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She conceived and bore a son, whom she named Er. Again she conceived and bore a son, whom she named Onan. Then she bore still another son, whom she named Shelah. She was in Chezib[a] when she bore him.(A)

Judah got a wife named Tamar for his firstborn, Er. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, greatly offended the Lord; so the Lord took his life.(B) (C)Then Judah said to Onan, “Have intercourse with your brother’s wife, in fulfillment of your duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother’s line.”[b] Onan, however, knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid giving offspring to his brother. 10 What he did greatly offended the Lord, and the Lord took his life too.

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Footnotes

  1. 38:5 Chezib: a variant form of Achzib (Jos 15:44; Mi 1:14), a town in the Judean Shephelah.
  2. 38:8 Preserve your brother’s line: lit., “raise up seed for your brother”: an allusion to the law of levirate, or “brother-in-law,” marriage; see notes on Dt 25:5; Ru 2:20. Onan’s violation of this law brought on him God’s punishment (vv. 9–10).

29 (A)But as he withdrew his hand, his brother came out; and she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” So he was called Perez.[a] 30 Afterward his brother, who had the crimson thread on his hand, came out; he was called Zerah.[b](B)

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Footnotes

  1. 38:29 He was called Perez: the Hebrew word means “breach.”
  2. 38:30 He was called Zerah: a name connected here by popular etymology with a Hebrew word for the red light of dawn, alluding apparently to the crimson thread.

19 The sons of Judah were Er and Onan. Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan.(A)

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12 With the offspring the Lord will give you from this young woman, may your house become like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”[a]

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Footnotes

  1. 4:12 Gn 38 contains a story about Tamar similar to Ruth’s in levirate marriage. Judah, under less laudable circumstances, fulfills the same role as Boaz will, and Perez, son of Judah and Tamar, perpetuates the line. Thus two non-Israelite women, Tamar and Ruth, are important links in David’s genealogy.

The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.(A)

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