Genesis Chapter 38  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Commentary on Gen 38
Judah and Tamar

1It came to pass at that time that Judah went down from his brothers and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.
  2Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua. He took her and went in to her.
  3She conceived and bore a son, and he named him Er.
  4She conceived again and bore a son, and she named him Onan.
  5She yet again bore a son, and named him Shelah; and he was at Chezib when she bore him.

6Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.
  7Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the eyes of Yahweh, so Yahweh killed him.
  8So Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her, and raise up seed to your brother.”
  9But Onan knew that the seed would not be his, so it came to pass when he went in to his brother’s wife that he wasted it on the ground, in order not to give seed to his brother.
  10But what he did was evil in the eyes of Yahweh, and he killed him also.

11Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house, until Shelah my son has grown up.” For he said to himself, “Lest he also die, like his brothers.” Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.

12Now after many days Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died. When Judah was comforted, he went up to his sheepshearers to Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
  13And it was told to Tamar, saying, “Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.”
  14So she took off of her the clothing of her widowhood and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gate of Enaim that is on the road to Timnah, for she saw that Shelah was grown up but she had not been given to him as a wife.
  15And when Judah saw her, he thought that she was a prostitute, because she had covered her face.

16So he turned to her by the road and said, “Come now, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me so that you may come in to me?”

17And he said, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” And she said, “Will you give me a pledge until you send it?”

18And he said, “What pledge should I give you?” Then she said, “Your seal and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” He gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him.
  19Then she arose and went away and took off her veil and put on the clothing of her widowhood.

20And Judah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend the Adullamite to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, but he did not find her.
  21Then he asked the men of her place, saying, “Where is the temple prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?” But they said, “No temple prostitute has been here.”

22So he returned to Judah and said, “I did not find her, and also the men of the place said, ‘No temple prostitute has been here.’”

23So Judah said, “Let her keep them for herself, lest we be shamed. Behold, I sent this young goat but you, you could not find her.”

24Now about three months later it was told to Judah, saying, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has committed prostitution, and moreover, look, she is with child by prostitution.” Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned.”

25But when she was brought out, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, “By the man to whom these belong I am with child.” She also said, “Please identify whose these are; the seal and the cords and the staff.”

26And Judah acknowledged them and said, “She is more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son.” But he knew her again no more.

27Now it came to pass in the time of her travail that behold, twins were in her womb.
  28And it was, as she was giving birth, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.”
  29But it came to pass as he drew back his hand that, behold, his brother came out! So she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” So his name was called Perez.
  30Afterward his brother came out, the one who had the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah.

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