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Genesis 38

38
Judah and Tamar
1It came to pass at that time that Judah departed from his brothers, and #2 Kin. 4:8visited a certain Adullamite whose name was Hirah. 2And Judah #Gen. 34:2saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was #1 Chr. 2:3Shua, and he married her and went in to her. 3So she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name #Gen. 46:12; Num. 26:19Er. 4She conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name #Gen. 46:12; Num. 26:19Onan. 5And she conceived yet again and bore a son, and called his name #Num. 26:20Shelah. He was at Chezib when she bore him.
6Then Judah #Gen. 21:21took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was #Ruth 4:12Tamar. 7But #Gen. 46:12; Num. 26:19Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, #1 Chr. 2:3and the Lord killed him. 8And Judah said to Onan, “Go in to #Deut. 25:5, 6; Matt. 22:24your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.” 9But Onan knew that the heir would not be #Deut. 25:6his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother. 10And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore He killed #Gen. 46:12; Num. 26:19him also.
11Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, #Ruth 1:12, 13“Remain a widow in your father’s house till my son Shelah is grown.” For he said, “Lest he also die like his brothers.” And Tamar went and dwelt #Lev. 22:13in her father’s house.
12Now in the process of time the daughter of Shua, Judah’s wife, died; and Judah #2 Sam. 13:39was comforted, and went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13And it was told Tamar, saying, “Look, your father-in-law is going up #Josh. 15:10, 57; Judg. 14:1to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she took off her widow’s garments, covered herself with a veil and wrapped herself, and #Prov. 7:12sat in an open place which was on the way to Timnah; for she saw #Gen. 38:11, 26that Shelah was grown, and she was not given to him as a wife. 15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, because she had covered her face. 16Then he turned to her by the way, and said, “Please let me come in to you”; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.
So she said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?”
17And he said, #Judg. 15:1; Ezek. 16:33“I will send a young goat from the flock.”
So she said, #Gen. 38:20“Will you give me a pledge till you send it?
18Then he said, “What pledge shall I give you?”
So she said, #Gen. 38:25; 41:42“Your signet and cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” Then he gave them to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19So she arose and went away, and #Gen. 38:14laid aside her veil and put on the garments of her widowhood.
20And Judah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand, but he did not find her. 21Then he asked the men of that place, saying, “Where is the harlot who was openly by the roadside?”
And they said, “There was no harlot in this place.
22So he returned to Judah and said, “I cannot find her. Also, the men of the place said there was no harlot in this place.
23Then Judah said, “Let her take them for herself, lest we be shamed; for I sent this young goat and you have not found her.”
24And it came to pass, about three months after, that Judah was told, saying, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has #Judg. 19:2played the harlot; furthermore she is with child by harlotry.”
So Judah said, “Bring her out #Lev. 20:14; 21:9; Deut. 22:21and let her be burned!”
25When she was brought out, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, “By the man to whom these belong, I am with child.” And she said, #Gen. 37:32; 38:18“Please determine whose these are—the signet and cord, and staff.”
26So Judah #Gen. 37:33acknowledged them and said, #1 Sam. 24:17“She has been more righteous than I, because #Gen. 38:14I did not give her to Shelah my son.” And he #Job 34:31, 32never knew her again.
27Now it came to pass, at the time for giving birth, that behold, twins were in her womb. 28And so it was, when she was giving birth, that the one put out his hand; and the midwife took a scarlet thread and bound it on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29Then it happened, as he drew back his hand, that his brother came out unexpectedly; and she said, “How did you break through? This breach be upon you!” Therefore his name was called #Gen. 46:12; Num. 26:20; Ruth 4:12; 1 Chr. 2:4; Matt. 1:3Perez. 30Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand. And his name was called #Gen. 46:12; 1 Chr. 2:4; Matt. 1:3Zerah.
38
1-5About that time, Judah separated from his brothers and hooked up with a man in Adullam named Hirah. While there, Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua. He married her, they went to bed, she became pregnant and had a son named Er. She got pregnant again and had a son named Onan. She had still another son; she named this one Shelah. They were living at Kezib when she had him.
6-7Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn. Her name was Tamar. But Judah’s firstborn, Er, grievously offended God and God took his life.
8-10So Judah told Onan, “Go and sleep with your brother’s widow; it’s the duty of a brother-in-law to keep your brother’s line alive.” But Onan knew that the child wouldn’t be his, so whenever he slept with his brother’s widow he spilled his semen on the ground so he wouldn’t produce a child for his brother. God was much offended by what he did and also took his life.
11So Judah stepped in and told his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow at home with your father until my son Shelah grows up.” He was worried that Shelah would also end up dead, just like his brothers. So Tamar went to live with her father.
12Time passed. Judah’s wife, Shua’s daughter, died. When the time of mourning was over, Judah with his friend Hirah of Adullam went to Timnah for the sheep shearing.
13-14Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law has gone to Timnah to shear his sheep.” She took off her widow’s clothes, put on a veil to disguise herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim which is on the road to Timnah. She realized by now that even though Shelah was grown up, she wasn’t going to be married to him.
15Judah saw her and assumed she was a prostitute since she had veiled her face. He left the road and went over to her. He said, “Let me sleep with you.” He had no idea that she was his daughter-in-law.
16She said, “What will you pay me?”
17“I’ll send you,” he said, “a kid goat from the flock.”
She said, “Not unless you give me a pledge until you send it.”
18“So what would you want in the way of a pledge?”
She said, “Your personal seal-and-cord and the staff you carry.”
He handed them over to her and slept with her. And she got pregnant.
19She then left and went home. She removed her veil and put her widow’s clothes back on.
20-21Judah sent the kid goat by his friend from Adullam to recover the pledge from the woman. But he couldn’t find her. He asked the men of that place, “Where’s the prostitute that used to sit by the road here near Enaim?”
They said, “There’s never been a prostitute here.”
22He went back to Judah and said, “I couldn’t find her. The men there said there never has been a prostitute there.”
23Judah said, “Let her have it then. If we keep looking, everyone will be poking fun at us. I kept my part of the bargain—I sent the kid goat but you couldn’t find her.”
24Three months or so later, Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law has been playing the whore—and now she’s a pregnant whore.”
Judah yelled, “Get her out here. Burn her up!”
25As they brought her out, she sent a message to her father-in-law, “I’m pregnant by the man who owns these things. Identify them, please. Who’s the owner of the seal-and-cord and the staff?”
26Judah saw they were his. He said, “She’s in the right; I’m in the wrong—I wouldn’t let her marry my son Shelah.” He never slept with her again.
27-30When her time came to give birth, it turned out that there were twins in her womb. As she was giving birth, one put his hand out; the midwife tied a red thread on his hand, saying, “This one came first.” But then he pulled it back and his brother came out. She said, “Oh! A breakout!” So she named him Perez (Breakout). Then his brother came out with the red thread on his hand. They named him Zerah (Bright).