38 1-5 About that time, Judah separated from his brothers and hooked up with a man in Adullam named Hirah. While there, Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua. He married her, they went to bed, she became pregnant and had a son named Er. She got pregnant again and had a son named Onan. She had still another son; she named this one Shelah. They were living at Kezib when she had him.

6-7 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn. Her name was Tamar. But Judah’s firstborn, Er, grievously offended God and God took his life.

8-10 So Judah told Onan, “Go and sleep with your brother’s widow; it’s the duty of a brother-in-law to keep your brother’s line alive.” But Onan knew that the child wouldn’t be his, so whenever he slept with his brother’s widow he spilled his semen on the ground so he wouldn’t produce a child for his brother. God was much offended by what he did and also took his life.

11 So Judah stepped in and told his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow at home with your father until my son Shelah grows up.” He was worried that Shelah would also end up dead, just like his brothers. So Tamar went to live with her father.

12 Time passed. Judah’s wife, Shua’s daughter, died. When the time of mourning was over, Judah with his friend Hirah of Adullam went to Timnah for the sheep shearing.

13-14 Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law has gone to Timnah to shear his sheep.” She took off her widow’s clothes, put on a veil to disguise herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim which is on the road to Timnah. She realized by now that even though Shelah was grown up, she wasn’t going to be married to him.

15 Judah saw her and assumed she was a prostitute since she had veiled her face. He left the road and went over to her. He said, “Let me sleep with you.” He had no idea that she was his daughter-in-law.

Read full chapter

Bible Gateway Recommends

The Message Devotional Bible, Hardcover
The Message Devotional Bible, Hardcover
Retail: $29.99
Our Price: $21.99
Save: $8.00 (27%)
5.0 of 5.0 stars
The Message Bible, Dusty Rose Floral Large Print Leather-Look
The Message Bible, Dusty Rose Floral Large Print Leather-Look
Retail: $59.99
Our Price: $39.99
Save: $20.00 (33%)
4.5 of 5.0 stars
The Message, Large Print Edition: Deluxe Charcoal Linen  Hardcover
The Message, Large Print Edition: Deluxe Charcoal Linen Hardcover
Retail: $49.99
Our Price: $33.49
Save: $16.50 (33%)
5.0 of 5.0 stars
The Message Outreach Edition, Large-Print, softcover
The Message Outreach Edition, Large-Print, softcover
Retail: $9.99
Our Price: $5.99
Save: $4.00 (40%)