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Genesis 38

38
1Around this time, Judah left his brothers and set up his tents at Adullam, near to a local man named Hirah. 2There Judah happened to see the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua and married her. He slept with her, 3and she became pregnant and had a son he named Er. 4She became pregnant again and had a son she named Onan. 5Then she had another son she named Shelah who was born in Kezib.
6Much later, Judah arranged for Er, his firstborn son, to marry a woman named Tamar. 7But Er did what was evil in the Lord's sight, so the Lord put him to death. 8Judah told Onan, “Go and sleep with your brother's wife to fulfill the requirements of a brother-in-law to have children on behalf of your brother.”
9Onan realized that any children he had wouldn't be his own, so whenever he slept with his brother's wife he made sure she wouldn't become pregnant by withdrawing and spilling his semen on the ground. In this way he prevented any children being born on behalf of his brother. 10But what he did was evil in the Lord's sight, so he also put Onan to death.
11Then Judah told his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Go to your father's house and live there as a widow until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “Maybe he'll die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went and stayed in her father's house.
12A long time later Judah's wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah had finished the time of mourning, he went to visit his sheepshearers at Timnah with his friend Hirah from Adullam. 13Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she took off her widow's clothes and covered herself with a veil, disguising herself. She sat down beside the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah. She had realized that even though Shelah had now grown up, nothing had been done about her marrying him.
15Judah saw her and thought she must be a prostitute because she had veiled her face. 16He went over to her at the side of the road and said, “I want to sleep with you.” He didn't know she was his daughter-in-law.
“What will you give me if I let you sleep with me?” she asked.
17“I'll send you a young goat from my flock,” he replied.
“What guarantee will you give me to make sure you'll send it?” she asked.
18“What guarantee do I have to give you?” he asked.
“Your signet seal and its cord, and your walking stick that you're holding,” she replied. He handed them over to her. He slept with her and she became pregnant. 19She left, went home, took off her veil, and put on her widow's clothes.
20Judah sent his friend Hirah from Adullam with a young goat to get back his belongings he'd left as a guarantee from the woman, but he couldn't find her. 21Hirah asked the men there, “Where's the cult prostitute that sits by the entrance road to Enaim?”
“There's no cult prostitute here,” they answered.
22Hirah went back to Judah and told him, “I couldn't find her, and the men there said, ‘There's no cult prostitute here.’”
23“Let her keep what I gave her,” Judah replied. “We'll look ridiculous to people if we go on searching. In any case I did try to send her the young goat as promised but you couldn't find her.”
24Then about three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has had sex like a prostitute and now as a result she's pregnant!”
“Bring her out and burn her to death!” Judah ordered.
25As she was brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law, saying, “I'm pregnant by the man who owns these things.” Then she added, “Please look carefully at this signet seal and its cord and walking stick. Who do they belong to?”
26Judah recognized them right away and said, “She has honored the law more than I have, because I didn't give her in marriage to my son Shelah.” He didn't sleep with Tamar again.
27When the time came for Tamar to give birth, she was found to be carrying twins. 28One baby put out his hand, and the midwife tied a scarlet thread around on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” 29But then he pulled back his hand and his brother was born, she said, “How did you burst out?” So he was named Perez.#38:29. “Perez” means “burst out.” 30Then his brother with the scarlet thread on his wrist was born. He was named Zerah.#38:30. “Zerah” means “rising” (as in “sun”) with perhaps the implication of red color.
38
Judah and Tamar
1#1Sa 22:1; Jos 15:35At that time Judah left his brothers and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2#1Ch 2:3; Ge 24:3There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shua, and he took her and had relations with her. 3#Ge 46:12; Nu 26:19She conceived and bore a son, and he called his name Er. 4#Ge 46:12She conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name Onan. 5#Nu 26:20She again conceived and bore a son and called his name Shelah. He was at Kezib when she bore him.
6Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. 7#1Ch 2:3; Ge 46:12But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord killed him.
8#Dt 25:5–10Then Judah said to Onan, “Go have relations with your brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up descendants for your brother.” 9#Dt 25:6But Onan knew that the descendant would not be his, so when he had relations with his brother’s wife, he let his semen go on the ground, so that he would not give a descendant to his brother. 10#Ge 46:12; Nu 26:19What he did displeased the Lord; therefore He killed him also.
11#Lev 22:13Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow at your father’s house until Shelah my son grows up.” For he thought, “He may die also, just as his brothers did.” So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.
12#Jos 15:10; Ge 24:67As time went on, the daughter of Shua, Judah’s wife, died. After Judah was consoled, he went up to his sheepshearers in Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
13It was told to Tamar, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14#Ge 38:26She took off her widow’s clothing, covered herself with a veil, wrapped herself up, and sat in an open place, which is by the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given to him as his wife.
15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, because she had covered her face. 16He turned to her by the road and said, “Come now, let me have relations with you” (for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law).
And she said, “What will you give me, so that you may have relations with me?”
17#Ge 38:20; Eze 16:33And he said, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.”
And she said, “Will you give me a pledge, until you send it?”
18#Ge 38:25–26And he said, “What pledge should I give you?”
And she said, “Your signet, your bracelets, and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and had relations with her, and she conceived by him. 19#Ge 38:14She arose and went away, and taking off her veil, she put on her widow’s clothing.
20Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand, but he could not find her. 21Then he asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute who was at Enaim by the road?”
And they said, “There was no prostitute in this place.”
22So he returned to Judah and said, “I cannot find her. Also, the men of the place said there was no cult prostitute in this place.”
23Judah replied, “Let her keep them for herself, or we shall be laughed at. I sent this young goat, and you did not find her.”
24#Lev 21:9; Jdg 19:2After about three months, it was told Judah, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has turned to prostitution, and what is more, as a result of prostitution she is pregnant.”
Then Judah said, “Bring her forth, and let her be burned!”
25#Ge 38:18; 37:32When she was brought forth, she sent word to her father-in-law, saying, “By the man to whom these belong am I with child.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are—the signet and bracelet and staff.”
26#1Sa 24:17Judah recognized them and said, “She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son.” He did not have relations with her again.
27When it was time for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb. 28While she was giving birth, one put out his hand, and the midwife took and tied on his hand a scarlet thread, saying, “This one came out first.” 29#Ge 46:12; Nu 26:20But as he drew back his hand, his brother came out. Then she said, “How have you made a breach for yourself?” Therefore his name was called Perez. 30Afterward his brother came out, the one that had the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah.