled his hand back, out came his brother, and she said, “What a breakout you have made for yourself!” So he was named Perez.#38:29 = Breaking Out#Gn 46:12; Nm 26:20; 1Ch 2:4; Mt 1:3 30Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread tied to his hand, came out, and was named Zerah.#38:30 = Brightness of Sunrise; perhaps related to the scarlet thread