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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.
38
Judah and Tamar
1About that time, Judah left his brothers. He went to stay with a man named Hirah. Hirah was from the town of Adullam. 2Judah met a Canaanite girl there and married her. Her father was named Shua. And Judah had intimate relations with her. 3She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. Judah named him Er. 4Later she gave birth to another son. She named him Onan. 5Later she had another son. She named him Shelah. She was at Kezib when this third son was born.
6Judah chose a girl named Tamar to be the wife of his first son Er. 7Er was Judah’s oldest son. But he did what the Lord said was evil. So the Lord killed him. 8Then Judah said to Er’s brother Onan, “Go and have physical relations with your dead brother’s wife.# It was a custom in Israel that if a man died without children, one of his brothers would marry the widow. If a child was born, it would be considered the dead man’s child. It is your duty to provide children for your brother in this way.”
9But Onan knew that the children would not belong to him. Onan was supposed to have physical relations with Tamar. But he did not complete the physical act. This made it impossible for Tamar to become pregnant. So Er could not have descendants. 10The Lord was displeased by this wicked thing Onan had done. So the Lord killed Onan also. 11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Go back to live in your father’s house. And don’t marry until my young son Shelah grows up.” Judah was afraid that Shelah also would die like his brothers. So Tamar returned to her father’s home.
12After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah had gotten over his sorrow, he went to Timnah. He went to his men who were cutting the wool from his sheep. His friend Hirah from Adullam went with him. 13Tamar learned that Judah, her father-in-law, was going to Timnah to cut the wool from his sheep. 14So she took off the clothes that showed she was a widow. Then she covered her face with a veil to hide who she was. She sat down by the gate of Enaim. It was on the road to Timnah. She did this because Judah’s younger son Shelah had grown up. But Judah had not made plans for her to marry him.
15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute. This was because she had covered her face with a veil. 16So Judah went to her and said, “Let me have physical relations with you.” He did not know that she was Tamar, his daughter-in-law.
She asked, “What will you give me if I let you have physical relations with me?”
17Judah answered, “I will send you a young goat from my flock.”
She answered, “First give me something to keep as a deposit until you send the goat.”
18Judah asked, “What do you want me to give you as a deposit?”
Tamar answered, “Give me your seal and its cord,# A seal was used like a rubber stamp. People ran a string through it to tie around the neck. They wrote a contract, folded it, put wax or clay on the contract, and pressed the seal onto it as a signature. and give me your walking stick.” So Judah gave these things to her. Then Judah and Tamar had physical relations, and Tamar became pregnant. 19Tamar went home. She took off the veil that covered her face. And she put on the clothes that showed she was a widow.
20Judah sent his friend Hirah with the young goat. Judah told Hirah to find the woman and get back his seal and the walking stick he had given her. But Hirah could not find her. 21Hirah asked some of the men at the town of Enaim, “Where is the prostitute who was here by the road?”
The men answered, “There has never been a prostitute here.”
22So he went back to Judah and said, “I could not find the woman. The men who lived there said, ‘There has never been a prostitute here.’”
23Judah said, “Let her keep the things. I don’t want people to laugh at us. I sent her the goat as I promised. But you could not find her.”
24About three months later someone told Judah, “Tamar, your daughter-in-law, is guilty of acting like a prostitute. Now she is pregnant.”
Then Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned to death.”
25When the men went to bring Tamar out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. She said, “The man who owns these things has made me pregnant. Look at this seal and its cord and this walking stick. Tell me whose they are.”
26Judah recognized them. He said, “She is more in the right than I. She did this because I did not give her to my son Shelah as I promised.” And Judah did not have physical relations with her again.
27When time came for Tamar to give birth, there were twins in her body. 28While she was giving birth, one baby put his hand out. The nurse tied a red string on his hand. She said, “This baby came out first.” 29But he pulled his hand back in. So the other baby was born first. The nurse said, “So you are able to break out first.” And they named him Perez.# This name means “breaking out.” 30After this, the baby with the red string on his hand was born. They named him Zerah.