1And at that time Iudah went downe from his brethren, and turned in to a man called Hirah an Adullamite. 2And Iudah sawe there the daughter of a man called Suah a Canaanite: and he tooke her to wife, and went in vnto her. 3So she conceiued and bare a sonne, and he called his name Er. 4And she conceiued againe, and bare a sonne, and she called his name Onan. 5Moreouer she bare yet a sonne, whome she called Shelah: and Iudah was at Chezib when she bare him. 6Then Iudah tooke a wife to Er his first borne sonne whose name was Tamar. 7Now Er the first borne of Iudah was wicked in the sight of the Lord: therefore the Lord slewe him. 8Then Iudah said to Onan, Goe in vnto thy brothers wife, and do the office of a kinsman vnto her, and raise vp seede vnto thy brother. 9And Onan knewe that the seede should not be his: therefore when he went in vnto his brothers wife, he spilled it on the grounde, least he should giue seede vnto his brother. 10And it was wicked in the eyes of the Lord, which he did: wherefore he slewe him also. 11Then said Iudah to Tamar his daughter in lawe, Remaine a widowe in thy fathers house, till Shelah my sonne growe vp (for he thought thus, Least he die as well as his brethren.) So Tamar went and dwelt in her fathers house. 12And in processe of time also the daughter of Shuah Iudahs wife dyed. Then Iudah, when he had left mourning, went vp to his sheepe sherers to Timnah, he, and his neighbour Hirah the Adullamite. 13And it was tolde Tamar, saying, beholde, thy father in lawe goeth vp to Timnah, to shere his sheepe. 14Then she put her widowes garments off from her, and couered her with a vaile, and wrapped her selfe, and sate downe in Pethah-enaim, which is by the way to Timnah, because she sawe that Shelah was growen, and she was not giuen vnto him to wife. 15When Iudah sawe her, he iudged her an whore: for she had couered her face. 16And he turned to the way towardes her, and saide, Come, I pray thee, let me lie with thee. (for he knewe not that she was his daughter in lawe) And she answered, What wilt thou giue me for to lie with me? 17Then said he, I will sende thee a kid of the goates from the flocke. and she said, Well, if thou wilt giue me a pledge, till thou sende it. 18Then he saide, What is the pledge that I shall giue thee? And she answered, Thy signet, and thy cloke, and thy staffe that is in thine hande. So he gaue it her, and lay by her, and she was with childe by him. 19Then she rose, and went and put her vaile from her and put on her widowes raiment. 20Afterwarde Iudah sent a kid of the goates by the hande of his neighbour the Adullamite, for to receiue his pledge from the womans hand: but he found her not. 21Then asked he the men of that place, saying, Where is ye whore, that sate in Enaim by the way side? And they answered, There was no whore here. 22He came therefore to Iudah againe, and said, I can not finde her, and also the men of the place said, There was no whore there. 23Then Iudah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: beholde, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her. 24Now after three moneths, one tolde Iudah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the whore, and lo, with playing the whore, she is great with childe. Then Iudah saide, Bring ye her foorth and let her be burnt. 25When she was brought foorth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, vnto whom these things pertaine, am I with childe: and saide also, Looke, I pray thee, whose these are, the seale, and the cloke, and the staffe. 26Then Iudah knewe them, and said, She is more righteous then I: for she hath done it because I gaue her not to Shelah my sonne. So he lay with her no more. 27Now, when the time was come that she should be deliuered, beholde, there were twinnes in her wombe. 28And when she was in trauell, the one put out his hand: and the midwife tooke and bound a red threde about his hand, saying, This is come out first. 29But when he plucked his hand backe againe, loe, his brother came out, and the midwife said, How hast thou broken the breach vpon thee? and his name was called Pharez. 30And afterward came out his brother that had the red threde about his hande, and his name was called Zarah.
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1-5About that time, Judah separated from his brothers and went to stay 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).
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THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of NavPress. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.