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Genesis 38

38
CHAPTER 38
1In the same time, Judah went down from his brethren, and turned to a man of Adullam, Hirah by name;
2and he saw there a daughter of a man of Canaan, Shuah by name. And when he had taken her to wife, he entered [in] to her,
3and she conceived, and childed a son, and he called his name Er.
4And again when another child was conceived, she named the child that was born Onan.
5And she childed the third son, whom she called Shelah, and when he was born, she ceased to bear child more.
6Soothly Judah gave a wife, that was called Tamar, to his first begotten son Er.
7And Er, the first begotten son of Judah, was wayward in the sight of the Lord, and therefore he was slain of the Lord.
8Therefore Judah said to Onan, his son, Enter thou [in] to the wife of thy brother, and be thou fellowshipped to her, that thou raise seed to thy brother.
9And he knew that sons should not be born to him; and he entered [in] to the wife of his brother, and shedded his seed into the earth, lest the free children should be born by the name of the dead brother;
10and therefore the Lord smote him, for he did abominable thing.
11Wherefore Judah said to Tamar, his son’s wife, Be thou a widow in the house of thy father, till Shelah my son waxed; for he dreaded lest also he should die as his brethren. And she went, and dwelled in the house of her father.
12Forsooth when many years were passed, the daughter of Shuah, Judah’s wife, died; and when comfort was taken after mourning, Judah went up to the shearers of his sheep; he and Hirah of Adullam, that was [the] keeper of the flock, went up into Timnath.
13And it was told to Tamar, that her husband’s father went up into Timnath, to shear sheep.
14And she did away the clothes of widowhood, and she took a rochet cloth or veil with many wrinkles, and when the clothing was changed, she sat in the way-lot that leadeth to Timnath; for Shelah had waxed, and she had not taken him into husband.
15And when Judah had seen her, he supposed her to be a whore; for she had covered her face, lest she was known.
16And Judah entered to her, and said, Suffer me that I lie with thee; for he knew not that she was the wife of his son. And when she answered, What shalt thou give to me, that thou lie with me?
17he said, I shall send to thee a kid of the flocks. And again when she said, I shall suffer that that thou wilt, if thou shalt give to me a wed, till thou send that that thou promisest.
18Judah said, What wilt thou that be given to thee for a wed? She answered, Thy ring, and thy band of the arm, and the staff which thou holdest in thine hand. Therefore the woman conceived at one lying-by,
19and she rose, and went [away]; and when the cloth or veil was put away which she had taken, she was clothed in the clothes of widowhood.
20Forsooth Judah sent a kid by his shepherd of Adullam, that he should receive the wed which he had given to the woman; and when he had not found her,
21he asked men of that place, Where is the woman that sat in the way-lot? And when all men answered, A whore was not in this place;
22he turned again to Judah, and said to him, I found not her, but also the men of that place said to me, that a whore sat never there.
23Judah said, Have she those things to herself, that we be not despised, certainly she may not reprove us of a leasing; I sent the kid which I promised, and thou foundest not her.
24Lo! soothly after three months they told to Judah, and said, Tamar, thy son’s wife, hath done fornication, and her womb seemeth to wax great. Judah said, Bring her forth, that she be burnt.
25And when she was led to her pain, she sent to her husband’s father, and said, I have conceived of the man, whose these things be; know thou whose is the ring, and the band of the arm, and the staff?
26And when the gifts were known, Judah said, She is more just [or rightwise] than I, for I gave not her to Shelah, my son; nevertheless Judah knew her no more fleshly.
27Soothly when the childbearing nighed, two children appeared in the womb,
28and in that birth of the children, one put forth the hand, in which hand the midwife bound a red thread, and said, This shall go out before.
29Soothly while he withdrew the hand, the tother went out, and the woman said, Why, was the skin in which the child lay in the womb parted for thee? And for this cause she called his name Perez.
