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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
1Around this time, Judah left his brothers and set up his tents at Adullam, near to a local man named Hirah. 2There Judah happened to see the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua and married her. He slept with her, 3and she became pregnant and had a son he named Er. 4She became pregnant again and had a son she named Onan. 5Then she had another son she named Shelah who was born in Kezib.
6Much later, Judah arranged for Er, his firstborn son, to marry a woman named Tamar. 7But Er did what was evil in the Lord's sight, so the Lord put him to death. 8Judah told Onan, “Go and sleep with your brother's wife to fulfill the requirements of a brother-in-law to have children on behalf of your brother.”
9Onan realized that any children he had wouldn't be his own, so whenever he slept with his brother's wife he made sure she wouldn't become pregnant by withdrawing and spilling his semen on the ground. In this way he prevented any children being born on behalf of his brother. 10But what he did was evil in the Lord's sight, so he also put Onan to death.
11Then Judah told his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Go to your father's house and live there as a widow until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “Maybe he'll die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went and stayed in her father's house.
12A long time later Judah's wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah had finished the time of mourning, he went to visit his sheepshearers at Timnah with his friend Hirah from Adullam. 13Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she took off her widow's clothes and covered herself with a veil, disguising herself. She sat down beside the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah. She had realized that even though Shelah had now grown up, nothing had been done about her marrying him.
15Judah saw her and thought she must be a prostitute because she had veiled her face. 16He went over to her at the side of the road and said, “I want to sleep with you.” He didn't know she was his daughter-in-law.
“What will you give me if I let you sleep with me?” she asked.
17“I'll send you a young goat from my flock,” he replied.
“What guarantee will you give me to make sure you'll send it?” she asked.
18“What guarantee do I have to give you?” he asked.
“Your signet seal and its cord, and your walking stick that you're holding,” she replied. He handed them over to her. He slept with her and she became pregnant. 19She left, went home, took off her veil, and put on her widow's clothes.
20Judah sent his friend Hirah from Adullam with a young goat to get back his belongings he'd left as a guarantee from the woman, but he couldn't find her. 21Hirah asked the men there, “Where's the cult prostitute that sits by the entrance road to Enaim?”
“There's no cult prostitute here,” they answered.
22Hirah went back to Judah and told him, “I couldn't find her, and the men there said, ‘There's no cult prostitute here.’”
23“Let her keep what I gave her,” Judah replied. “We'll look ridiculous to people if we go on searching. In any case I did try to send her the young goat as promised but you couldn't find her.”
24Then about three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has had sex like a prostitute and now as a result she's pregnant!”
“Bring her out and burn her to death!” Judah ordered.
25As she was brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law, saying, “I'm pregnant by the man who owns these things.” Then she added, “Please look carefully at this signet seal and its cord and walking stick. Who do they belong to?”
26Judah recognized them right away and said, “She has honored the law more than I have, because I didn't give her in marriage to my son Shelah.” He didn't sleep with Tamar again.
27When the time came for Tamar to give birth, she was found to be carrying twins. 28One baby put out his hand, and the midwife tied a scarlet thread around on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” 29But then he pulled back his hand and his brother was born, she said, “How did you burst out?” So he was named Perez.#38:29. “Perez” means “burst out.” 30Then his brother with the scarlet thread on his wrist was born. He was named Zerah.#38:30. “Zerah” means “rising” (as in “sun”) with perhaps the implication of red color.