Genesis 38 | BSB Bible | YouVersion
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Genesis 38

38
Judah and Tamar
(1 Chronicles 2:3–4)
1About that time, Judah left his brothers and settled near a man named Hirah, an Adullamite. 2There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua, and he took her as a wife and slept with her. 3So she conceived and gave birth to a son, and Judah named him Er. 4Again she conceived and gave birth to a son, and she named him Onan. 5Then she gave birth to another son and named him Shelah; it was at Chezib that she gave birth to him.
6Now Judah acquired a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; so the Lord put him to death. 8Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife. Perform your duty as her brother-in-law and raise up offspring for your brother.”
9But Onan knew that the offspring would not belong to him; so whenever he would sleep with his brother’s wife, he would spill his seed on the ground so that he would not produce offspring for his brother. 10What he did was wicked in the sight of the Lord, so He put Onan to death as well.
11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He may die too, like his brothers.” 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 finished mourning, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah. 13When Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14she removed her widow’s garments, covered her face with a veil to disguise herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah. For she saw that although Shelah had grown up, she had not been given to him as a wife.
15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute because she had covered her face. 16Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her and said, “Come now, let me sleep with you.”
“What will you give me for sleeping with you?” she inquired.
17“I will send you a young goat from my flock,” Judah answered.
But she replied, “Only if you leave me something as a pledge until you send it.”
18“What pledge should I give you?” he asked.
She answered, “Your seal and your cord, and the staff in your hand.” So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19Then Tamar got up and departed. And she removed her veil and put on her widow’s garments again.
20Now when Judah sent his friend Hirah the Adullamite with the young goat to collect the items he had left with the woman, he could not find her. 21He asked the men of that place, “Where is the shrine prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?”
“No shrine prostitute has been here,” they answered.
22So Hirah returned to Judah and said, “I could not find her, and furthermore, the men of that place said, ‘No shrine prostitute has been here.’”
23“Let her keep the items,” Judah replied. “Otherwise we will become a laughingstock.#38:23 Or we will become despised After all, I did send her this young goat, but you could not find her.”
24About three months later, Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has prostituted herself, and now she is pregnant.”
“Bring her out!” Judah replied. “Let her be burned to death!”
25As she was being brought out, Tamar sent a message to her father-in-law: “I am pregnant by the man to whom these items belong.” And she added, “Please examine them. Whose seal and cord and staff are these?”
26Judah recognized the items and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not have relations with her again.
The Birth of Perez and Zerah
27When the time came for Tamar to give birth, there were twins in her womb. 28And as she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it around his wrist. “This one came out first,” she announced. 29But when he pulled his hand back and his brother came out, she said, “You have broken out first!” So he was named Perez.#38:29 Perez means breaking out. 30Then his brother came out with the scarlet thread around his wrist, and he was named Zerah.#38:30 Zerah can mean scarlet or brightness.

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.