30Afterward his brother went out, in whose hand was the red thread, whom she called Zarah, that is, Redness.
38
Judah and Tamar
1About that time Judah left his brothers in the hill country and went to live near his friend Hirah in the town of Adullam. 2While there he met the daughter of Shua, a Canaanite man. Judah married her, 3and they had three sons. He named the first one Er; 4she named the next one Onan. 5The third one was born when Judah was in Chezib, and she named him Shelah.
6Later, Judah chose Tamar as a wife for Er, his oldest son. 7But Er was very evil, and the Lord took his life. 8So Judah told Onan, “It's your duty to marry Tamar and have a child for your brother.”#38.8 It's your duty … child … brother: If a man died without having children, his brother was to marry the dead man's wife and have a child, who was to be considered the child of the dead brother (see Deuteronomy 25.5,6).
9Onan knew the child would not be his,#38.9 the child … not be his: When Judah died, Onan would get his dead brother's share of the inheritance, but if his dead brother had a son, the inheritance would go to him instead. and when he had sex with Tamar, he made sure that she would not get pregnant. 10The Lord wasn't pleased with Onan and took his life too.
11Judah did not want the same thing to happen to his son Shelah, and he told Tamar, “Go home to your father and live there as a widow until my son Shelah is grown.” So Tamar went to live with her father.
12Some years later Judah's wife died, and he mourned for her. He then went with his friend Hirah to the town of Timnah, where his sheep were being sheared. 13Tamar found out that her father-in-law Judah was going to Timnah to shear his sheep. 14She also realized that Shelah was now a grown man, but she had not been allowed to marry him. So she decided to dress in something other than her widow's clothes and to cover her face with a veil. After this, she sat outside the town of Enaim on the road to Timnah.
15When Judah came along, he did not recognize her because of the veil. He thought she was a prostitute 16and asked her to sleep with him. She asked, “What will you give me if I do?”
17“One of my young goats,” he answered.
“What will you give me to keep until you send the goat?” she asked.
18“What do you want?” he asked in return.
“The ring on that cord around your neck,” was her reply. “I also want the special walking stick#38.18 ring … walking stick: The ring was shaped like a cylinder and could be rolled over soft clay as a way of sealing special documents. The walking stick was probably a symbol of power and the sign of leadership in the tribe, though it may have been a shepherd's rod. you have with you.” He gave them to her, they slept together, and she became pregnant.
19After returning home, Tamar took off the veil and dressed in her widow's clothes again.
20Judah asked his friend Hirah take a goat to the woman, so he could get back the ring and walking stick, but she wasn't there. 21Hirah asked the people of Enaim, “Where is the prostitute who sat along the road outside your town?”
“There's never been one here,” they answered.
22Hirah went back and told Judah, “I couldn't find the woman, and the people of Enaim said no prostitute had ever been there.”
23“If you couldn't find her, we'll just let her keep the things I gave her,” Judah answered. “And we'd better forget about the goat, or else we'll look like fools.”
24About three months later someone told Judah, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has behaved like a prostitute, and now she's pregnant!”
“Drag her out of town and burn her to death!” Judah shouted.
25As Tamar was being dragged off, she sent someone to tell her father-in-law, “The man who gave me this ring, this cord, and this walking stick is the one who got me pregnant.”
26“Those are mine!” Judah admitted. “She's a better person than I am, because I broke my promise to let her marry my son Shelah.” After this, Judah never slept with her again.
27-28Tamar later gave birth to twins. But before either of them was born, one of them stuck a hand out of her womb. The woman who was helping tied a red thread around the baby's hand and explained, “This one came out first.”
29At once his hand went back in, and the other child was born first. The woman then said, “What an opening you've made for yourself!” So they named the baby Perez.#38.29 Perez: In Hebrew “Perez” sounds like “opening.” 30When the brother with the red thread was born, they named him Zerah.#38.30 Zerah: In Hebrew “Zerah” means “bright,” probably referring to the red thread.