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Genesis 38

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).
38
Judah and Tamar
1It happened at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and #ver. 16; ch. 19:3; 2 Kgs. 4:8 turned aside to a certain #1 Sam. 22:1; 2 Sam. 23:13; 1 Chr. 11:15; Mic. 1:15Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was #[1 Chr. 2:3]Shua. He took her and went in to her, 3and she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name #ch. 46:12; Num. 26:19, 20Er. 4She conceived again and bore a son, and she called his name #[See ver. 3 above]Onan. 5Yet again she bore a son, and she called his name #[See ver. 3 above]Shelah. Judah#38:5 Hebrew He was in Chezib when she bore him.
6And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, #1 Chr. 2:3was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord put him to death. 8Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to #Matt. 22:24; Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28 your brother’s wife and #See Deut. 25:5-10perform 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 his. So whenever he went in to his brother’s wife he would waste the semen on the ground, so as not to give offspring to his brother. 10And what he did was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death also. 11Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, #[Ruth 1:12, 13] “Remain a widow in your father’s house, till Shelah my son grows up”—for he feared that he would die, like his brothers. So Tamar went and remained #Lev. 22:13in her father’s house.
12In the course of time the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died. When Judah #ch. 24:67; 37:35; 2 Sam. 13:39 was comforted, he went up to #Judg. 14:1Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14she took off her widow’s garments #[ver. 19; ch. 24:65] and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to #ver. 21 Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, #ver. 26and she had not been given to him in marriage. 15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16He turned to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” 17He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” And she said, “If you give me a pledge, until you send it—” 18He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She replied, #ver. 25“Your signet and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19Then she arose and went away, and taking off #ver. 14her veil she put on the garments of her widowhood.
20When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her. 21And he asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute#38:21 Hebrew sacred woman; a woman who served a pagan deity by prostitution; also verse 22 who was at #ver. 14Enaim at the roadside?” And they said, “No cult prostitute has been here.” 22So he returned to Judah and said, “I have not found her. Also, the men of the place said, ‘No cult prostitute has been here.’” 23And Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, or we shall be laughed at. You see, I sent this young goat, and you did not find her.”
24About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law #Judg. 19:2 has been immoral.#38:24 Or has committed prostitution Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.”#38:24 Or by prostitution And Judah said, “Bring her out, and #Lev. 21:9; [Deut. 22:21; John 8:5]let her be burned.” 25As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, #ver. 18the signet and the cord and the staff.” 26Then Judah identified them and said, #1 Sam. 24:17 “She is more righteous than I, since #ver. 14I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.
27When the time of her labor came, there were twins in her womb. 28And when she was in labor, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called #ch. 46:12; Num. 26:20; 1 Chr. 2:4; Matt. 1:3Perez.#38:29 Perez means a breach 30Afterward his brother came out with the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called #[See ver. 29 above]Zerah.