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Genesis 38

38
Judah and Tamar
1About that time, Judah left his brothers. He went to stay with a man named Hirah. Hirah was from the town of Adullam. 2Judah met a Canaanite girl there and married her. Her father was named Shua. And Judah had intimate relations with her. 3She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. Judah named him Er. 4Later she gave birth to another son. She named him Onan. 5Later she had another son. She 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. 7Er was Judah’s oldest son. But he did what the Lord said was evil. So the Lord killed him. 8Then Judah said to Er’s brother Onan, “Go and have physical relations with your dead brother’s wife.# It was a custom in Israel that if a man died without children, one of his brothers would marry the widow. If a child was born, it would be considered the dead man’s child. It is your duty to provide children for your brother in this way.”
9But Onan knew that the children would not belong to him. Onan was supposed to have physical relations with Tamar. But he did not complete the physical act. This made it impossible for Tamar to become pregnant. So Er could not 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. He went 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. Then she covered her face with a veil to hide who she was. She sat down by the gate of Enaim. It was 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. This was because she had covered her face with a veil. 16So Judah went to her and said, “Let me have physical 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 physical 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,# A seal was used like a rubber stamp. People ran a string through it to tie around the neck. They wrote a contract, folded it, put wax or clay on the contract, and pressed the seal onto it as a signature. and give me your walking stick.” So Judah gave these things to her. Then Judah and Tamar had physical relations, and Tamar became pregnant. 19Tamar went home. She took off the veil that covered her face. And she put on the clothes that showed she was a widow.
20Judah sent his friend Hirah with the young goat. Judah told Hirah to find the woman and get back his seal and the walking stick he had given her. But Hirah could not find her. 21Hirah asked some of the men at the town of Enaim, “Where is the prostitute who was here by the road?”
The men answered, “There has never been a prostitute here.”
22So he went back to Judah and said, “I could not find the woman. The men 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. Now she is pregnant.”
Then Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned to death.”
25When the men went to bring Tamar out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. She said, “The man who owns these things has made me pregnant. Look at this seal and its cord and this walking stick. Tell me whose they are.”
26Judah recognized them. He 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 physical relations with her again.
27When 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. She 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.# This name means “breaking out.” 30After this, the baby with the red string on his hand was born. They named him Zerah.
38
1And at that time it came to be that Yehuḏah left his brothers, and turned aside to a man, an Aḏullamite whose name was Ḥirah.
2And Yehuḏah saw there a daughter of a certain Kena‛anite whose name was Shuwa. And he took her and went in to her.
3So she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name Ěr.
4And she conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name Onan.
5And she conceived yet again and bore a son, and called his name Shĕlah. And he was at Keziḇ when she bore him.
6And Yehuḏah took a wife for Ěr his first-born, and her name was Tamar.
7But Ěr, Yehuḏah’s first-born, was evil in the eyes of יהוה, and יהוה took his life.
8And Yehuḏah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.”
9And Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. And it came to be, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he spilled on the ground, lest he should give an offspring to his brother.
10But what he did displeased יהוה, so He took his life too.
11Then Yehuḏah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shĕlah is grown.” For he said, “Lest he also die as his brothers did.” And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.
12And after a long time the daughter of Shuwa, Yehuḏah’s wife, died. And Yehuḏah was comforted, and went up to his sheep-shearers at Timnah, he and his friend Ḥirah the Aḏullamite.
13And it was reported to Tamar, saying, “See, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.”
14And she took off her widow’s garments, and covered herself with a veil and wrapped herself, and sat at the entrance to Ěnayim which was on the way to Timnah. For she saw that Shĕlah was grown, and she was not given to him as a wife.
15And Yehuḏah saw her, and reckoned her for a whore, for she had covered her face.
16And he turned aside 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. And she said, “What do you give me to come in to me?”
17And he said, “Let me send you a young goat from the flock.” And she said, “Do you give me a pledge until you send it?”
18So he said, “What pledge should I give you?” And she said, “Your seal and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” And he gave them to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him.
19And she arose and went away, and removed her veil and put on the garments of her widowhood.
20And Yehuḏah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend the Aḏullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand, but he did not find her.
21And he asked the men of that place, saying, “Where is the cult prostitute who was beside the way to Ěnayim?” And they said, “There was no cult prostitute in this place.”
22And he returned to Yehuḏah and said, “I have not found her. And the men of the place also said there was no cult prostitute in this place.”
23And Yehuḏah said, “Let her take them for herself, lest we become despised, for I sent this young goat and you have not found her.”
24And it came to be, about three new moons after, that Yehuḏah was informed, saying, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has whored, and see, she has conceived by whoring.” And Yehuḏah said, “Bring her out and 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 pregnant.” And she said, “Please examine whose these are: the seal and the cord and the staff.”
26And Yehuḏah examined and said, “She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shĕlah my son.” And he never knew her again.
27And it came to be, at the time for giving birth, that see, twins were in her womb.
28And it came to be, 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.”
29And it came to be, as he drew back his hand, that see, his brother came out! And she said, “How did you break through? This breach be upon you!” So his name was called Perets.
30And afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand. So his name was called Zeraḥ.