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Genesis 38

38
1And it came to pass at that time, that Y’hudah (Let the Powerful One be Praised [Yah]) went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain ‘Adulami (their testimony; their prey; their ornament; justice of the people), whose name [was] Hirah.
2And Y’hudah (Let the Powerful One be Praised [Yah]) saw there a daughter of a certain Kena’ani (merchants; traders; or those that humble and subdue), whose name [was] Shua (to cry out for help); and he took her, and went in unto her.
3And she conceived, and bore a son; and he called his name ‘Er (watchful; watchman).
4And she conceived again, and bore a son; and she called his name Onan (strong; pain, force, iniquity).
5And she yet again conceived, and bore a son; and called his name Shelach (Sent Out, Branch or Javelin; to prosper, rest): and he was at K’ziv (false), when she bore him.
6And Y’hudah (Let the Powerful One be Praised [Yah]) took a wife for ‘Er (watchful; watchman) his firstborn, whose name was Tamar [palm-tree] (bitterness, palm tree).
7And ‘Er (watchful; watchman), Y’hudah’s (Let the Powerful One be Praised [Yah]) firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord-Yehōvah (Messiah Pre-Incarnate); and the Lord-Yehōvah (Messiah Pre-Incarnate) killed him.
8And Y’hudah (Let the Powerful One be Praised [Yah]) said unto Onan (strong; pain, force, iniquity), Go in unto youri brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to youri brother.
9And Onan (strong; pain, force, iniquity) knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled [it] on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
10And the thing which he did displeased the Lord-Yehōvah (Messiah Pre-Incarnate): For what reason he killed him also.
11Then said Y’hudah to Tamar [palm-tree] his daughter in law, Remain a widow at youri father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest perhaps he die also, as his brethren [did]. And Tamar [palm-tree] went and dwelt in her father’s house.
12And in process of time the daughter of Shua Y’hudah’s (Let the Powerful One be Praised [Yah]) wife died; and Y’hudah (Let the Powerful One be Praised [Yah]) was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnah [Portion] (place of forbidding), he and his friend Hirah (a noble family; liberty; anger) the ‘Adulami (their testimony; their prey; their ornament; justice of the people).
13And it was told Tamar [palm-tree] (bitterness, palm tree), saying, Behold youri father in law goes up to Timnah [Portion] (place of forbidding) to shear his sheep.
14And she put her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which [is] by the way to Timnah [Portion] (place of forbidding); for she saw that Shelah (Sent Out, Branch or Javelin; to prosper, rest) was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.
15When Y’hudah (Let the Powerful One be Praised [Yah]) saw her, he thought her [to be] an prostitute; because she had covered her face.
16And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray youi, let me come in unto youi; (for he knew not that she [was] his daughter in law.) And she said, What will youi give me, that youi may come in unto me?
17And he said, I will send [youi] a kid from the flock. And she said, Will youi give [me] a pledge, till youi send [it]?
18And he said, What pledge shall I give youi? And she said, youri signet (seal or stamp), and youri bracelets, and youri staff that [is] in youri hand. And he gave [it] her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.
19And she arose, and went away, and laid by her veil from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.
20And Y’hudah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the ‘Adulami, to receive [his] pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not.
21Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where [is] the prostitute, that [was] openly by the way side? And they said, There was no prostitute in this [place].
22And he returned to Y’hudah (Let the Powerful One be Praised [Yah]), and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, [that] there was no prostitute in this [place].
23And Y’hudah said, Let her take [it] to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and youi hast not found her.
24And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Y’hudah, saying, Tamar [palm-tree] (bitterness, palm tree) youri daughter in law has played the prostitute; and also, behold, she [is] with child by whoredom. And Y’hudah (Let the Powerful One be Praised [Yah]) said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.
25When she [was] brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these [are, am] I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray youi, whose [are] these, the signet (seal or stamp), and bracelets, and staff.
26And Y’hudah (Let the Powerful One be Praised [Yah]) acknowledged [them], and said, She has been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah (Sent Out, Branch or Javelin; to prosper, rest) my son. And he knew her again no more.
27And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins [were] in her womb.
28And it came to pass, when she travailed, that [the one] put out [his] hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
29And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast youi broken forth? [this] breach (breaking forth; a break; opening, inlet) [be] upon youi: therefore his name was called Peretz (a breach (breaking forth; a break; opening, inlet); divided; rupture).
30And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zerach (a rising [as the sun], scarlet).
