Genesis 38:13-28Contemporary English Version (CEV)
13 Tamar found out that her father-in-law Judah was going to Timnah to shear his sheep. 14 She 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.
15 When Judah came along, he did not recognize her because of the veil. He thought she was a prostitute 16 and 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[a] you have with you.” He gave them to her, they slept together, and she became pregnant.
19 After returning home, Tamar took off the veil and dressed in her widow’s clothes again.
20 Judah had his friend Hirah take a goat to the woman, so he could get back the ring and walking stick, but she wasn’t there. 21 Hirah 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.
22 Hirah 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.”
24 About 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.
25 As 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.
27-28 Tamar 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.”
38.18ring. . . 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.
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