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Judah and Tamar

38:1 At that time Judah left1 his brothers and stayed2 with an Adullamite man3 named Hirah.

38:2 There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite man4 named Shua.5 Judah acquired her as a wife6 and had marital relations with her.7 38:3 She became pregnant8 and had a son. Judah named9 him Er. 38:4 She became pregnant again and had another son, whom she named Onan. 38:5 Then she had10 yet another son, whom she named Shelah. She gave birth to him in Kezib.11

38:6 Judah acquired12 a wife for Er his firstborn; her name was Tamar. 38:7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord killed him.

38:8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Have sexual relations with13 your brother’s wife and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her so that you may raise14 up a descendant for your brother.”15 38:9 But Onan knew that the child16 would not be considered his.17 So whenever18 he had sexual relations with19 his brother’s wife, he withdrew prematurely20 so as not to give his brother a descendant. 38:10 What he did was evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord21 killed him too.

38:11 Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s house until Shelah my son grows up.” For he thought,22 “I don’t want him to die like his brothers.”23 So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.

38:12 After some time24 Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah was consoled, he left for Timnah to visit his sheepshearers, along with25 his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 38:13 Tamar was told,26 “Look, your father-in-law is going up27 to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 38:14 So she removed her widow’s clothes and covered herself with a veil. She wrapped herself and sat at the entrance to Enaim which is on the way to Timnah. (She did this because28 she saw that she had not been given to Shelah as a wife, even though he had now grown up.)29

38:15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute30 because she had covered her face. 38:16 He turned aside to her along the road and said, “Come on! I want to have sex with you.”31 (He did not realize32 it was his daughter-in-law.) She asked, “What will you give me in exchange for having sex with you?”33 38:17 He replied, “I’ll send you a young goat from the flock.” She asked, “Will you give me a pledge until you send it?”34 38:18 He said, “What pledge should I give you?” She replied, “Your seal, your cord, and the staff that’s in your hand.” So he gave them to her and had sex with her.35 She became pregnant by him. 38:19 She left immediately,36 removed her veil, and put on her widow’s clothes.

38:20 Then Judah had his friend Hirah37 the Adullamite take a young goat to get back from the woman the items he had given in pledge,38 but Hirah39 could not find her. 38:21 He asked the men who were there,40 “Where is the cult prostitute41 who was at Enaim by the road?” But they replied, “There has been no cult prostitute here.” 38:22 So he returned to Judah and said, “I couldn’t find her. Moreover, the men of the place said, ‘There has been no cult prostitute here.’ ” 38:23 Judah said, “Let her keep the things42 for herself. Otherwise we will appear to be dishonest.43 I did indeed send this young goat, but you couldn’t find her.”

38:24 After three months Judah was told,44 “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has turned to prostitution,45 and as a result she has become pregnant.”46 Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned!” 38:25 While they were bringing her out, she sent word47 to her father-in-law: “I am pregnant by the man to whom these belong.”48 Then she said, “Identify49 the one to whom the seal, cord, and staff belong.” 38:26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is more upright50 than I am, because I wouldn’t give her to Shelah my son.” He did not have sexual relations with her51 again.

38:27 When it was time for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb. 38:28 While she was giving birth, one child52 put out his hand, and the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 38:29 But then he drew back his hand, and his brother came out before him.53 She said, “How you have broken out of the womb!”54 So he was named Perez.55 38:30 Afterward his brother came out—the one who had the scarlet thread on his hand—and he was named Zerah.56


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