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Genesis 38

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 eldest 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 up.” 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 sent his friend Hirah to 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.”
29Straight away 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 came out, they named him Zerah.#38.30 Zerah: In Hebrew “Zerah” means “bright”, probably referring to the red thread.
38
1And at that time it came to be that Yehuḏah left his brothers, and turned aside to a man, an Aḏullamite whose name was Ḥirah.
2And Yehuḏah saw there a daughter of a certain Kena‛anite whose name was Shuwa. And he took her and went in to her.
3So she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name Ěr.
4And she conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name Onan.
5And she conceived yet again and bore a son, and called his name Shĕlah. And he was at Keziḇ when she bore him.
6And Yehuḏah took a wife for Ěr his first-born, and her name was Tamar.
7But Ěr, Yehuḏah’s first-born, was evil in the eyes of יהוה, and יהוה took his life.
8And Yehuḏah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.”
9And Onan knew that the offspring would not be his. And it came to be, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he spilled on the ground, lest he should give an offspring to his brother.
10But what he did displeased יהוה, so He took his life too.
11Then Yehuḏah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shĕlah is grown.” For he said, “Lest he also die as his brothers did.” And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.
12And after a long time the daughter of Shuwa, Yehuḏah’s wife, died. And Yehuḏah was comforted, and went up to his sheep-shearers at Timnah, he and his friend Ḥirah the Aḏullamite.
13And it was reported to Tamar, saying, “See, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.”
14And she took off her widow’s garments, and covered herself with a veil and wrapped herself, and sat at the entrance to Ěnayim which was on the way to Timnah. For she saw that Shĕlah was grown, and she was not given to him as a wife.
15And Yehuḏah saw her, and reckoned her for a whore, for she had covered her face.
16And he turned aside to her by the way, and said, “Please let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, “What do you give me to come in to me?”
17And he said, “Let me send you a young goat from the flock.” And she said, “Do you give me a pledge until you send it?”
18So he said, “What pledge should I give you?” And she said, “Your seal and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” And he gave them to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him.
19And she arose and went away, and removed her veil and put on the garments of her widowhood.
20And Yehuḏah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend the Aḏullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand, but he did not find her.
21And he asked the men of that place, saying, “Where is the cult prostitute who was beside the way to Ěnayim?” And they said, “There was no cult prostitute in this place.”
22And he returned to Yehuḏah and said, “I have not found her. And the men of the place also said there was no cult prostitute in this place.”
23And Yehuḏah said, “Let her take them for herself, lest we become despised, for I sent this young goat and you have not found her.”
24And it came to be, about three new moons after, that Yehuḏah was informed, saying, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has whored, and see, she has conceived by whoring.” And Yehuḏah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned!”
25When she was brought out, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please examine whose these are: the seal and the cord and the staff.”
26And Yehuḏah examined and said, “She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shĕlah my son.” And he never knew her again.
27And it came to be, at the time for giving birth, that see, twins were in her womb.
28And it came to be, when she was giving birth, that the one put out his hand. And the midwife took a scarlet thread and bound it on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.”
29And it came to be, as he drew back his hand, that see, his brother came out! And she said, “How did you break through? This breach be upon you!” So his name was called Perets.
30And afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand. So his name was called Zeraḥ.