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Genesis 38

38
Judah and Tamar
1About that time, Judah left his brothers and went to stay with a man named Hirah from the town of Adullam. 2Judah met a Canaanite girl there and married her. The girl’s father was named Shua. 3The Canaanite girl gave birth to a son and named him Er. 4Later, she gave birth to another son and named him Onan. 5Then she had another son named Shelah. Judah lived in Kezib when his third son was born.
6Judah chose a woman named Tamar to be the wife of his first son Er. 7But Er did many bad things. The Lord was not happy with him, so the Lord killed him. 8Then Judah said to Er’s brother Onan, “Go and sleep with your dead brother’s wife.#38:8 Go and sleep … wife In Israel if a man died without children, one of his brothers would take the widow. If a child was born, it would be considered the dead man’s child. Become like a husband to her. If children are born, they will belong to your brother Er.”
9Onan knew that the children from this union would not belong to him. He had sexual relations with Tamar, but he did not allow himself to stay inside her. 10This made the Lord angry. So he killed Onan also. 11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Go back to your father’s house. Stay there and don’t marry until my young son Shelah grows up.” Judah was afraid that Shelah would also be killed like his brothers. So Tamar went back to her father’s home.
12Later, Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah’s time of sadness, he went to Timnah with his friend Hirah from Adullam. Judah went to Timnah to have the wool cut from his sheep. 13Tamar learned that Judah, her father-in-law, was going to Timnah to cut the wool from his sheep. 14Tamar always wore clothes that showed that she was a widow. So she put on some different clothes and covered her face with a veil. Then she sat down near the road going to Enaim, a town near Timnah. Tamar knew that Judah’s younger son Shelah was now grown up, but Judah would not make plans for her to marry him.
15Judah traveled on that road and saw her, but he thought that she was a prostitute. (Her face was covered with a veil like a prostitute.) 16So he went to her and said, “Let me have sex with you.” (Judah did not know that she was Tamar, his daughter-in-law.)
She said, “How much will you give me?”
17Judah answered, “I will send you a young goat from my flock.”
She answered, “I agree to that. But first you must give me something to keep until you send me the goat.”
18Judah asked, “What do you want me to give you as proof that I will send you the goat?”
Tamar answered, “Give me your seal and its string#38:18 seal … string People wrote a contract, folded it, tied it with string, put wax or clay on the string, and pressed the seal onto it to seal it. This was like signing the agreement. Also in verse 25. and your walking stick.” Judah gave these things to her. Then Judah and Tamar had sexual relations, and she became pregnant. 19Then Tamar went home, took off her veil that covered her face, and again put on the special clothes that showed she was a widow.
20Later, Judah sent his friend Hirah to Enaim to give the prostitute the goat he promised. Judah also told Hirah to get the special seal and the walking stick from her, but Hirah could not find her. 21He asked some of the men at the town of Enaim, “Where is the prostitute who was here by the road?”
The men answered, “There has never been a prostitute here.”
22So Judah’s friend went back to Judah and said, “I could not find the woman. The men who live in that place said that there was never a prostitute there.”
23So Judah said, “Let her keep the things. I don’t want people to laugh at us. I tried to give her the goat, but we could not find her. That is enough.”
Tamar Is Pregnant
24About three months later, someone told Judah, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar sinned like a prostitute, and now she is pregnant.”
Then Judah said, “Take her out and burn her.”
25The men went to Tamar to kill her, but she sent a message to her father-in-law that said, “The man who made me pregnant is the man who owns these things. Look at them. Whose are they? Whose special seal and string is this? Whose walking stick is this?”
26Judah recognized these things and said, “She is right. I was wrong. I did not give her my son Shelah like I promised.” And Judah did not sleep with her again.
27The time came for Tamar to give birth. She was going to have twins. 28While she was giving birth, one baby put his hand out. The nurse tied a red string on the hand and said, “This baby was born first.” 29But that baby pulled his hand back in, so the other baby was born first. So the nurse said, “You were able to break out first!” So they named him Perez.#38:29 Perez This name is like the word meaning “to break out.” 30After this, the other baby was born. This was the baby with the red string on his hand. They named him Zerah.#38:30 Zerah This name is like the word meaning “bright.”
38
1 AT THAT time Judah withdrew from his brothers and went to [lodge with] a certain Adullamite named Hirah.
2 There Judah saw and met a daughter of Shuah, a Canaanite; he took her as wife and lived with her.
3 And she became pregnant and bore a son, and he called him Er.
4 And she conceived again and bore a son and named him Onan.
5 Again she conceived and bore a son and named him Shelah. [They were living] at Chezib when she bore him.
6 Now Judah took a wife for Er, his firstborn; her name was Tamar.
7 And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord slew him.
8 Then Judah told Onan, Marry your brother's widow; live with her and raise offspring for your brother.
9 But Onan knew that the family would not be his, so when he cohabited with his brother's widow, he prevented conception, lest he should raise up a child for his brother.
10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore He slew him also.
11 Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, Remain a widow at your father's house till Shelah my [youngest] son is grown; for he thought, Lest perhaps [if Shelah should marry her] he would die also, as his brothers did. So Tamar went and lived in her father's house.
12 But later Judah's wife, the daughter of Shuah, died; and when Judah was comforted, he went up to his sheepshearers at Timnath with his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
13 Then it was told Tamar, Listen, your father-in-law is going up to Timnath to shear his sheep.
14 So she put off her widow's garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapped herself up [in disguise], and sat in the entrance of Enaim, which is by the road to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown and she was not given to him as his wife.
15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot or devoted prostitute [under a vow to her goddess], for she had covered her face [as such women did].
16 He turned to her by the road and said, Come, let me have intercourse 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 intercourse with me?
17 He answered, I will send you a kid from the flock. And she said, Will you give me a pledge (deposit) until you send it?
18 And he said, What pledge shall I give you? She said, Your signet [seal], your [signet] cord, and your staff that is in your hand. And he gave them to her and came in to her, and she became pregnant by him.
19 And she arose and went away and laid aside her veil and put on the garments of her widowhood.
20 And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman's hand; but he was unable to find her.
21 He asked the men of that place, Where is the harlot or cult prostitute who was openly by the roadside? They said, There was no harlot or temple prostitute here.
22 So he returned to Judah and said, I cannot find her; and also the local men said, There was no harlot or temple prostitute around here.
23 And Judah said, Let her keep [the pledge articles] for herself, lest we be made ashamed. I sent this kid, but you have not found her.
24 But about three months later Judah was told, Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the harlot, and also she is with child by her lewdness. And Judah said, Bring her forth and let her be burned!
25 When she was brought forth, she [took the things he had given her in pledge and] sent [them] to her father-in-law, saying, I am with child by the man to whom these articles belong. Then she added, Make out clearly, I pray you, to whom these belong, the signet [seal], [signet] cord, and staff.
26 And Judah acknowledged them and said, She has been more righteous and just than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son. And he did not cohabit with her again.
27 Now when the time came for her to be delivered, behold, there were twins in her womb.
28 And when she was in labor, one baby put out his hand; and the midwife took his hand and bound upon it a scarlet thread, saying, This baby was born first.
29 But he drew back his hand, and behold, his brother was born first. And she said, What a breaking forth you have made for yourself! Therefore his name was called Perez [breaking forth]. [Matt. 1:3.]
30 And afterward his brother who had the scarlet thread on his hand was born and was named Zerah [scarlet].