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Genesis 38

38
Judah and Tamar
1About that time Judah went down from his brothers and he camped near an Adullamite man, whose name was Hirah.
2There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite man whose name was Shua, and he took her as wife and slept with her.
3Then she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and he named him Er.
4She became pregnant again and gave birth to a son, and she named him Onan.
5She gave birth to yet another son and she called him Shelah. He was in Chezib when she gave birth to him.
6Then Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.
7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in Adonai’s eyes, so Adonai put him to death.
8Then Judah said to Onan, go to your brother’s wife to perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up a seed for your brother.
9But Onan knew that the seed would not be his. So every time he went to his brother’s wife he would destroy it on the ground so as not to provide a seed for his brother.
10What he did was evil in Adonai’s eyes, so He put him to death also.
11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Stay as a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up,” because he thought, “Otherwise he too might die, like his brothers.” So Tamar went and stayed in her father’s house.
12Now the days became many, and Shua’s daughter, Judah’s wife, died. After Judah consoled himself, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
13Then Tamar was told, “Look! Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his flocks.”
14And she removed her widow’s clothes from herself, covered herself with a veil, wrapped herself, and sat by the entrance to the springs on the way 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 thought she was a prostitute because she had covered her face.
16So he turned aside to her along the way and said, “Please let me sleep with you” (for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law). “What,” she asked, “will you give me to sleep with me?”
17“I will send you a young goat from the flock,” he said, “Provided you give a pledge until you send it,” she said.
18“What kind of pledge shall I give you?” he asked. “Your seal, and your cord, and your staff in your hand,” she said. So he gave them to her and he slept with her, and she got pregnant by him.
19After she got up and left, she removed her veil from herself and put on her widow’s clothes.
20When Judah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the woman’s hand, he could not find her.
21He asked the men of her area saying, “Where is the cult prostitute? She was at the springs along the way.” But they said, “There hasn’t been a cult prostitute here.”
22So he returned to Judah and said, “I couldn’t find her, and the people of that place also said, ‘There hasn’t been a cult prostitute here.’”
23Then Judah said, “Let her take them for herself, or we’ll be held in contempt. Behold, I did send this young goat, but you couldn’t find her.”
24About three months later, Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has been a prostitute—look, she’s even pregnant by prostitution.” “Bring her out!” Judah said, “and let her be burned.”
25As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law saying, “I’m pregnant by the man to whom these things belong.” Then she said, “Do you recognize whose these are—the seal, the cords and the staff?”
26Then Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I didn’t give her to my son Shelah.” He was not intimate with her again.
27Now when it was time for her to give birth, behold there were twins in her womb.
28While she was giving birth, one stuck out his hand, and the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it to his hand saying, “This one came out first.”
29But as he was pulling his hand back in, behold, his brother came out. So she said, “How you have broken through! The breach is because of you.” And he named him Perez.
30Afterward his brother, on whose hand was the scarlet thread, came out. And he named him Zerah.
38
1Around this time, Judah left his brothers and set up his tents at Adullam, near to a local man named Hirah. 2There Judah happened to see the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua and married her. He slept with her, 3and she became pregnant and had a son he named Er. 4She became pregnant again and had a son she named Onan. 5Then she had another son she named Shelah who was born in Kezib.
6Much later, Judah arranged for Er, his firstborn son, to marry a woman named Tamar. 7But Er did what was evil in the Lord's sight, so the Lord put him to death. 8Judah told Onan, “Go and sleep with your brother's wife to fulfill the requirements of a brother-in-law to have children on behalf of your brother.”
9Onan realized that any children he had wouldn't be his own, so whenever he slept with his brother's wife he made sure she wouldn't become pregnant by withdrawing and spilling his semen on the ground. In this way he prevented any children being born on behalf of his brother. 10But what he did was evil in the Lord's sight, so he also put Onan to death.
11Then Judah told his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Go to your father's house and live there as a widow until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “Maybe he'll die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went and stayed in her father's house.
12A long time later Judah's wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah had finished the time of mourning, he went to visit his sheepshearers at Timnah with his friend Hirah from Adullam. 13Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she took off her widow's clothes and covered herself with a veil, disguising herself. She sat down beside the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah. She had realized that even though Shelah had now grown up, nothing had been done about her marrying him.
15Judah saw her and thought she must be a prostitute because she had veiled her face. 16He went over to her at the side of the road and said, “I want to sleep with you.” He didn't know she was his daughter-in-law.
“What will you give me if I let you sleep with me?” she asked.
17“I'll send you a young goat from my flock,” he replied.
“What guarantee will you give me to make sure you'll send it?” she asked.
18“What guarantee do I have to give you?” he asked.
“Your signet seal and its cord, and your walking stick that you're holding,” she replied. He handed them over to her. He slept with her and she became pregnant. 19She left, went home, took off her veil, and put on her widow's clothes.
20Judah sent his friend Hirah from Adullam with a young goat to get back his belongings he'd left as a guarantee from the woman, but he couldn't find her. 21Hirah asked the men there, “Where's the cult prostitute that sits by the entrance road to Enaim?”
“There's no cult prostitute here,” they answered.
22Hirah went back to Judah and told him, “I couldn't find her, and the men there said, ‘There's no cult prostitute here.’”
23“Let her keep what I gave her,” Judah replied. “We'll look ridiculous to people if we go on searching. In any case I did try to send her the young goat as promised but you couldn't find her.”
24Then about three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has had sex like a prostitute and now as a result she's pregnant!”
“Bring her out and burn her to death!” Judah ordered.
25As she was brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law, saying, “I'm pregnant by the man who owns these things.” Then she added, “Please look carefully at this signet seal and its cord and walking stick. Who do they belong to?”
26Judah recognized them right away and said, “She has honored the law more than I have, because I didn't give her in marriage to my son Shelah.” He didn't sleep with Tamar again.
27When the time came for Tamar to give birth, she was found to be carrying twins. 28One baby put out his hand, and the midwife tied a scarlet thread around on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” 29But then he pulled back his hand and his brother was born, she said, “How did you burst out?” So he was named Perez.#38:29. “Perez” means “burst out.” 30Then his brother with the scarlet thread on his wrist was born. He was named Zerah.#38:30. “Zerah” means “rising” (as in “sun”) with perhaps the implication of red color.