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Bereshis 38

38
1And it came to pass at that time, that Yehudah went down from his achim, and turned in to an ish Adulami shmo Chirah. 2And Yehudah saw there a bat ish Kena'ani shmo Shua; and he took her, and went in unto her. 3She conceived, and bore ben; and he called shmo Er. 4And she conceived again, and bore ben; and she called shmo Onan. 5And she yet again conceived, and bore ben; and called shmo Shelah; at Keziv, when she bore him. 6And Yehudah took a wife for Er his bechor, whose shem was Tamar. 7And Er, bechor Yehudah, was rah in the eyes of Hashem; and Hashem slaughtered him. 8And Yehudah said unto Onan, Go in unto eshet achicha, and enter into levirate marriage with her, and raise up zera to achicha. 9And Onan knew that the zera should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto eshet achiv, that he spilled it on the ground, lest he should give zera to achiv. 10And the thing which he did was rah in the eyes of Hashem; therefore He slaughtered him also. 11Then said Yehudah to Tamar his kallah, Remain an almanah at thy bais avi, till Shelah beni is grown; for he said, Lest he die also, as his achim did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her bais avi. 12And in process of time the bat Shua, eshet Yehudah, died; and Yehudah was consoled, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnah, he and his re'a Chirah the Adulami. 13And it was told Tamar, saying, Hinei, thy kham (father-in-law) goeth up to Timnah to shear his tzon. 14And she put off her widow's garments from her, and covered her with a tze'if (veil), and disguised herself, and sat at the crossroads which is on the derech to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him as isha. 15When Yehudah saw her, he thought her to be a zonah; because she had covered her face. 16And he turned unto her by the derech, and said, Come now, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his kallah [daughter-in-law]). And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? 17And he said, I will send thee a gedi izzim (kid of the goats). And she said, Wilt thou give me an ervon (pledge), till thou send it? 18And he said, What ervon shall I give thee? And she said, Thy chotam (signet), and thy [signet neck] cord, and thy staff that is in thine yad. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him. 19And she arose, and went away, and took off her tze'if from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20And Yehudah sent the gedi izzim by the yad of his friend the Adulami, to get back his ervon from the yad haisha; but he found her not. 21Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the kedesha (cult prostitute) that was on the crossroads by the derech? And they said, There was no kedesha in this place. 22And he returned to Yehudah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said that there was no kedesha in this place. 23And Yehudah said, Let her take for herself, lest we become buz (laughingstock); hinei, I sent this gedi, and thou hast not found her. 24And it came to pass about shlosh chadashim (three months) later, that it was told Yehudah saying, Tamar thy kallah hath played the zonah; and also, hinei, she is with child by zenunim (whoredom). And Yehudah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burned. 25When she was brought forth, she sent to her kham (father-in-law), saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child; and she said, Discern, now, whose are these, the chotam (signet), and the [signet neck] cord, and the staff. 26And Yehudah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more tzadekah than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah beni. And he knew her again no more. 27And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, hinei te'omim (twin boys) were in her beten. 28And it came to pass, when she travailed in labor, that the one put out his yad; and the midwife took and bound upon his yad a scarlet thread, saying, This came out rishonah (first). 29And it came to pass, as he drew back his yad, that, hinei, his brother came out; and she said, How hast paratzta (thou broken out)? This paretz (breach, breaking) be upon thee; therefore shmo was called Peretz [Breaking out]. 30And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his yad; and shmo was called Zerach.
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.