Genesis 38

Judah and Shuah's daughter
38:1-5

38:1 And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.

38:2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.

At about that time [1], Judah had a sex with a Canaanite woman (the daughter of Shuah), which resulted in three sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah.

38:3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.

38:4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.

38:5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.

Er, Tamar, and Onan
38:6-12

38:6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.

Judah selected a wife for Er, whose name was Tamar.

38:7 And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.

Er was wicked in God's sight, and God killed him. [2]

38:8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

Judah said unto Onan,

Go have sex with your dead brother's wife. [3]

38:9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

38:10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.

Onan spills his seed on the ground, so God kills him, too. [4]

38:11 Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father's house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house.

38:12 And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.

After God killed her husband (Er) and his brother (Onan), Judah said to his daughter-in-law, Tamar,

Remain a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah is old enough to have sex with you.

It would be a shame if he also died before impregnating you.

Some time later, Judah's wife (the daughter of Shuah) died and he went to his sheepshearer's place in Timnath.

Judah and Tamar
38:13-30

38:13 And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep.

Tamar heard that her father-in-law was in Timnath to shear his sheep.

38:14 And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.

So she took off her widow's garments, covered herself with a veil, and sat in an open place on the way to Timnath.

(Because Judah's son, Shelah, was grown and she hadn't been given to him as a wife.)

38:15 When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.

When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, because she had covered her face.

38:16 And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?

So Judah said,
Let me have sex with you.

(He didn't know she was his daughter-in-law.) [5]

And she said,
What will you give me to have sex with you?

38:17 And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it?

Judah said,

I'll give you a young goat.

38:18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.

38:19 And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.

Tamar asked for Judah's seal, bracelets, and staff as a deposit until he sent the goat.

Judah gave them to Tamar and he impregnated her.

38:20 And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman's hand: but he found her not.

38:21 Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place.

38:22 And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place.

Judah sent a friend to deliver the goat to Tamar, so he could get back his deposit.

But he couldn't find her.

38:23 And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.

Judah said,

Let her keep the deposit, so we aren't shamed.

38:24 And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.

A few months later, someone told Judah,

Tamar, your daughter-in-law, has played the harlot, and is with child by whoredom.

Judah said,

Find her and burn her to death. [6]

38:25 When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.

When Tamar was found and was brought to Judah, She said,

I was impregnated by a man who gave me these things as a deposit.

Who is the man who owns this seal, these bracelets, and this staff?

38:26 And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.

Judah acknowledged them, and said,

She is more righteous than I, because I didn't make my son Shelah have sex with her.

38:27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.

38:28 And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.

38:29 And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez.

38:30 And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.

Tamar had twins after she was impregnated by her father-in-law. [7]