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Genesis 38

38
Judah and Tamar
1At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. 2There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and made love to her; 3she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. 4She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. 5She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him.
6Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death.
8Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfil your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.’ 9But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to avoid providing offspring for his brother. 10What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.
11Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, ‘Live as a widow in your father’s household until my son Shelah grows up.’ For he thought, ‘He may die too, just like his brothers.’ So Tamar went to live in her father’s household.
12After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing his sheep, and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went with him.
13When Tamar was told, ‘Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,’ 14she took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.
15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16Not realising that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, ‘Come now, let me sleep with you.’
‘And 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 as a pledge until you send it?’ she asked.
18He said, ‘What pledge should I give you?’
‘Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand,’ she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes again.
20Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her. 21He asked the men who lived there, ‘Where is the shrine-prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?’
‘There hasn’t been any shrine-prostitute here,’ they said.
22So he went back to Judah and said, ‘I didn’t find her. Besides, the men who lived there said, “There hasn’t been any shrine-prostitute here.” ’
23Then Judah said, ‘Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughing-stock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn’t find her.’
24About three months later Judah was told, ‘Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.’
Judah said, ‘Bring her out and let her be burned to death!’
25As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. ‘I am pregnant by the man who owns these,’ she said. And she added, ‘See if you recognise whose seal and cord and staff these are.’
26Judah recognised them and said, ‘She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.’ And he did not sleep with her again.
27When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, ‘This one came out first.’ 29But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, ‘So this is how you have broken out!’ And he was named Perez.#38:29 Perez means breaking out. 30Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.#38:30 Zerah can mean scarlet or brightness.
38
Judah and Tamar
1About that time, Judah left his brothers and went to stay with a man named Hirah in the town of Adullam. 2There Judah met a Canaanite girl, the daughter of a man named Shua, and married her. Judah had sexual relations with her, 3and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, whom Judah named Er. 4Later she gave birth to another son and named him Onan. 5Still later she had another son and named him Shelah. She was at Kezib when this third son was born.
6Judah chose a girl named Tamar to be the wife of his first son Er. 7But Er, Judah’s oldest son, did what the Lord said was evil, so the Lord killed him. 8Then Judah said to Er’s brother Onan, “Go and have sexual relations with your dead brother’s wife. It is your duty to provide children for your brother in this way.”
9But Onan knew that the children would not belong to him, so when he was supposed to have sexual relations with Tamar he did not complete the sex act. This made it impossible for Tamar to become pregnant and for Er to have descendants. 10The Lord was displeased by this wicked thing Onan had done, so the Lord killed Onan also. 11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Go back to live in your father’s house, and don’t marry until my young son Shelah grows up.” Judah was afraid that Shelah also would die like his brothers. So Tamar returned to her father’s home.
12After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah had gotten over his sorrow, he went to Timnah to his men who were cutting the wool from his sheep. His friend Hirah from Adullam went with him. 13Tamar learned that Judah, her father-in-law, was going to Timnah to cut the wool from his sheep. 14So she took off the clothes that showed she was a widow and covered her face with a veil to hide who she was. Then she sat down by the gate of Enaim on the road to Timnah. She did this because Judah’s younger son Shelah had grown up, but Judah had not made plans for her to marry him.
15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, because she had covered her face with a veil. 16So Judah went to her and said, “Let me have sexual relations with you.” He did not know that she was Tamar, his daughter-in-law.
She asked, “What will you give me if I let you have sexual relations with me?”
17Judah answered, “I will send you a young goat from my flock.”
She answered, “First give me something to keep as a deposit until you send the goat.”
18Judah asked, “What do you want me to give you as a deposit?”
Tamar answered, “Give me your seal and its cord, and give me your walking stick.” So Judah gave these things to her. Then Judah and Tamar had sexual relations, and Tamar became pregnant. 19When Tamar went home, she took off the veil that covered her face and put on the clothes that showed she was a widow.
20Judah sent his friend Hirah with the young goat to find the woman and get back his seal and the walking stick he had given her, but Hirah could not find her. 21He asked some of the people at the town of Enaim, “Where is the prostitute who was here by the road?”
They answered, “There has never been a prostitute here.”
22So he went back to Judah and said, “I could not find the woman, and the people who lived there said, ‘There has never been a prostitute here.’ ”
23Judah said, “Let her keep the things. I don’t want people to laugh at us. I sent her the goat as I promised, but you could not find her.”
24About three months later someone told Judah, “Tamar, your daughter-in-law, is guilty of acting like a prostitute, and now she is pregnant.”
Then Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned to death.”
25When the people went to bring Tamar out, she sent a message to her father-in-law that said, “The man who owns these things has made me pregnant. Look at this seal and its cord and this walking stick, and tell me whose they are.”
26Judah recognized them and said, “She is more in the right than I. She did this because I did not give her to my son Shelah as I promised.” And Judah did not have sexual relations with her again.
27When the time came for Tamar to give birth, there were twins in her body. 28While she was giving birth, one baby put his hand out. The nurse tied a red string on his hand and said, “This baby came out first.” 29But he pulled his hand back in, so the other baby was born first. The nurse said, “So you are able to break out first,” and they named him Perez. 30After this, the baby with the red string on his hand was born, and they named him Zerah.