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B'resheet (Gen) 38

38
1(iv) It was at this time that Y’hudah went off from his brothers and settled near a man named Hirah who was an ‘Adulami. 2There Y’hudah saw one of the daughters of a certain Kena‘ani whose name was Shua, and he took her and slept with her. 3She conceived and had a son, whom he named ‘Er. 4She conceived again and had a son, and she called him Onan. 5Then she conceived yet again and had a son whom she called Shelah; he was in K’ziv when she gave birth to him.
6Y’hudah took a wife for ‘Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7But ‘Er, Y’hudah’s firstborn, was evil from Adonai’s perspective, so Adonai killed him. 8Y’hudah said to Onan, “Go and sleep with your brother’s wife — perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her, and preserve your brother’s line of descent.” 9However, Onan knew that the child would not count as his; so whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s wife, he spilled the semen on the ground, so as not to give his brother offspring. 10What he did was evil from Adonai’s perspective, so he killed him too.
11Then Y’hudah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Stay a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up”; for he thought, “I don’t want him to die too, like his brothers.” So Tamar went and lived at home with her father. 12In due time, Shua’s daughter, the wife of Y’hudah, died. After Y’hudah had been comforted, he went up to be with his sheep-shearers in Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the ‘Adulami. 13Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law has gone up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she took off her widow’s clothes, completely covered her face with her veil, and sat at the entrance to ‘Einayim, which is on the way to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah had grown up, but she still was not being given to him as his wife. 15When Y’hudah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, because she had covered her face. 16So he went over to her where she was sitting and said, not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, “Come, let me sleep with you.” She answered, “What will you pay to sleep with me?” 17He said, “I will send you a kid from the flock of goats.” She said, “Will you also give me something as a guarantee until you send it” 18He answered, “What should I give you as a guarantee?” She said, “Your seal, with its cord, and the staff you’re carrying in your hand.” So he gave them to her, then went and slept with her; and she conceived by him. 19She got up and went away, took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes.
20Y’hudah sent the kid with his friend the ‘Adulami to receive the guarantee items back from the woman, but he couldn’t find her. 21He asked the people near where she had been, “Where is the prostitute who was on the road at ‘Einayim?” But they answered, “There hasn’t been any prostitute here.” 22So he returned to Y’hudah and said, “I couldn’t find her; also the people there said, ‘There hasn’t been any prostitute here.’” 23Y’hudah said, “All right, let her keep the things, so that we won’t be publicly shamed. I sent the kid, but you didn’t find her.”
24About three months later Y’hudah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been acting like a whore; moreover, she is pregnant as a result of her prostitution.” Y’hudah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned alive!” 25When she was brought out, she sent this message to her father-in-law: “I am pregnant by the man to whom these things belong. Determine, I beg you, whose these are — the signet, the cords and the staff.” 26Then Y’hudah acknowledged owning them. He said, “She is more righteous than I, because I didn’t let her become the wife of my son Shelah.” And he never slept with her again.
27When she went into labor, it became evident that she was going to have twins. 28As she was in labor, one of them put out his hand; and the midwife took his hand and tied a scarlet thread on it, saying, “This one came out first.” 29But then he withdrew his hand, and his brother came out; so she said, “How did you manage to break out first?” Therefore he was named Peretz [breaking out]. 30Then out came his brother, with the scarlet thread on his hand, and he was given the name Zerach [scarlet].
38
Judah and Tamar
1About that time Judah left his brothers in the hill country and went to live near his friend Hirah in the town of Adullam. 2While there he met the daughter of Shua, a Canaanite man. Judah married her, 3and they had three sons. He named the first one Er; 4she named the next one Onan. 5The third one was born when Judah was in Chezib, and she named him Shelah.
6Later, Judah chose Tamar as a wife for Er, his oldest son. 7But Er was very evil, and the Lord took his life. 8So Judah told Onan, “It's your duty to marry Tamar and have a child for your brother.”#38.8 It's your duty … child … brother: If a man died without having children, his brother was to marry the dead man's wife and have a child, who was to be considered the child of the dead brother (see Deuteronomy 25.5,6).
9Onan knew the child would not be his,#38.9 the child … not be his: When Judah died, Onan would get his dead brother's share of the inheritance, but if his dead brother had a son, the inheritance would go to him instead. and when he had sex with Tamar, he made sure that she would not get pregnant. 10The Lord wasn't pleased with Onan and took his life too.
11Judah did not want the same thing to happen to his son Shelah, and he told Tamar, “Go home to your father and live there as a widow until my son Shelah is grown.” So Tamar went to live with her father.
12Some years later Judah's wife died, and he mourned for her. He then went with his friend Hirah to the town of Timnah, where his sheep were being sheared. 13Tamar found out that her father-in-law Judah was going to Timnah to shear his sheep. 14She also realized that Shelah was now a grown man, but she had not been allowed to marry him. So she decided to dress in something other than her widow's clothes and to cover her face with a veil. After this, she sat outside the town of Enaim on the road to Timnah.
15When Judah came along, he did not recognize her because of the veil. He thought she was a prostitute 16and asked her to sleep with him. She asked, “What will you give me if I do?”
17“One of my young goats,” he answered.
“What will you give me to keep until you send the goat?” she asked.
18“What do you want?” he asked in return.
“The ring on that cord around your neck,” was her reply. “I also want the special walking stick#38.18 ring … walking stick: The ring was shaped like a cylinder and could be rolled over soft clay as a way of sealing special documents. The walking stick was probably a symbol of power and the sign of leadership in the tribe, though it may have been a shepherd's rod. you have with you.” He gave them to her, they slept together, and she became pregnant.
19After returning home, Tamar took off the veil and dressed in her widow's clothes again.
20Judah asked his friend Hirah take a goat to the woman, so he could get back the ring and walking stick, but she wasn't there. 21Hirah asked the people of Enaim, “Where is the prostitute who sat along the road outside your town?”
“There's never been one here,” they answered.
22Hirah went back and told Judah, “I couldn't find the woman, and the people of Enaim said no prostitute had ever been there.”
23“If you couldn't find her, we'll just let her keep the things I gave her,” Judah answered. “And we'd better forget about the goat, or else we'll look like fools.”
24About three months later someone told Judah, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has behaved like a prostitute, and now she's pregnant!”
“Drag her out of town and burn her to death!” Judah shouted.
25As Tamar was being dragged off, she sent someone to tell her father-in-law, “The man who gave me this ring, this cord, and this walking stick is the one who got me pregnant.”
26“Those are mine!” Judah admitted. “She's a better person than I am, because I broke my promise to let her marry my son Shelah.” After this, Judah never slept with her again.
27-28Tamar later gave birth to twins. But before either of them was born, one of them stuck a hand out of her womb. The woman who was helping tied a red thread around the baby's hand and explained, “This one came out first.”
29At once his hand went back in, and the other child was born first. The woman then said, “What an opening you've made for yourself!” So they named the baby Perez.#38.29 Perez: In Hebrew “Perez” sounds like “opening.” 30When the brother with the red thread was born, they named him Zerah.#38.30 Zerah: In Hebrew “Zerah” means “bright,” probably referring to the red thread.