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Genesis 38:11-30 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

11 Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up”—for he feared that Shelah also might die like his brothers. So Tamar went to live in her father’s house.

12 Time passed, and the daughter of Shua, Judah’s wife, died. After Judah completed the period of mourning, he went up to Timnah, to those who were shearing his sheep, in company with his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13 Then Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is on his way up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 So she took off her widow’s garments, covered herself with a shawl, and having wrapped herself sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah; for she was aware that, although Shelah was now grown up, she had not been given to him in marriage. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, since she had covered her face. 16 So he went over to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me have intercourse with you,” for he did not realize that she was his daughter-in-law. She replied, “What will you pay me for letting you have intercourse with me?” 17 He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” “Very well,” she said, “provided you leave me a pledge until you send it.” 18 Judah asked, “What pledge should I leave you?” She answered, “Your seal and cord,[a] and the staff in your hand.” So he gave them to her and had intercourse with her, and she conceived by him. 19 After she got up and went away, she took off her shawl and put on her widow’s garments again.

20 Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to recover the pledge from the woman; but he did not find her. 21 So he asked the men of that place, “Where is the prostitute,[b] the one by the roadside in Enaim?” But they answered, “No prostitute has been here.” 22 He went back to Judah and told him, “I did not find her; and besides, the men of the place said, ‘No prostitute has been here.’” 23 “Let her keep the things,” Judah replied; “otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you did not find her.”

24 About three months later, Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has acted like a harlot and now she is pregnant from her harlotry.” Judah said, “Bring her out; let her be burned.” 25 But as she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “It is by the man to whom these things belong that I am pregnant.” Then she said, “See whose seal and cord and staff these are.” 26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is in the right rather than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” He had no further sexual relations with her.

27 When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb. 28 While she was giving birth, one put out his hand; and the midwife took and tied a crimson thread on his hand, noting, “This one came out first.” 29 But as he withdrew his hand, his brother came out; and she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” So he was called Perez.[c] 30 Afterward his brother, who had the crimson thread on his hand, came out; he was called Zerah.[d]

Footnotes:

  1. 38:18 Seal and cord: the cylinder seal, through which a hole was bored lengthwise so that it could be worn from the neck by a cord, was a distinctive means of identification. Apparently one’s staff could also be marked with some sign of identification (cf. Nm 17:17–18).
  2. 38:21 Prostitute: the Hebrew term qedesha, lit., “consecrated woman,” designates a woman associated with a sanctuary whose activities could include prostitution; cf. Dt 23:18; Hos 4:14, where the same Hebrew word is used. In 38:15 and 24 the common word for prostitute, zona, is used.
  3. 38:29 He was called Perez: the Hebrew word means “breach.”
  4. 38:30 He was called Zerah: a name connected here by popular etymology with a Hebrew word for the red light of dawn, alluding apparently to the crimson thread.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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