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Genesis 38

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1At that time, Judah went down from his brothers, and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2There, Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite man named Shua. He took her, and went in to her. 3She conceived, and bore a son; and he named him Er. 4She conceived again, and bore a son; and she named him Onan. 5She yet again bore a son, and named him Shelah. He was at Chezib when she bore him. 6Judah took a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight. So the Lord killed him. 8Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” 9Onan knew that the offspring wouldn’t be his; and when he went in to his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. 10The thing which he did was evil in the Lord’s sight, and he killed him also. 11Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house, until Shelah, my son, is grown up;” for he said, “Lest he also die, like his brothers.” Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.
12After many days, Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died. Judah was comforted, and went up to his sheep shearers to Timnah, he and his friend Hirah, the Adullamite. 13Tamar was told, “Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14She took off the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gate of Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she wasn’t given to him as a wife. 15When Judah saw her, he thought that she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16He turned to her by the way, and said, “Please come, let me come in to you,” for he didn’t know that she was his daughter-in-law.
She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?”
17He said, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.”
She said, “Will you give me a pledge, until you send it?”
18He said, “What pledge will I give you?”
She said, “Your signet and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.”
He gave them to her, and came in to her, and she conceived by him. 19She arose, and went away, and put off her veil from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20Judah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend, the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, but he didn’t find her. 21Then he asked the men of her place, saying, “Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the road?”
They said, “There has been no prostitute here.”
22He returned to Judah, and said, “I haven’t found her; and also the men of the place said, ‘There has been no prostitute here.’” 23Judah said, “Let her keep it, lest we be shamed. Behold, I sent this young goat, and you haven’t found her.”
24About three months later, Judah was told, “Tamar, your daughter-in-law, has played the prostitute. Moreover, behold, she is with child by prostitution.”
Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burnt.” 25When she was brought out, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, “I am with child by the man who owns these.” She also said, “Please discern whose these are—the signet, and the cords, and the staff.”
26Judah acknowledged them, and said, “She is more righteous than I, because I didn’t give her to Shelah, my son.”
He knew her again no more. 27In the time of her travail, behold, twins were in her womb. 28When she travailed, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This came out first.” 29As he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out, and she said, “Why have you made a breach for yourself?” Therefore his name was called Perez.#38:29 Perez means “breaking out”. 30Afterward his brother came out, who had the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah.#38:30 Zerah means “scarlet” or “brightness”.
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Tamar’s place in Judah’s family
1At that time, Judah moved away from his brothers and settled near an Adullamite named Hirah. 2There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite whose name was Shua, and he married her. After he slept with her, 3she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, whom she#38.3 Sam, Tg; MT he named Er. 4She became pregnant again, gave birth to a son, and named him Onan. 5Then she gave birth to one more son and named him Shelah. She was in Chezib when she gave birth to him.
6Judah married his oldest son Er to a woman named Tamar. 7But the LORD considered Judah’s oldest son Er immoral, and the LORD put him to death. 8Judah said to Onan, “Go to your brother’s wife, do your duty as her brother-in-law, and provide children for your brother.” 9Onan knew the children wouldn’t be his so when he slept with his brother’s wife, he wasted his semen on the ground, so he wouldn’t give his brother children. 10The LORD considered what he did as wrong and put him to death too. 11Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Stay as a widow in your father’s household until my son Shelah grows up.” He thought Shelah would die like his brothers had. So Tamar went and lived in her father’s household.
12After a long time, Judah’s wife the daughter of Shua died. Then, after a period of mourning, he and his neighbor Hirah the Adullamite went up to Timnah, to those who were shearing his sheep. 13Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is now on his way up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So Tamar took off the clothing she wore as a widow, covered herself with a veil, put on makeup,#38.14 Or perfumed herself or wrapped herself up and sat down at the entrance to Enaim on the road to Timnah, since she realized that although Shelah had already grown up, she hadn’t been given to him as a wife.
15Judah saw her and thought she was a prostitute because she had covered her face. 16He turned to her beside the road and said, “Let me sleep with you,” because he didn’t know she was his daughter-in-law.
She said, “What will you give me for sleeping with you?”
17He said, “I will give you a kid goat from my flock.”
She said, “Only if you give me some deposit, as security to guarantee that you will send it.”
18He said, “What kind of deposit should I give you?”
And she said, “Your seal, its cord, and the staff in your hand.” He gave these to her, slept with her, and she became pregnant by him.
19Then she got up, left, and took off her veil, dressing once again in the clothing she wore as a widow. 20Judah sent the kid goat with his neighbor Hirah the Adullamite so he could take back the deposits from the woman, but he couldn’t find her. 21He asked the locals of that place, “Where’s the consecrated worker#38.21 Traditionally cultic prostitute who was at Enaim on the road?”
But they said, “There’s no consecrated worker here.”
22So he went back to Judah and said, “I couldn’t find her. The locals even said, ‘There’s no holy woman here.’”
23Judah said, “Let her keep everything so we aren’t laughed at. I did send this kid goat, but you couldn’t find her.”
24About three months later, Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has become a prostitute and is now pregnant because of it.”
And Judah said, “Bring her out so that she may be burned.”
25When she was brought out, she sent this message to her father-in-law, “I’m pregnant by the man who owns these things. See if you recognize whose seal, cord, and staff these are.”
26Judah recognized them and said, “She’s more righteous than I am, because I didn’t allow her to marry my son Shelah.” Judah never knew her intimately again.
27When she gave birth, she discovered she had twins in her womb. 28At birth, one boy put out his hand, and the midwife took it and tied a red thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29As soon as he pulled his hand back, his brother came out, and she said, “You’ve burst out on your own.” So he was named Perez.#38.29 Or bursting out 30Afterward, his brother with the red thread on his hand came out, and he was named Zerah.#38.30 Or dawn