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The third one was born when Judah was in Chezib, and she named him Shelah.

Later, Judah chose Tamar as a wife for Er, his oldest son. But Er was very evil, and the Lord took his life. So Judah told Onan, “It’s your duty to marry Tamar and have a child for your brother.”[a]

Onan knew the child would not be his,[b] and when he had sex with Tamar, he made sure that she would not get pregnant. 10 The Lord wasn’t pleased with Onan and took his life too.

11 Judah 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.

12 Some 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. 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

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Footnotes

  1. 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).
  2. 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.