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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
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.