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Genesis 38

38
Chapter 38
Judah's family #38:1 Judah lived among the Canaanites. He married a Canaanite woman. But God wanted the Israelites to keep themselves separate from foreign people.
1At that time, Judah left his brothers. He went to stay with a man from the town of Adullam. His name was Hirah. 2While he was there, Judah met the daughter of Shua, a Canaanite man. Judah married her and he had sex with her. 3She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son. Judah gave him the name Er. 4His wife became pregnant again, and she gave birth to another son. She gave him the name Onan. 5Later, she gave birth to another son. She gave him the name Shelah. She gave birth to Shelah in the town called Kezib.
6Judah found a wife for his oldest son, Er. Her name was Tamar. 7But the Lord saw that Er, Judah's firstborn son, was very bad. So the Lord made him die. 8Then Judah said to Onan, ‘You should marry your dead brother's wife and have sex with her. You are her dead husband's brother. You must have a son who will become your dead brother's descendant.’ #38:8 In the Old Testament, if a man died before his wife had children, his brother should marry the dead man's wife. If the wife then had a son, they called that son the child of the dead brother.
9But Onan did not want Tamar to give birth to his child. He knew that the child would not belong to him. So when he had sex with his brother's wife Tamar, he made his semen go on to the ground. Then Tamar would not give birth to a child for Onan's dead brother.
10What Onan did was bad, and the Lord was not pleased with him. So the Lord made Onan die too. 11Then Judah said to his son's widow, Tamar, ‘Go back to your father's house and live there as a widow. Stay there until my son Shelah grows older.’ Judah thought, ‘I do not want Shelah to die in the way that his brothers died.’ #38:11 Judah does not want to give Shelah to Tamar as a husband. So Tamar went to live in her father's house.
12After a long time, Judah's wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had stopped being sad because of her death, he left his home to travel. He went with his friend, Hirah the Adullamite, to a place called Timnah. He went to see the men who were cutting the wool from his sheep. 13Someone told Tamar, ‘Your husband's father is going to Timnah to get the wool from his sheep.’ #38:13 Wool grows like hair on the skin of sheep. People use it for making clothes.
14Tamar knew that Jacob's son Shelah had now grown to become a man. But Judah had not yet let him marry her. So Tamar took off her widow's clothes and she put on other clothes. She covered her head with a veil. She did not want anyone to recognize her. Then she went and she sat at the gate of Enaim town. Enaim is on the road going to Timnah.
15Judah saw her as she sat there. He thought that she was a prostitute, because she had covered her face. 16He did not know that she was his son's widow. He went to her at the side of the road. He said, ‘Let me have sex with you.’ Tamar asked him, ‘If I have sex with you, what will you give me?’ 17Judah replied, ‘I will take a young goat from my animals and I will give it to you.’ Tamar said, ‘You must give me something now to show that you will send the goat to me.’ 18Judah asked her, ‘What should I give you?’ Tamar replied, ‘Give me your special ring and the string that holds it. And give me the stick that is in your hand.’ #38:18 The special ring and the stick would have Judah's mark on them. So other people would know who they belonged to. So Judah gave them to her. He had sex with her. As a result, she became pregnant.
19After this, Tamar left there and she took off her veil. She put her widow's clothes on again.
20Judah sent his friend Hirah, the Adullamite, to take a young goat back to where the woman had been. Judah wanted to get his special things back from the woman. But Hirah could not find the woman. 21He asked some men who lived there, ‘Where is the temple prostitute who sat by the road at Enaim?’ #38:21 A temple prostitute sat at a place where people went to worship foreign gods. But the men said, ‘There has not been any prostitute here.’
22So Hirah went back to Judah, with the goat. He told him, ‘I did not find her. The men who lived there said, “There has not been any temple prostitute here.” ’ 23So Judah said, ‘Let her keep the things that I gave to her. People will laugh at me if you go back there again. I sent this young goat for her, as I promised, but you could not find her.’
24Three months later, someone told Judah, ‘Your dead son's wife, Tamar, has become a prostitute and now she is pregnant.’ Judah said, ‘Take her out of the town and burn her to death!’ 25So they took Tamar out and they were going to kill her. But she sent a message to her dead husband's father. She said, ‘The man that these things belong to had sex with me. That is why I am pregnant. Look at these things carefully. Do you know who the ring, its string, and the stick belong to?’ 26Judah saw that the things belonged to him. He said, ‘She is more in the right than I am. She has done this because I would not give her to my son, Shelah, as his wife.’ Judah did not have sex with Tamar again.
27The time came for Tamar to give birth, and there were twins! 28While she was giving birth, one baby put out his hand. The woman who was helping Tamar tied a red string to that baby's arm. She said, ‘This baby came out first.’ 29But then the baby took his hand back inside and his brother came out first. The woman said, ‘You have opened a way for yourself to come out!’ So they gave him the name Perez. #38:29 Perez means ‘pushing out’. 30Then his brother came out, with the red string on his arm. They gave him the name Zerah.
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.