B'resheet (Gen) 38
1(iv) It was at this time that Y’hudah went off from his brothers and settled near a man named Hirah who was an ‘Adulami. 2There Y’hudah saw one of the daughters of a certain Kena‘ani whose name was Shua, and he took her and slept with her. 3She conceived and had a son, whom he named ‘Er. 4She conceived again and had a son, and she called him Onan. 5Then she conceived yet again and had a son whom she called Shelah; he was in K’ziv when she gave birth to him.
6Y’hudah took a wife for ‘Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7But ‘Er, Y’hudah’s firstborn, was evil from Adonai’s perspective, so Adonai killed him. 8Y’hudah said to Onan, “Go and sleep with your brother’s wife — perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her, and preserve your brother’s line of descent.” 9However, Onan knew that the child would not count as his; so whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s wife, he spilled the semen on the ground, so as not to give his brother offspring. 10What he did was evil from Adonai’s perspective, so he killed him too.
11Then Y’hudah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Stay a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up”; for he thought, “I don’t want him to die too, like his brothers.” So Tamar went and lived at home with her father. 12In due time, Shua’s daughter, the wife of Y’hudah, died. After Y’hudah had been comforted, he went up to be with his sheep-shearers in Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the ‘Adulami. 13Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law has gone up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she took off her widow’s clothes, completely covered her face with her veil, and sat at the entrance to ‘Einayim, which is on the way to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah had grown up, but she still was not being given to him as his wife. 15When Y’hudah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, because she had covered her face. 16So he went over to her where she was sitting and said, not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, “Come, let me sleep with you.” She answered, “What will you pay to sleep with me?” 17He said, “I will send you a kid from the flock of goats.” She said, “Will you also give me something as a guarantee until you send it” 18He answered, “What should I give you as a guarantee?” She said, “Your seal, with its cord, and the staff you’re carrying in your hand.” So he gave them to her, then went and slept with her; and she conceived by him. 19She got up and went away, took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes.
20Y’hudah sent the kid with his friend the ‘Adulami to receive the guarantee items back from the woman, but he couldn’t find her. 21He asked the people near where she had been, “Where is the prostitute who was on the road at ‘Einayim?” But they answered, “There hasn’t been any prostitute here.” 22So he returned to Y’hudah and said, “I couldn’t find her; also the people there said, ‘There hasn’t been any prostitute here.’” 23Y’hudah said, “All right, let her keep the things, so that we won’t be publicly shamed. I sent the kid, but you didn’t find her.”
24About three months later Y’hudah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been acting like a whore; moreover, she is pregnant as a result of her prostitution.” Y’hudah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned alive!” 25When she was brought out, she sent this message to her father-in-law: “I am pregnant by the man to whom these things belong. Determine, I beg you, whose these are — the signet, the cords and the staff.” 26Then Y’hudah acknowledged owning them. He said, “She is more righteous than I, because I didn’t let her become the wife of my son Shelah.” And he never slept with her again.
27When she went into labor, it became evident that she was going to have twins. 28As she was in labor, one of them put out his hand; and the midwife took his hand and tied a scarlet thread on it, saying, “This one came out first.” 29But then he withdrew his hand, and his brother came out; so she said, “How did you manage to break out first?” Therefore he was named Peretz [breaking out]. 30Then out came his brother, with the scarlet thread on his hand, and he was given the name Zerach [scarlet].
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Judah and Tamar
1About that time, Judah left his brothers and went to stay with a man named Hirah from the town of Adullam. 2Judah met a Canaanite girl there and married her. The girl’s father was named Shua. 3The Canaanite girl gave birth to a son and named him Er. 4Later, she gave birth to another son and named him Onan. 5Then she had another son named Shelah. Judah lived in Kezib when his third son was born.
6Judah chose a woman named Tamar to be the wife of his first son Er. 7But Er did many bad things. The Lord was not happy with him, so the Lord killed him. 8Then Judah said to Er’s brother Onan, “Go and sleep with your dead brother’s wife.#38:8 Go and sleep … wife In Israel if a man died without children, one of his brothers would take the widow. If a child was born, it would be considered the dead man’s child. Become like a husband to her. If children are born, they will belong to your brother Er.”
9Onan knew that the children from this union would not belong to him. He had sexual relations with Tamar, but he did not allow himself to stay inside her. 10This made the Lord angry. So he killed Onan also. 11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Go back to your father’s house. Stay there and don’t marry until my young son Shelah grows up.” Judah was afraid that Shelah would also be killed like his brothers. So Tamar went back to her father’s home.
12Later, Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah’s time of sadness, he went to Timnah with his friend Hirah from Adullam. Judah went to Timnah to have the wool cut from his sheep. 13Tamar learned that Judah, her father-in-law, was going to Timnah to cut the wool from his sheep. 14Tamar always wore clothes that showed that she was a widow. So she put on some different clothes and covered her face with a veil. Then she sat down near the road going to Enaim, a town near Timnah. Tamar knew that Judah’s younger son Shelah was now grown up, but Judah would not make plans for her to marry him.
15Judah traveled on that road and saw her, but he thought that she was a prostitute. (Her face was covered with a veil like a prostitute.) 16So he went to her and said, “Let me have sex with you.” (Judah did not know that she was Tamar, his daughter-in-law.)
She said, “How much will you give me?”
17Judah answered, “I will send you a young goat from my flock.”
She answered, “I agree to that. But first you must give me something to keep until you send me the goat.”
18Judah asked, “What do you want me to give you as proof that I will send you the goat?”
Tamar answered, “Give me your seal and its string#38:18 seal … string People wrote a contract, folded it, tied it with string, put wax or clay on the string, and pressed the seal onto it to seal it. This was like signing the agreement. Also in verse 25. and your walking stick.” Judah gave these things to her. Then Judah and Tamar had sexual relations, and she became pregnant. 19Then Tamar went home, took off her veil that covered her face, and again put on the special clothes that showed she was a widow.
20Later, Judah sent his friend Hirah to Enaim to give the prostitute the goat he promised. Judah also told Hirah to get the special seal and the walking stick from her, but Hirah could not find her. 21He asked some of the men at the town of Enaim, “Where is the prostitute who was here by the road?”
The men answered, “There has never been a prostitute here.”
22So Judah’s friend went back to Judah and said, “I could not find the woman. The men who live in that place said that there was never a prostitute there.”
23So Judah said, “Let her keep the things. I don’t want people to laugh at us. I tried to give her the goat, but we could not find her. That is enough.”
Tamar Is Pregnant
24About three months later, someone told Judah, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar sinned like a prostitute, and now she is pregnant.”
Then Judah said, “Take her out and burn her.”
25The men went to Tamar to kill her, but she sent a message to her father-in-law that said, “The man who made me pregnant is the man who owns these things. Look at them. Whose are they? Whose special seal and string is this? Whose walking stick is this?”
26Judah recognized these things and said, “She is right. I was wrong. I did not give her my son Shelah like I promised.” And Judah did not sleep with her again.
27The time came for Tamar to give birth. She was going to have twins. 28While she was giving birth, one baby put his hand out. The nurse tied a red string on the hand and said, “This baby was born first.” 29But that baby pulled his hand back in, so the other baby was born first. So the nurse said, “You were able to break out first!” So they named him Perez.#38:29 Perez This name is like the word meaning “to break out.” 30After this, the other baby was born. This was the baby with the red string on his hand. They named him Zerah.#38:30 Zerah This name is like the word meaning “bright.”
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