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Genesis 38

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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.
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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.