Genesis 38

At about that time, Judah went down away from his brothers, and turned his camp aside
Towards an Adullamite man whose name was Hirah, and that’s where Judah had found a bride.
Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite man whose name was Shua; she was the one.
He took her as a wife and came into her. She became pregnant and bore him a son,
He named him “Er”. Then she became pregnant again, bearing a son whom she named “Onan”.
Once again she bore a son, and named him “Shelah”; meanwhile he did lie in Chezib land.
Judah took a wife for Er, his firstborn. The date was palmed off on a girl named Tamar.
But Judah’s firstborn Er was evil in the Lord’s eyes, and so he did not make it far.
The Lord caused him to die. Then Judah said to Onan, “Come into the wife of your brother,
Do a brother-in-law’s duty, preserve his seed, so the widow may still be a mother.”
But Onan knew that the seed would not be his, and his vexation at this was profound.
So whenever he came into his brother’s wife, he let it fall to waste on the ground,
That way Onan did not provide seed for his brother. In the Lord’s eyes, this was evil,
So He caused him to die as well. Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Still,
Sit as a widow in the house of your father until Shelah my son is grown up.”
For he said to himself, “Otherwise he will die like his brothers from Tamar’s bad luck.”
So Tamar went and stayed in the house of her father. And after that, many days passed.
Then Shua’s daughter, Judah’s wife, died. And when Judah had finished his mourning at last,
He went up with Hirah the Adullamite to Timnah to see his sheepshearers’ keep.
And Tamar was told, “Here, your father-in-law is going to Timnah to shear his sheep.”
Tamar took off her widow’s clothes, covered her face with a veil, wrapped herself, and sat down
By the entrance to Enayim (”Two Wells”) which is on the road that leads to Timnah town,
For she saw that Shelah had grown up, yet she had not been given to him as a wife.
When Judah saw her, he thought that she was a whore, for she was dressed like one of that life,
With her face covered up. He went over to her and said, “Come, let me come in to you.”
(For he did not know that it was Tamar his daughter-in-law, with her face hid from view.)
She said, “What will you give me for coming in to me?” He said, “I myself will have sent
A goat kid from my flock.” She said, “I will need a pledge, until I receive your payment.”
He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She said, “Your seal, your cord, and the staff in your hand.”
So he gave them to her and then came in to her, and by Judah she became pregnant.
She rose and went away, then she took off her veil, and put on her widow’s clothes once more.
Now when Judah had sent the goat kid by his friend the Adullamite, to set the score,
He was sent to fetch the pledge from the woman, but he couldn’t find her to get what was owed.
So he asked the townspeople, “Where is the cult prostitute near Enayim by the road?”
They said, “There’s no cult prostitute here!” So he went back to Judah, and said with a frown,
“I couldn’t find her, and also, the townspeople said, ‘There’s no cult-prostitute in this town.”
Judah said, “Let her keep my pledge for herself, otherwise we’ll become a laughing-stock.
I did send her the kid, but you could not find her, and all over the town you did walk.”

Three months later, Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been playing the whore,
In fact, she is with child from harlotry!” Judah said, “These are things she must burn for;
Bring her out and let her be burned!” But as she was being brought out, a message she sent
To her father-in-law saying, “By the man to whom these things belong I am pregnant.”
And she said, “Here are seal and cords and staff, now recognize, pray, to whom they belong.”
Judah recognized them and said, “She is in the right, while I have been wrong all along!
For I should have given her to Shelah my son.” And he did not lie with her again.
The time came for Tamar to give birth, there were twins in her womb. She was in labor, when
One of them put a hand out. The midwife tied a scarlet thread to his hand signifying
That he had come out first. But just then he pulled back his hand, and his brother came out crying.
And she said, “What a breach you have breached for yourself!” So “Perez” (or “Breach”) was the boy’s name.
Then his brother came out, the red thread on his hand, so “Zerah” (”Red of Dawn”) he became.

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