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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 oldest 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.” 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 asked his friend Hirah 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.”
29At once 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 was born, they named him Zerah.#38.30 Zerah: In Hebrew “Zerah” means “bright,” probably referring to the red thread.
38
Judah and Tamar
1It came to pass at that time that Judah departed from his brothers, and #2 Kin. 4:8visited a certain Adullamite whose name was Hirah. 2And Judah #Gen. 34:2saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was #1 Chr. 2:3Shua, and he married her and went in to her. 3So she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name #Gen. 46:12; Num. 26:19Er. 4She conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name #Gen. 46:12; Num. 26:19Onan. 5And she conceived yet again and bore a son, and called his name #Num. 26:20Shelah. He was at Chezib when she bore him.
6Then Judah #Gen. 21:21took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was #Ruth 4:12Tamar. 7But #Gen. 46:12; Num. 26:19Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, #1 Chr. 2:3and the Lord killed him. 8And Judah said to Onan, “Go in to #Deut. 25:5, 6; Matt. 22:24your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.” 9But Onan knew that the heir would not be #Deut. 25:6his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother. 10And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore He killed #Gen. 46:12; Num. 26:19him also.
11Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, #Ruth 1:12, 13“Remain a widow in your father’s house till my son Shelah is grown.” For he said, “Lest he also die like his brothers.” And Tamar went and dwelt #Lev. 22:13in her father’s house.
12Now in the process of time the daughter of Shua, Judah’s wife, died; and Judah #2 Sam. 13:39was comforted, and went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13And it was told Tamar, saying, “Look, your father-in-law is going up #Josh. 15:10, 57; Judg. 14:1to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she took off her widow’s garments, covered herself with a veil and wrapped herself, and #Prov. 7:12sat in an open place which was on the way to Timnah; for she saw #Gen. 38:11, 26that Shelah was grown, and she was not given to him as a wife. 15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, because she had covered her face. 16Then he turned 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.
So she said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?”
17And he said, #Judg. 15:1; Ezek. 16:33“I will send a young goat from the flock.”
So she said, #Gen. 38:20“Will you give me a pledge till you send it?
18Then he said, “What pledge shall I give you?”
So she said, #Gen. 38:25; 41:42“Your signet and cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” Then he gave them to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19So she arose and went away, and #Gen. 38:14laid aside her veil and put on the garments of her widowhood.
20And Judah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand, but he did not find her. 21Then he asked the men of that place, saying, “Where is the harlot who was openly by the roadside?”
And they said, “There was no harlot in this place.
22So he returned to Judah and said, “I cannot find her. Also, the men of the place said there was no harlot in this place.
23Then Judah said, “Let her take them for herself, lest we be shamed; for I sent this young goat and you have not found her.”
24And it came to pass, about three months after, that Judah was told, saying, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has #Judg. 19:2played the harlot; furthermore she is with child by harlotry.”
So Judah said, “Bring her out #Lev. 20:14; 21:9; Deut. 22:21and 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 with child.” And she said, #Gen. 37:32; 38:18“Please determine whose these are—the signet and cord, and staff.”
26So Judah #Gen. 37:33acknowledged them and said, #1 Sam. 24:17“She has been more righteous than I, because #Gen. 38:14I did not give her to Shelah my son.” And he #Job 34:31, 32never knew her again.
27Now it came to pass, at the time for giving birth, that behold, twins were in her womb. 28And so it was, 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.” 29Then it happened, as he drew back his hand, that his brother came out unexpectedly; and she said, “How did you break through? This breach be upon you!” Therefore his name was called #Gen. 46:12; Num. 26:20; Ruth 4:12; 1 Chr. 2:4; Matt. 1:3Perez. 30Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand. And his name was called #Gen. 46:12; 1 Chr. 2:4; Matt. 1:3Zerah.