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Judah and Tamar

38 About that time, Judah ·left [L went down from] his brothers and went to stay with a man named Hirah in the town of Adullam [C a Canaanite city nine miles northwest of Hebron]. There Judah met a Canaanite girl, the daughter of a man named Shua, and married her. Judah ·had sexual relations with [L went to] her, and she ·became pregnant [conceived] and gave birth to a son, whom Judah named Er. Later she gave birth to another son and named him Onan. Still later she had another son and named him Shelah. She was at Kezib [C “deceiving”; a town near Adullam; probably the same as Aczib; Josh. 15:44] when this third son was born.

Judah ·chose [L took] a girl named Tamar to be the wife of his ·first son [firstborn] Er. But Er, Judah’s ·oldest son [firstborn], did ·what the Lord said was evil [L evil in the eyes/sight of the Lord] so the Lord killed him. Then Judah said to Er’s brother Onan, “Go and have sexual relations with your dead brother’s wife. It is your duty to ·provide children for your brother in this way [L raise up a seed for your brother; Deut. 25:5–10].”

But Onan knew that the ·children [L seed] would not belong to him, so when he ·was supposed to have sexual relations with [L he went to] Tamar he ·did not complete the sex act [L spilled his seed on the ground], ·making it impossible for Tamar to become pregnant and for Er to have descendants [L so that he did not give a descendant/seed to his brother]. 10 ·The Lord was displeased by this wicked thing Onan had done [L What he did was evil in the eyes/sight of the Lord], so he killed Onan also. 11 Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “·Go back to live in your father’s house, and don’t marry [L Remain a widow in your father’s house] until my young son Shelah grows up.” Judah was afraid that Shelah also would die like his brothers. So Tamar returned to her father’s home.

12 After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah ·had gotten over his sorrow [L was comforted], he went to Timnah [C a town south of Hebron] to his ·men who were cutting the wool from his sheep [L sheepshearers]. His friend Hirah from Adullam went with him. 13 Tamar learned that Judah, her father-in-law, was going to Timnah to cut the wool from his sheep. 14 So she took off the clothes that showed she was a widow and covered her face with a veil ·to hide who she was [L and wrapped herself up; C perhaps indicating a woman was a prostitute; see v. 15]. Then she sat down by the gate of Enaim on the road to Timnah. She did this because Judah’s younger son Shelah had grown up, but Judah had not ·made plans for her to marry him [given her to him as a wife].

15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, because she had covered her face with a veil. 16 So Judah went to her [L on the road side/way] and said, “Let me ·have sexual relations with [L come to] you.” He did not know that she was Tamar, his daughter-in-law.

She asked, “What will you ·give [pay] me if I let you ·have sexual relations with [L come to] me?”

17 Judah answered, “I will send you a young goat from my flock.”

She answered, “First give me ·something to keep as a deposit [a pledge] until you send the goat.”

18 Judah asked, “What do you want me to give you as a ·deposit [pledge]?”

Tamar answered, “Give me your ·seal [signet] and its cord, and give me your ·walking stick [staff; C all items that could identify a person].” So Judah gave these things to her. Then ·Judah and Tamar had sexual relations, and Tamar became pregnant [L he went to her and she conceived]. 19 When ·Tamar went home [L she got up and went], she took off the veil that covered her face and put on the clothes that showed she was a widow.

20 Judah sent his friend ·Hirah [L the Adullamite; 38:1] with the young goat to find the woman and get back his ·seal [signet] and the ·walking stick [staff] he had given her, but Hirah could not find her. 21 He asked some of the people at the town of Enaim, “Where is the prostitute [C perhaps indicating a temple prostitute connected to a fertility religion] who was here by the road?”

They answered, “There has never been a prostitute here.”

22 So he went back to Judah and said, “I could not find the woman, and the people who lived there said, ‘There has never been a prostitute here.’ ”

23 Judah said, “Let her keep the things. I don’t want people to laugh at us. I sent her the goat as I promised, but you could not find her.”

24 About three months later someone told Judah, “Tamar, your daughter-in-law, is guilty of acting like a prostitute, and now she ·is pregnant [has conceived].”

Then Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned to death.”

25 When ·the people went to bring Tamar out [L she was brought out], she sent a message to her father-in-law that said, “The man who owns these things has made me pregnant. Look at this ·seal [signet] and its cord and this ·walking stick [staff], and tell me whose they are.”

26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is more ·in the right [righteous] than I. She did this because I did not give her to my son Shelah as I promised.” And Judah did not ·have sexual relations with [L know; 4:1] her again.

27 When the time came for Tamar to give birth, there were twins in her ·body [L womb]. 28 While she was ·giving birth [in labor], one baby put his hand out. The ·nurse [midwife] tied a ·red [crimson] string on his hand and said, “This baby came out first.” 29 But he pulled his hand back in, so the other baby was born first. The nurse said, “·So you are able to break out first [or What a breach you have made],” and they named him Perez [C sounds like “break out” in Hebrew]. 30 After this, the baby with the red string on his hand was born, and they named him Zerah [C shining/brightness, perhaps referring to the red string].

Judah and Tamar

38 At that time, Judah(A) left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam(B) named Hirah.(C) There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua.(D) He married her and made love to her; she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er.(E) She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan.(F) She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah.(G) It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him.

Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.(H) But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight;(I) so the Lord put him to death.(J)

Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.”(K) But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.(L)

11 Judah then said to his daughter-in-law(M) Tamar,(N) “Live as a widow in your father’s household(O) until my son Shelah(P) grows up.”(Q) For he thought, “He may die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s household.

12 After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua,(R) died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah,(S) to the men who were shearing his sheep,(T) and his friend Hirah the Adullamite(U) went with him.

13 When Tamar(V) was told, “Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,”(W) 14 she took off her widow’s clothes,(X) covered herself with a veil(Y) to disguise herself, and then sat down(Z) at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah.(AA) For she saw that, though Shelah(AB) had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.

15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute,(AC) for she had covered her face. 16 Not realizing(AD) that she was his daughter-in-law,(AE) he went over to her by the roadside and said, “Come now, let me sleep with you.”(AF)

“And what will you give me to sleep with you?”(AG) she asked.

17 “I’ll send you a young goat(AH) from my flock,” he said.

“Will you give me something as a pledge(AI) until you send it?” she asked.

18 He said, “What pledge should I give you?”

“Your seal(AJ) and its cord, and the staff(AK) in your hand,” she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him.(AL) 19 After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes(AM) again.

20 Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite(AN) in order to get his pledge(AO) back from the woman, but he did not find her. 21 He asked the men who lived there, “Where is the shrine prostitute(AP) who was beside the road at Enaim?”

“There hasn’t been any shrine prostitute here,” they said.

22 So he went back to Judah and said, “I didn’t find her. Besides, the men who lived there said, ‘There hasn’t been any shrine prostitute here.’”

23 Then Judah said, “Let her keep what she has,(AQ) or we will become a laughingstock.(AR) After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn’t find her.”

24 About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.”

Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned to death!”(AS)

25 As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. “I am pregnant by the man who owns these,” she said. And she added, “See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are.”(AT)

26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I,(AU) since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.(AV)” And he did not sleep with her again.

27 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb.(AW) 28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife(AX) took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist(AY) and said, “This one came out first.” 29 But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out,(AZ) and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez.[a](BA) 30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist,(BB) came out. And he was named Zerah.[b](BC)

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 38:29 Perez means breaking out.
  2. Genesis 38:30 Zerah can mean scarlet or brightness.

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