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Judah and Tamar.#This chapter has subtle connections to the main Joseph story. It tells of the eponymous founder of the other great tribe of later times, Judah. Having already been introduced as one of the two good brothers in 37:26–27, he appears here as the father-in-law of the twice-widowed Tamar; he has reneged on his promise to provide his son Shelah to her in a levirate marriage. Unjustly treated, Tamar takes matters into her own hands and tricks Judah into becoming the father of her children, Perez and Zerah. Judah ultimately acknowledges that his daughter-in-law was right (“She is in the right rather than I,” v. 26). In contrast to Judah’s expectations, the family line does not continue through his son Shelah, but through the children of Tamar. Similarities relate this little story to the main narrative: the deception involving an article of clothing (the widow’s garments of Tamar, Judah’s seal, cord, and staff) point back to the bloody tunic that deceives Jacob in 37:31–33; a woman attempts the seduction of a man separated from his family, for righteous purposes in chap. 38, for unrighteous purposes in chap. 39. 1About that time Judah went down, away from his brothers, and pitched his tent near a certain Adullamite named Hirah. 2There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua; he married her, and had intercourse with her.#1 Chr 2:3. 3She conceived and bore a son, whom she named Er. 4Again she conceived and bore a son, whom she named Onan. 5Then she bore still another son, whom she named Shelah. She was in Chezib#Chezib: a variant form of Achzib (Jos 15:44; Mi 1:14), a town in the Judean Shephelah. when she bore him.#1 Chr 4:21.
6Judah got a wife named Tamar for his firstborn, Er. 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, greatly offended the Lord; so the Lord took his life.#1 Chr 2:3. 8#Dt 25:5; Mt 22:24; Mk 12:19; Lk 20:28. Then Judah said to Onan, “Have intercourse with your brother’s wife, in fulfillment of your duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother’s line.”#Preserve your brother’s line: lit., “raise up seed for your brother”: an allusion to the law of levirate, or “brother-in-law,” marriage; see notes on Dt 25:5; Ru 2:20. Onan’s violation of this law brought on him God’s punishment (vv. 9–10). 9Onan, however, knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid giving offspring to his brother. 10What he did greatly offended the Lord, and the Lord took his life too. 11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up”—for he feared that Shelah also might die like his brothers. So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.
12Time passed, and the daughter of Shua, Judah’s wife, died. After Judah completed the period of mourning, he went up to Timnah, to those who were shearing his sheep, in company with his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13Then Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is on his way up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she took off her widow’s garments, covered herself with a shawl, and having wrapped herself sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah; for she was aware that, although Shelah was now grown up, she had not been given to him in marriage.#Prv 7:10. 15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, since she had covered her face. 16So he went over to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me have intercourse with you,” for he did not realize that she was his daughter-in-law. She replied, “What will you pay me for letting you have intercourse with me?” 17He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” “Very well,” she said, “provided you leave me a pledge until you send it.” 18Judah asked, “What pledge should I leave you?” She answered, “Your seal and cord,#Seal and cord: the cylinder seal, through which a hole was bored lengthwise so that it could be worn from the neck by a cord, was a distinctive means of identification. Apparently one’s staff could also be marked with some sign of identification (cf. Nm 17:17–18). and the staff in your hand.” So he gave them to her and had intercourse with her, and she conceived by him. 19After she got up and went away, she took off her shawl and put on her widow’s garments again.
20Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to recover the pledge from the woman; but he did not find her. 21So he asked the men of that place, “Where is the prostitute,#Prostitute: the Hebrew term qedesha, lit., “consecrated woman,” designates a woman associated with a sanctuary whose activities could include prostitution; cf. Dt 23:18; Hos 4:14, where the same Hebrew word is used. In 38:15 and 24 the common word for prostitute, zona, is used. the one by the roadside in Enaim?” But they answered, “No prostitute has been here.” 22He went back to Judah and told him, “I did not find her; and besides, the men of the place said, ‘No prostitute has been here.’” 23“Let her keep the things,” Judah replied; “otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you did not find her.”
24About three months later, Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has acted like a harlot and now she is pregnant from her harlotry.” Judah said, “Bring her out; let her be burned.” 25But as she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “It is by the man to whom these things belong that I am pregnant.” Then she said, “See whose seal and cord and staff these are.” 26Judah recognized them and said, “She is in the right rather than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” He had no further sexual relations with her.
27When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb.#1 Chr 2:4. 28While she was giving birth, one put out his hand; and the midwife took and tied a crimson thread on his hand, noting, “This one came out first.” 29#Ru 4:12; Mt 1:3; Lk 3:33. But as he withdrew his hand, his brother came out; and she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” So he was called Perez.#He was called Perez: the Hebrew word means “breach.” 30Afterward his brother, who had the crimson thread on his hand, came out; he was called Zerah.#He was called Zerah: a name connected here by popular etymology with a Hebrew word for the red light of dawn, alluding apparently to the crimson thread. #Nm 26:20; 1 Chr 2:4; Mt 1:3.