Judah and Tamar
1At that time Judah left his brothers and settled near an Adullamite#Jos 15:35; 1Sm 22:1 named Hirah. 2There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua; he took her as a wife and slept with her. 3She conceived and gave birth to a son, and he named him Er.#Gn 46:12; Nm 26:19 4She conceived again, gave birth to a son, and named him Onan. 5She gave birth to another son and named him Shelah. It was at Chezib that#38:5 LXX reads She was at Chezib when#38:5 Or He was at Chezib when she gave birth to him.
6Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7Now Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the Lord’s sight, and the Lord put him to death.#1Ch 2:3 8Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife. Perform your duty as her brother-in-law#Dt 25:5–10 and produce offspring for your brother.”#Mt 22:24 9But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his, so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he released his semen on the ground so that he would not produce offspring for his brother. 10What he did was evil in the Lord’s sight, so he put him to death also.
11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up.”#Ru 1:12–13 For he thought, “He might die too, like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.
12After a long time#38:12 Lit And there were many days, and Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had finished mourning, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went up to Timnah#Jos 15:10,57 to his sheepshearers. 13Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14So she took off her widow’s clothes, veiled her face,#Gn 24:65 covered herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had grown up, she had not been given to him as a wife. 15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face.
16He went over to her and said, “Come, let me sleep with you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.#Lv 18:15
She said, “What will you give me for sleeping with me?”
17“I will send you a young goat from my flock,” he replied.
But she said, “Only if you leave something with me until you send it.”
18“What should I give you?” he asked.
She answered, “Your signet ring, your cord, and the staff in your hand.” So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19She got up and left, then removed her veil and put her widow’s clothes back on.
20When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get back the items he had left with the woman, he could not find her. 21He asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?”
“There has been no cult prostitute here,” they answered.
22So the Adullamite returned to Judah, saying, “I couldn’t find her, and besides, the men of the place said, ‘There has been no cult prostitute here.’”
23Judah replied, “Let her keep the items for herself; otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send this young goat, but you couldn’t find her.”
24About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law, Tamar, has been acting like a prostitute, and now she is pregnant.”
“Bring her out,” Judah said, “and let her be burned to death!” #Lv 20:14
25As she was being brought out, she sent her father-in-law this message: “I am pregnant by the man to whom these items belong.” And she added, “Examine them. Whose signet ring, cord, and staff are these?”
26Judah recognized them and said, “She is more in the right#38:26 Or more righteous than I,#1Sm 24:17 since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her intimately again.
27When the time came for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb. 28As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand, and the midwife took it and tied a scarlet thread around it, announcing, “This one came out first.” 29But then he pulled his hand back, out came his brother, and she said, “What a breakout you have made for yourself!” So he was named Perez.#38:29 = Breaking Out#Gn 46:12; Nm 26:20; 1Ch 2:4; Mt 1:3 30Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread tied to his hand, came out, and was named Zerah.#38:30 = Brightness of Sunrise; perhaps related to the scarlet thread
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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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