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Genesis 38

38
Judah and Tamar
1And it happened that at that time Judah went down from his brothers and pitched his tent near a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2And Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite there whose name was Shua. And he took her and went in to her. 3And she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name Er. 4And she conceived again and bore a son, and he called his name Onan. 5And once again she bore a son, and she called his name Shelah. And he#That is, Judah was in Chezib when she bore him. 6And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7And Er, the firstborn of Judah, was evil in the eyes of Yahweh, and Yahweh killed him. 8Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to the wife of your brother and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” 9But Onan knew that the offspring would not be for him, so whenever he went in to the wife of his brother he would waste it on the ground#Meaning he would spill his semen on the ground so as not to give offspring to his brother. 10And what he did was evil in the sight of Yahweh, so he killed him also. 11Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, “Stay a widow in your father’s house until Shelah my son grows up,” for he feared he would also die#Literally “he thought lest he also will die” like his brother. So Tamar went and stayed in the house of her father. 12And in the course of time#Literally “And the days increased” the daughter of Shua, the wife of Judah, died. When Judah was consoled he went up to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite, to Timnah. 13And it was told to Tamar, saying, “Look, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she removed the clothes of her widowhood and covered herself with the veil and disguised herself. And she sat at the entrance to Eynayim, which is on the way to Timnah, for she saw that Shelah was grown but she had not been given to him as a wife. 15And Judah saw her and reckoned her to be a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16And he turned aside to her at the roadside and said, “Please come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, “What will you give to me that you may come in to me?” 17And he said, “I will send a kid from the goats of the flock.” And she said, “Only if you give a pledge until you send it.” 18And he said, “What is the pledge that I must give to you?” And she said, “your seal, your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” And he gave them to her and went in to her. And she conceived by him. 19And she arose and left, and she removed her veil from herself and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20And Judah sent the kid from the goats by the hand of his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the hand of the woman, but he could not find her. 21So he asked the men of her place, saying, “Where is that cult prostitute that was at Eynayim by the roadside?” And they said, “There is no cult prostitute here.” 22Then he returned to Judah and said, “I could not find her. Morever, the men of the place said, ‘There is no cult prostitute here.’ ” 23And Judah said, “Let her take them for herself, lest we be laughed at.#Literally “as contempt” Behold, I sent this kid, but you could not find her.” 24And about three months later#Literally “it happened about three months” it was told to Judah, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the whore, and now, behold, she has conceived by prostitution.” And Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned.” 25She was brought out, but she sent to her father-in-law saying, “By the man to whom these belong I have conceived.” And she said, “Now discern#Or “examine” to whom these belong: the seal and cord and the staff.” 26Then Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know#“Know” is a euphemism for “have sexual relations with” her again. 27And it happened that at the time she gave birth that, behold, twins were in her womb. 28And it happened that at her labor one child put out a hand. And the midwife took it and tied a crimson thread on his hand saying, “This one came out first.” 29Then his hand drew back and, behold, his brother came out, and she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” And she called his name Perez. 30And afterward his brother who had the crimson thread on his hand came out. And his name was called Zerah.
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].