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Genesis 38

38
Judah’s Sin with Tamar
1About that time Judah left his brothers and went to stay with a man from Adullam whose name was Hirah. 2There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man whose name was Shua. He married her and slept with her. 3She became pregnant and gave birth to a son named  #38:3 Some Hebrew manuscripts “son, whom he named”; other Hebrew manuscripts, Samaritan Pentateuch, and Targum “son, whom she named.” Er. 4She became pregnant again and gave birth to another son, whom she named Onan. 5Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to another son, whom she named Shelah. He was born at Kezib.
6Judah chose a wife for his firstborn son Er. Her name was Tamar. 7Er angered the Lord. So the Lord took away his life. 8Then Judah said to Onan, “Go sleep with your brother’s widow. Do your duty for her as a brother-in-law, and produce a descendant for your brother.” 9But Onan knew that the descendant wouldn’t belong to him, so whenever he slept with his brother’s widow, he wasted his semen on the ground to avoid giving his brother a descendant. 10What Onan did angered the Lord so much that the Lord took away Onan’s life too.
11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Return to your father’s home. Live as a widow until my son Shelah grows up.” He thought that this son, too, might die like his brothers. So Tamar went to live in her father’s home.
12After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had finished mourning, he and his friend Hirah from Adullam went to Timnah where the men were shearing Judah’s sheep. 13As soon as Tamar was told that her father-in-law was on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep, 14she took off her widow’s clothes, covered her face with a veil, and disguised herself. Then she sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. (She did this because she realized that Shelah was grown up now, and she hadn’t been given to him in marriage.)
15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute because she had covered her face. 16Since he didn’t know she was his daughter-in-law, he approached her by the roadside and said, “Come on, let’s sleep together!”
She asked, “What will you pay to sleep with me?”
17“I’ll send you a young goat from the flock,” he answered.
She said, “First give me something as a deposit until you send it.”
18“What should I give you as a deposit?” he asked.
“Your signet ring, its cord, and the shepherd’s staff that’s in your hand,” she answered.
So he gave them to her. Then he slept with her, and she became pregnant. 19After she got up and left, she took off her veil and put her widow’s clothes back on.
20Judah sent his friend Hirah to deliver the young goat so that he could get back his deposit from the woman, but his friend couldn’t find her. 21He asked the men of that area, “Where’s that prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?”
“There’s no prostitute here,” they answered.
22So he went back to Judah and said, “I couldn’t find her. Even the men of that area said, ‘There’s no prostitute here.’ ”
23Then Judah said, “Let her keep what I gave her, or we’ll become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you couldn’t find her.”
24About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has been acting like a prostitute. What’s more, because of it she’s pregnant.”
Judah ordered, “Bring her out to be burned.”
25As she was brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law, “I’m pregnant by the man who owns these things. See if you recognize whose signet ring, cord, and shepherd’s staff these are.”
26Judah recognized them and said, “She’s not guilty. I am! She did this because I haven’t given her my son Shelah.” Judah never made love to her again.
27The time came for Tamar to give birth, and she had twin boys. 28When she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand. The midwife took a piece of red yarn, tied it on his wrist, and said, “This one came out first.” 29As he pulled back his hand, his brother was born. So she said, “Is this how you burst into the world!” He was named Perez [Bursting Into]. 30After that his brother was born with the red yarn on his hand. He was named Zerah [Sunrise].
38
1-5About that time, Judah separated from his brothers and hooked up with a man in Adullam named Hirah. While there, Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua. He married her, they went to bed, she became pregnant and had a son named Er. She got pregnant again and had a son named Onan. She had still another son; she named this one Shelah. They were living at Kezib when she had him.
6-7Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn. Her name was Tamar. But Judah’s firstborn, Er, grievously offended God and God took his life.
8-10So Judah told Onan, “Go and sleep with your brother’s widow; it’s the duty of a brother-in-law to keep your brother’s line alive.” But Onan knew that the child wouldn’t be his, so whenever he slept with his brother’s widow he spilled his semen on the ground so he wouldn’t produce a child for his brother. God was much offended by what he did and also took his life.
11So Judah stepped in and told his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow at home with your father until my son Shelah grows up.” He was worried that Shelah would also end up dead, just like his brothers. So Tamar went to live with her father.
12Time passed. Judah’s wife, Shua’s daughter, died. When the time of mourning was over, Judah with his friend Hirah of Adullam went to Timnah for the sheep shearing.
13-14Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law has gone to Timnah to shear his sheep.” She took off her widow’s clothes, put on a veil to disguise herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim which is on the road to Timnah. She realized by now that even though Shelah was grown up, she wasn’t going to be married to him.
15Judah saw her and assumed she was a prostitute since she had veiled her face. He left the road and went over to her. He said, “Let me sleep with you.” He had no idea that she was his daughter-in-law.
16She said, “What will you pay me?”
17“I’ll send you,” he said, “a kid goat from the flock.”
She said, “Not unless you give me a pledge until you send it.”
18“So what would you want in the way of a pledge?”
She said, “Your personal seal-and-cord and the staff you carry.”
He handed them over to her and slept with her. And she got pregnant.
19She then left and went home. She removed her veil and put her widow’s clothes back on.
20-21Judah sent the kid goat by his friend from Adullam to recover the pledge from the woman. But he couldn’t find her. He asked the men of that place, “Where’s the prostitute that used to sit by the road here near Enaim?”
They said, “There’s never been a prostitute here.”
22He went back to Judah and said, “I couldn’t find her. The men there said there never has been a prostitute there.”
23Judah said, “Let her have it then. If we keep looking, everyone will be poking fun at us. I kept my part of the bargain—I sent the kid goat but you couldn’t find her.”
24Three months or so later, Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law has been playing the whore—and now she’s a pregnant whore.”
Judah yelled, “Get her out here. Burn her up!”
25As they brought her out, she sent a message to her father-in-law, “I’m pregnant by the man who owns these things. Identify them, please. Who’s the owner of the seal-and-cord and the staff?”
26Judah saw they were his. He said, “She’s in the right; I’m in the wrong—I wouldn’t let her marry my son Shelah.” He never slept with her again.
27-30When her time came to give birth, it turned out that there were twins in her womb. As she was giving birth, one put his hand out; the midwife tied a red thread on his hand, saying, “This one came first.” But then he pulled it back and his brother came out. She said, “Oh! A breakout!” So she named him Perez (Breakout). Then his brother came out with the red thread on his hand. They named him Zerah (Bright).