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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
1It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and #ver. 16; ch. 19:3; 2 Kgs. 4:8 turned aside to a certain #1 Sam. 22:1; 2 Sam. 23:13; 1 Chr. 11:15; Mic. 1:15Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was #[1 Chr. 2:3]Shua. He took her and went in to her, 3and she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name #ch. 46:12; Num. 26:19, 20Er. 4She conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name #[See ver. 3 above]Onan. 5Yet again she bore a son, and she called his name #[See ver. 3 above]Shelah. Judah#38:5 Hebrew He was in Chezib when she bore him.
6And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, #1 Chr. 2:3was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death. 8Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to #Matt. 22:24; Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28 your brother’s wife and #See Deut. 25:5-10perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” 9But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. So whenever he went in to his brother’s wife he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give offspring to his brother. 10And what he did was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death also. 11Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, #[Ruth 1:12, 13] “Remain a widow in your father’s house, till Shelah my son grows up”—for he feared that he would die, like his brothers. So Tamar went and remained #Lev. 22:13in her father’s house.
12In the course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died. When Judah #ch. 24:67; 37:35; 2 Sam. 13:39 was comforted, he went up to #Judg. 14:1Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14she took off her widow’s garments #[ver. 19; ch. 24:65] and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to #ver. 21 Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, #ver. 26and she had not been given to him in marriage. 15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16He turned to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” 17He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” And she said, “If you give me a pledge, until you send it—” 18He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She replied, #ver. 25“Your signet and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19Then she arose and went away, and taking off #ver. 14her veil she put on the garments of her widowhood.
20When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her. 21And he asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute#38:21 Hebrew sacred woman; a woman who served a pagan deity by prostitution; also verse 22 who was at #ver. 14Enaim at the roadside?” And they said, “No cult prostitute has been here.” 22So he returned to Judah and said, “I have not found her. Also, the men of the place said, ‘No cult prostitute has been here.’” 23And Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, or we shall be laughed at. You see, I sent this young goat, and you did not find her.”
24About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law #Judg. 19:2 has been immoral.#38:24 Or has committed prostitution Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.”#38:24 Or by prostitution And Judah said, “Bring her out, and #Lev. 21:9; [Deut. 22:21; John 8:5]let her be burned.” 25As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, #ver. 18the signet and the cord and the staff.” 26Then Judah identified them and said, #1 Sam. 24:17 “She is more righteous than I, since #ver. 14I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.
27When the time of her labor came, there were twins in her womb. 28And when she was in labor, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called #ch. 46:12; Num. 26:20; 1 Chr. 2:4; Matt. 1:3Perez.#38:29 Perez means a breach 30Afterward his brother came out with the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called #[See ver. 29 above]Zerah.