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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
1 AT THAT time Judah withdrew from his brothers and went to [lodge with] a certain Adullamite named Hirah.
2 There Judah saw and met a daughter of Shuah, a Canaanite; he took her as wife and lived with her.
3 And she became pregnant and bore a son, and he called him Er.
4 And she conceived again and bore a son and named him Onan.
5 Again she conceived and bore a son and named him Shelah. [They were living] at Chezib when she bore him.
6 Now Judah took a wife for Er, his firstborn; her name was Tamar.
7 And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord slew him.
8 Then Judah told Onan, Marry your brother's widow; live with her and raise offspring for your brother.
9 But Onan knew that the family would not be his, so when he cohabited with his brother's widow, he prevented conception, lest he should raise up a child for his brother.
10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore He slew him also.
11 Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, Remain a widow at your father's house till Shelah my [youngest] son is grown; for he thought, Lest perhaps [if Shelah should marry her] he would die also, as his brothers did. So Tamar went and lived in her father's house.
12 But later Judah's wife, the daughter of Shuah, died; and when Judah was comforted, he went up to his sheepshearers at Timnath with his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
13 Then it was told Tamar, Listen, your father-in-law is going up to Timnath to shear his sheep.
14 So she put off her widow's garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapped herself up [in disguise], and sat in the entrance of Enaim, which is by the road to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown and she was not given to him as his wife.
15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot or devoted prostitute [under a vow to her goddess], for she had covered her face [as such women did].
16 He turned to her by the road and said, Come, let me have intercourse 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 have intercourse with me?
17 He answered, I will send you a kid from the flock. And she said, Will you give me a pledge (deposit) until you send it?
18 And he said, What pledge shall I give you? She said, Your signet [seal], your [signet] cord, and your staff that is in your hand. And he gave them to her and came in to her, and she became pregnant by him.
19 And she arose and went away and laid aside her veil and put on the garments of her widowhood.
20 And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman's hand; but he was unable to find her.
21 He asked the men of that place, Where is the harlot or cult prostitute who was openly by the roadside? They said, There was no harlot or temple prostitute here.
22 So he returned to Judah and said, I cannot find her; and also the local men said, There was no harlot or temple prostitute around here.
23 And Judah said, Let her keep [the pledge articles] for herself, lest we be made ashamed. I sent this kid, but you have not found her.
24 But about three months later Judah was told, Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the harlot, and also she is with child by her lewdness. And Judah said, Bring her forth and let her be burned!
25 When she was brought forth, she [took the things he had given her in pledge and] sent [them] to her father-in-law, saying, I am with child by the man to whom these articles belong. Then she added, Make out clearly, I pray you, to whom these belong, the signet [seal], [signet] cord, and staff.
26 And Judah acknowledged them and said, She has been more righteous and just than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son. And he did not cohabit with her again.
27 Now when the time came for her to be delivered, behold, there were twins in her womb.
28 And when she was in labor, one baby put out his hand; and the midwife took his hand and bound upon it a scarlet thread, saying, This baby was born first.
29 But he drew back his hand, and behold, his brother was born first. And she said, What a breaking forth you have made for yourself! Therefore his name was called Perez [breaking forth]. [Matt. 1:3.]
30 And afterward his brother who had the scarlet thread on his hand was born and was named Zerah [scarlet].