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Genesis 38

38
1 About the same time, Judah, descending from his brothers, turned toward an Adullamite man, named Hirah.
2 And he saw there the daughter of a man called Shua, of Canaan. And taking her as a wife, he entered to her.
3 And she conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Er.
4 And conceiving offspring again, having given birth to a son, she called him Onan.
5 Likewise, she bore a third, whom she called Shelah, after whose birth, she ceased to bear any more.
6 Then Judah gave a wife to his first born Er, whose name was Tamar.
7 And it also happened that Er, the first born of Judah, was wicked in the sight of the Lord and was killed by him.
8 Therefore, Judah said to his son Onan: "Enter to the wife of your brother, and associate with her, so that you may raise offspring to your brother."
9 He, knowing that the sons to be born would not be his, when he entered to the wife of his brother, he spilled his seed on the ground, lest children should be born in his brother's name.
10 And for this reason, the Lord struck him down, because he did a detestable thing.
11 Because of this matter, Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, "Be a widow in your father's house, until my son Shelah grows up." For he was afraid, lest he also might die, just as his brothers did. She went away, and she lived in her father's house.
12 Then, after many days had passed, the daughter of Shua, the wife of Judah, died. And when he accepted consolation after his mourning, he went up to the shearers of his sheep at Timnah, he and Hirah, the herdsman of the Adullamite flock.
13 And it was reported to Tamar that her father-in-law had gone up to Timnah to shear the sheep.
14 And storing away the garments of her widowhood, she took up a veil. And changing her clothing, she sat at the crossroad that leads to Timnah, because Shelah had grown up, and she had not received him as a husband.
15 And when Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot. For she had covered her face, lest she be recognized.
16 And entering to her, he said, "Permit me to join with you." For he did not know her to be his daughter-in-law. And she responded, "What will you give to me, to enjoy me as a concubine?"
17 He said, "I will send you a young goat from the flock." And again, she said, "I will allow what you want, if you give me a pledge, until you may send what you promise."
18 Judah said, "What do you want to be given for a pledge?" She responded, "Your ring and bracelet, and the staff that you hold in your hand." Thereupon, the woman, from one sexual encounter, conceived.
19 And she arose and went away. And storing away the garments that she had taken up, she was clothed in the garments of her widowhood.
20 Then Judah sent a young goat by his shepherd, the Adullamite, so that he might receive the pledge that he had given to the woman. But, when he had not found her,
21 he questioned the men of that place: "Where is the woman who sat at the crossroad?" And they all responded, "There has been no harlot in this place."
22 He returned to Judah, and he said to him: "I did not find her. Moreover, the men of that place told me that a prostitute had never sat there."
23 Judah said: "Let her hold herself to blame. Certainly, she is not able to accuse us of a lie. I sent the young goat that I had promised, and you did not find her."
24 And behold, after three months, they reported to Judah, saying, "Tamar, your daughter-in-law, has committed fornication and her abdomen appears to be enlarged." And Judah said, "Produce her, so that she may be burned."
25 But when she was led out to the punishment, she sent to her father-in-law, saying: "I conceived by the man to whom these things belong. Recognize whose ring, and bracelet, and staff this is."
26 But he, acknowledging the gifts, said: "She is more just than I am. For I did not deliver her to my son Shelah." However, he knew her no more.
27 Then, at the moment of birth, there appeared twins in the womb. And so, in the very delivery of the infants, one put forth a hand, on which the midwife tied a scarlet thread, saying,
28 "This one will go out first."
29 But in truth, drawing back his hand, the other came out. And the woman said, "Why is the partition divided for you?" And for this reason, she called his name Perez.
30 After this, his brother came out, on whose hand was the scarlet thread. And she called him Zerah.
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.”