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Genesis 38Lexham English Bible (LEB)

Judah and Tamar

38 And it happened that at that time Judah went down from his brothers and pitched his tent near a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. And Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite there whose name was Shua. And he took her and went in to her. And she conceived and bore a son, and he called his name Er. And she conceived again and bore a son, and he called his name Onan. And once again she bore a son, and she called his name Shelah. And he[a] was in Chezib when she bore him. And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. And Er, the firstborn of Judah, was evil in the eyes of Yahweh, and Yahweh killed him. Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to the wife of your brother and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” But Onan knew that the offspring would not be for him, so whenever he went in to the wife of his brother he would waste it on the ground[b] so as not to give offspring to his brother. 10 And what he did was evil in the sight of Yahweh, so he killed him also. 11 Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, “Stay a widow in your father’s house until Shelah my son grows up,” for he feared he would also die[c] like his brother. So Tamar went and stayed in the house of her father. 12 And in the course of time[d] the daughter of Shua, the wife of Judah, died. When Judah was consoled he went up to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite, to Timnah. 13 And it was told to Tamar, saying, “Look, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 So she removed the clothes of her widowhood and covered herself with the veil and disguised herself. And she sat at the entrance to Eynayim, which is on the way to Timnah, for she saw that Shelah was grown but she had not been given to him as a wife. 15 And Judah saw her and reckoned her to be a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 And he turned aside to her at the roadside and said, “Please come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, “What will you give to me that you may come in to me?” 17 And he said, “I will send a kid from the goats of the flock.” And she said, “Only if you give a pledge until you send it.” 18 And he said, “What is the pledge that I must give to you?” And she said, “your seal, your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” And he gave them to her and went in to her. And she conceived by him. 19 And she arose and left, and she removed her veil from herself and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20 And Judah sent the kid from the goats by the hand of his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the hand of the woman, but he could not find her. 21 So he asked the men of her place, saying, “Where is that cult prostitute that was at Eynayim by the roadside?” And they said, “There is no cult prostitute here.” 22 Then he returned to Judah and said, “I could not find her. Morever, the men of the place said, ‘There is no cult prostitute here.’” 23 And Judah said, “Let her take them for herself, lest we be laughed at.[e] Behold, I sent this kid, but you could not find her.” 24 And about three months later[f] it was told to Judah, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the whore, and now, behold, she has conceived by prostitution.” And Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned.” 25 She was brought out, but she sent to her father-in-law saying, “By the man to whom these belong I have conceived.” And she said, “Now discern[g] to whom these belong: the seal and cord and the staff.” 26 Then Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know[h] her again. 27 And it happened that at the time she gave birth that, behold, twins were in her womb. 28 And it happened that at her labor one child put out a hand. And the midwife took it and tied a crimson thread on his hand saying, “This one came out first.” 29 Then his hand drew back and, behold, his brother came out, and she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” And she called his name Perez. 30 And afterward his brother who had the crimson thread on his hand came out. And his name was called Zerah.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 38:5 That is, Judah
  2. Genesis 38:9 Meaning he would spill his semen on the ground
  3. Genesis 38:11 Literally “he thought lest he also will die”
  4. Genesis 38:12 Literally “And the days increased”
  5. Genesis 38:23 Literally “as contempt”
  6. Genesis 38:24 Literally “it happened about three months”
  7. Genesis 38:25 Or “examine”
  8. Genesis 38:26 “Know” is a euphemism for “have sexual relations with”
Lexham English Bible (LEB)

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