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Genesis 38

38
Judah and Tamar
1And it came about at that time, that Judah #Lit went downdeparted from his brothers and #Lit turned aside tovisited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua; and he took her as a wife and had relations with her. 3And she conceived and gave birth to a son, and he named him Er. 4Then she conceived again and gave birth to a son, and she named him Onan. 5She gave birth to yet another son and named him Shelah; and it was at Chezib #Lit whenthat she gave birth to him.
6Now Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord took his life. 8Then Judah said to Onan, “Have relations with your brother’s wife and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up a #Lit seedchild for your brother.” 9Now Onan knew that the #Lit seedchild would not be his; so when he had relations with his brother’s wife, he #Lit spilled on the groundwasted his seed on the ground so that he would not give #Lit seeda child to his brother. 10But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord; so He took his life also. 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 #Lit saidthought, “I am afraid that he too may die like his brothers.” So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.
12Now #Lit the days became many andafter a considerable time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and when #Lit Judah was comforted, hethe time of mourning was ended, Judah went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13And Tamar was told, “Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she #Lit removed from herselfremoved her widow’s garments and covered herself with a #Or shawlveil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gateway of #In Josh 15:34, EnamEnaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife. 15When Judah saw her, he assumed she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16So he turned aside to her by the road, and said, “#Or Come, nowHere now, let me have relations with you”; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, “What will you give me, that you may have relations with me?” 17He said, therefore, “I will send you a #Lit kid of goatsyoung goat from the flock.” She then said, “Will you give a pledge until you send it?18He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” And she said, “Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and had relations with her, and she conceived by him. 19Then she got up and departed, and #Lit removed from herselfremoved her #Or shawlveil and put on her widow’s garments.
20When Judah sent the #Lit kid of goats by the hand ofyoung goat by his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her. 21He asked the people of her place, saying, “Where is the temple prostitute who was by the road at Enaim?” But they said, “There has been no temple prostitute here.” 22So he returned to Judah, and said, “I did not find her; and furthermore, the people of the place said, ‘There has been no temple prostitute here.’ ” 23Then Judah said, “Let her #Lit take for herselfkeep them, otherwise we will become a laughingstock. #Lit BeholdAfter all, I sent this young goat, but you did not find her.”
24Now it was about three months later that Judah was #Lit informed, sayinginformed, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has prostituted herself, and behold, she is also pregnant by prostitution.” Then Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned!” 25It was while she was being brought out that she sent word to her father-in-law, saying, “I am pregnant by the man to whom these things belong.” She also said, “Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?” 26And Judah recognized them, and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not #Lit know her yet againhave relations with her again.
27It came about at the time she was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb. 28Moreover, it took place while she was giving birth, that one baby put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29But it came about as he drew back his hand that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” So he was named #I.e., a breachPerez. 30Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand; and he was named #I.e., a dawning or brightnessZerah.
38
1-5About that time, Judah separated from his brothers and hooked up with a man in Adullam named Hirah. While there, Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua. He married her, they went to bed, she became pregnant and had a son named Er. She got pregnant again and had a son named Onan. She had still another son; she named this one Shelah. They were living at Kezib when she had him.
6-7Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn. Her name was Tamar. But Judah’s firstborn, Er, grievously offended God and God took his life.
8-10So Judah told Onan, “Go and sleep with your brother’s widow; it’s the duty of a brother-in-law to keep your brother’s line alive.” But Onan knew that the child wouldn’t be his, so whenever he slept with his brother’s widow he spilled his semen on the ground so he wouldn’t produce a child for his brother. God was much offended by what he did and also took his life.
11So Judah stepped in and told his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow at home with your father until my son Shelah grows up.” He was worried that Shelah would also end up dead, just like his brothers. So Tamar went to live with her father.
12Time passed. Judah’s wife, Shua’s daughter, died. When the time of mourning was over, Judah with his friend Hirah of Adullam went to Timnah for the sheep shearing.
13-14Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law has gone to Timnah to shear his sheep.” She took off her widow’s clothes, put on a veil to disguise herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim which is on the road to Timnah. She realized by now that even though Shelah was grown up, she wasn’t going to be married to him.
15Judah saw her and assumed she was a prostitute since she had veiled her face. He left the road and went over to her. He said, “Let me sleep with you.” He had no idea that she was his daughter-in-law.
16She said, “What will you pay me?”
17“I’ll send you,” he said, “a kid goat from the flock.”
She said, “Not unless you give me a pledge until you send it.”
18“So what would you want in the way of a pledge?”
She said, “Your personal seal-and-cord and the staff you carry.”
He handed them over to her and slept with her. And she got pregnant.
19She then left and went home. She removed her veil and put her widow’s clothes back on.
20-21Judah sent the kid goat by his friend from Adullam to recover the pledge from the woman. But he couldn’t find her. He asked the men of that place, “Where’s the prostitute that used to sit by the road here near Enaim?”
They said, “There’s never been a prostitute here.”
22He went back to Judah and said, “I couldn’t find her. The men there said there never has been a prostitute there.”
23Judah said, “Let her have it then. If we keep looking, everyone will be poking fun at us. I kept my part of the bargain—I sent the kid goat but you couldn’t find her.”
24Three months or so later, Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law has been playing the whore—and now she’s a pregnant whore.”
Judah yelled, “Get her out here. Burn her up!”
25As they brought her out, she sent a message to her father-in-law, “I’m pregnant by the man who owns these things. Identify them, please. Who’s the owner of the seal-and-cord and the staff?”
26Judah saw they were his. He said, “She’s in the right; I’m in the wrong—I wouldn’t let her marry my son Shelah.” He never slept with her again.
27-30When her time came to give birth, it turned out that there were twins in her womb. As she was giving birth, one put his hand out; the midwife tied a red thread on his hand, saying, “This one came first.” But then he pulled it back and his brother came out. She said, “Oh! A breakout!” So she named him Perez (Breakout). Then his brother came out with the red thread on his hand. They named him Zerah (Bright).