Judah and Tamar
1About that time Judah went down from his brothers and he camped near an Adullamite man, whose name was Hirah.
2There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite man whose name was Shua, and he took her as wife and slept with her.
3Then she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and he named him Er.
4She became pregnant again and gave birth to a son, and she named him Onan.
5She gave birth to yet another son and she called him Shelah. He was in Chezib when she gave birth to him.
6Then Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.
7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in Adonai’s eyes, so Adonai put him to death.
8Then Judah said to Onan, go to your brother’s wife to perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up a seed for your brother.
9But Onan knew that the seed would not be his. So every time he went to his brother’s wife he would destroy it on the ground so as not to provide a seed for his brother.
10What he did was evil in Adonai’s eyes, so He put him to death also.
11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Stay as a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up,” because he thought, “Otherwise he too might die, like his brothers.” So Tamar went and stayed in her father’s house.
12Now the days became many, and Shua’s daughter, Judah’s wife, died. After Judah consoled himself, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
13Then Tamar was told, “Look! Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his flocks.”
14And she removed her widow’s clothes from herself, covered herself with a veil, wrapped herself, and sat by the entrance to the springs on the way to Timnah (for she saw that Shelah had grown up and she had not been given to him as a wife).
15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute because she had covered her face.
16So he turned aside to her along the way and said, “Please let me sleep with you” (for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law). “What,” she asked, “will you give me to sleep with me?”
17“I will send you a young goat from the flock,” he said, “Provided you give a pledge until you send it,” she said.
18“What kind of pledge shall I give you?” he asked. “Your seal, and your cord, and your staff in your hand,” she said. So he gave them to her and he slept with her, and she got pregnant by him.
19After she got up and left, she removed her veil from herself and put on her widow’s clothes.
20When Judah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the woman’s hand, he could not find her.
21He asked the men of her area saying, “Where is the cult prostitute? She was at the springs along the way.” But they said, “There hasn’t been a cult prostitute here.”
22So he returned to Judah and said, “I couldn’t find her, and the people of that place also said, ‘There hasn’t been a cult prostitute here.’”
23Then Judah said, “Let her take them for herself, or we’ll be held in contempt. Behold, 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 a prostitute—look, she’s even pregnant by prostitution.” “Bring her out!” Judah said, “and let her be burned.”
25As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law saying, “I’m pregnant by the man to whom these things belong.” Then she said, “Do you recognize whose these are—the seal, the cords and the staff?”
26Then Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I didn’t give her to my son Shelah.” He was not intimate with her again.
27Now when it was time for her to give birth, behold there were twins in her womb.
28While she was giving birth, one stuck out his hand, and the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it to his hand saying, “This one came out first.”
29But as he was pulling his hand back in, behold, his brother came out. So she said, “How you have broken through! The breach is because of you.” And he named him Perez.
30Afterward his brother, on whose hand was the scarlet thread, came out. And he named him Zerah.
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Judah and Tamar
1About that time Judah left his brothers in the hill country and went to live near his friend Hirah in the town of Adullam. 2While there he met the daughter of Shua, a Canaanite man. Judah married her, 3and they had three sons. He named the first one Er; 4she named the next one Onan. 5The third one was born when Judah was in Chezib, and she named him Shelah.
6Later, Judah chose Tamar as a wife for Er, his oldest son. 7But Er was very evil, and the Lord took his life. 8So Judah told Onan, “It's your duty to marry Tamar and have a child for your brother.”#38.8 It's your duty … child … brother: If a man died without having children, his brother was to marry the dead man's wife and have a child, who was to be considered the child of the dead brother (see Deuteronomy 25.5,6).
9Onan knew the child would not be his,#38.9 the child … not be his: When Judah died, Onan would get his dead brother's share of the inheritance, but if his dead brother had a son, the inheritance would go to him instead. and when he had sex with Tamar, he made sure that she would not get pregnant. 10The Lord wasn't pleased with Onan and took his life too.
11Judah did not want the same thing to happen to his son Shelah, and he told Tamar, “Go home to your father and live there as a widow until my son Shelah is grown.” So Tamar went to live with her father.
12Some years later Judah's wife died, and he mourned for her. He then went with his friend Hirah to the town of Timnah, where his sheep were being sheared. 13Tamar found out that her father-in-law Judah was going to Timnah to shear his sheep. 14She also realized that Shelah was now a grown man, but she had not been allowed to marry him. So she decided to dress in something other than her widow's clothes and to cover her face with a veil. After this, she sat outside the town of Enaim on the road to Timnah.
15When Judah came along, he did not recognize her because of the veil. He thought she was a prostitute 16and asked her to sleep with him. She asked, “What will you give me if I do?”
17“One of my young goats,” he answered.
“What will you give me to keep until you send the goat?” she asked.
18“What do you want?” he asked in return.
“The ring on that cord around your neck,” was her reply. “I also want the special walking stick#38.18 ring … walking stick: The ring was shaped like a cylinder and could be rolled over soft clay as a way of sealing special documents. The walking stick was probably a symbol of power and the sign of leadership in the tribe, though it may have been a shepherd's rod. you have with you.” He gave them to her, they slept together, and she became pregnant.
19After returning home, Tamar took off the veil and dressed in her widow's clothes again.
20Judah asked his friend Hirah take a goat to the woman, so he could get back the ring and walking stick, but she wasn't there. 21Hirah asked the people of Enaim, “Where is the prostitute who sat along the road outside your town?”
“There's never been one here,” they answered.
22Hirah went back and told Judah, “I couldn't find the woman, and the people of Enaim said no prostitute had ever been there.”
23“If you couldn't find her, we'll just let her keep the things I gave her,” Judah answered. “And we'd better forget about the goat, or else we'll look like fools.”
24About three months later someone told Judah, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has behaved like a prostitute, and now she's pregnant!”
“Drag her out of town and burn her to death!” Judah shouted.
25As Tamar was being dragged off, she sent someone to tell her father-in-law, “The man who gave me this ring, this cord, and this walking stick is the one who got me pregnant.”
26“Those are mine!” Judah admitted. “She's a better person than I am, because I broke my promise to let her marry my son Shelah.” After this, Judah never slept with her again.
27-28Tamar later gave birth to twins. But before either of them was born, one of them stuck a hand out of her womb. The woman who was helping tied a red thread around the baby's hand and explained, “This one came out first.”
29At once his hand went back in, and the other child was born first. The woman then said, “What an opening you've made for yourself!” So they named the baby Perez.#38.29 Perez: In Hebrew “Perez” sounds like “opening.” 30When the brother with the red thread was born, they named him Zerah.#38.30 Zerah: In Hebrew “Zerah” means “bright,” probably referring to the red thread.
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