The Bible in Its Traditions

Genesis 38:1–30

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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.

About the same time, Judah, descending from his brothers, turned toward an Adullamite man, named Hirah.

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

And she conceived, and bore a son; and he called his name Er.

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And she conceived again, and bore a son; and she called his name Onan.

And conceiving offspring again, having given birth to a son, she called him Onan.

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And she yet again bore a son, and called his name Shelah; and he was at Chezib, when she bore him.

Likewise, she bore a third, whom she called Shelah, after whose birth, she ceased to bear any more.

And she conceived again, and bore a son; and he called his name Shelah; and after she bore him she stopped bearing.

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And Judah took a wife for Er his first-born, and her name was Tamar.

Then Judah gave a wife to his first born Er, whose name was Tamar.

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And Er, Judah's first-born, was wicked in the sight of YHWH; and the YHWH slew him.

And Er, the first-born of Judas, was wicked before the Lord; and God killed him.

And it also happened that Er, the first born of Judah, was wicked in the sight of the Lord and was killed by him.

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And Judah said unto Onan: 'Go in unto thy brother's wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her, and raise up seed to thy brother.'

And Judas said to Aunan, Go in to thy brother’s wife, and marry her as her brother-in-law, and raise up seed to thy brother.

Therefore, Judah said to his son Onan: “Enter to the wife of your brother, and associate with her, so that you may raise offspring to your brother.”

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And Onan knew that the seed would 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 he should give seed to his brother.

He, knowing that the sons to be born would not be his, when he entered to the wife of his brother, he spilled his seed on the ground, lest children should be born in his brother’s name.

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10  And the thing which he did was evil in the sight of YHWH; and He slew him also.

10  And his doing this appeared evil before God; and he slew him also.

10  And for this reason, the Lord struck him down, because he did a detestable thing.

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

11  And Judas said to Thamar, his daughter-in-law, Sit thou a widow in the house of thy father-in-law, until Selom my son be grown; for he said, lest he also die as his brethren; and Thamar departed, and sat in the house of her father.

11  Because of this matter, Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Be a widow in your father’s house, until my son Shelah grows up.” For he was afraid, lest he also might die, just as his brothers did. She went away, and she lived in her father’s house.

12  And in process of time Shua's daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheep- shearers to Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.

12  And the days were fulfilled, and Sava the wife of Judas died; and Judas, being comforted, went to them that sheared his sheep, himself and Iras his Shepherd the Odollamite, to Thamna.

12  Then, after many days had passed, the daughter of Shua, the wife of Judah, died. And when he accepted consolation after his mourning, he went up to the shearers of his sheep at Timnah, he and Hirah, the herdsman of the Adullamite flock.

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

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14  And she put off from her the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the entrance of Enaim, which is by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him to wife.

14  And having taken off the garments of her widowhood from her, she put on a veil, and ornamented her face, and sat by the gates of Ænan, which is in the way to Thamna, for she saw that Selom was grown; but he gave her not to him for a wife.

14  And storing away the garments of her widowhood, she took up a veil. And changing her clothing, she sat at the crossroad that leads to Timnah, because Shelah had grown up, and she had not received him as a husband.

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15  When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; for she had covered her face.

15  And when Judas saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; for she covered her face, and he knew her not.

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16  And he turned unto her by the way, and said: 'Come, 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?'

16  And he went out of his way to her, and said to her, Let me come in to thee; for he knew not that she was his daughter-in-law; and she said, What wilt thou give me if thou shouldest come in to me?

16  And entering to her, he said, “Permit me to join with you.” For he did not know her to be his daughter-in-law. And she responded, “What will you give to me, to enjoy me as a concubine?”

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

17  He said, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” And again, she said, “I will allow what you want, if you give me a pledge, until you may send what you promise.”

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18  And he said: 'What pledge shall I give thee?' And she said: 'Thy signet and thy cord, and thy staff that is in thy hand.' And he gave them to her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.

18  Judah said, “What do you want to be given for a pledge?” She responded, “Your ring and bracelet, and the staff that you hold in your hand.” Thereupon, the woman, from one sexual encounter, conceived.

18  And he said, What kind of a pledge shall I give you? And she said, Your ring and your robe and the staff that is in your hand. So he gave them to her, and then went in unto her, and she conceived by him.

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19  And she arose, and went away, and put off her veil from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.

19  And she arose and went away. And storing away the garments that she had taken up, she was clothed in the garments of her widowhood.

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

20  Then Judah sent a young goat by his shepherd, the Adullamite, so that he might receive the pledge that he had given to the woman. But, when he had not found her,

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21  Then he asked the men of her place, saying: 'Where is the harlot, that was at Enaim by the wayside?' And they said: 'There hath been no harlot here.'

21  And he asked the men of the place, Where is the harlot who was in Ænan by the way-side? and they said, There was no harlot here.

21  he questioned the men of that place: “Where is the woman who sat at the crossroad?” And they all responded, “There has been no harlot in this place.”

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22  And he returned to Judah, and said: 'I have not found her; and also the men of the place said: There hath been no harlot here.'

22  He returned to Judah, and he said to him: “I did not find her. Moreover, the men of that place told me that a prostitute had never sat there.”

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

23  Judah said: “Let her hold herself to blame. Certainly, she is not able to accuse us of a lie. I sent the young goat that I had promised, and you did not find her.”

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 moreover, behold, she is with child by harlotry.' And Judah said: 'Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.'

24  And behold, after three months, they reported to Judah, saying, “Tamar, your daughter-in-law, has committed fornication and her abdomen appears to be enlarged.” And Judah said, “Produce her, so that she may be burned.”

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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 the cords, and the staff.'

25  And as they were bringing her, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, I am with child by the man whose these things are; and she said, See whose is this ring and bracelet and staff.

25  But when she was led out to the punishment, she sent to her father-in-law, saying: “I conceived by the man to whom these things belong. Recognize whose ring, and bracelet, and staff this is.”

26  And Judah acknowledged them, and said: 'She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son.' And he knew her again no more.

26  And Judas knew them, and said, Thamar is cleared rather than I, forasmuch as I gave her not to Selom my son: and he knew her not again.

26  But he, acknowledging the gifts, said: “She is more just than I am. For I did not deliver her to my son Shelah.” However, he knew her no more.

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

27  Then, at the moment of birth, there appeared twins in the womb. And so, in the very delivery of the infants, one put forth a hand, on which the midwife tied a scarlet thread, saying,

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

28  And it came to pass as she was bringing forth, one thrust forth his hand, and the midwife having taken hold of it, bound upon hid hand a scarlet thread, saying, This one shall come out first.

28  “This one will go out first.”

29  And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold his brother came out; and she said: 'Wherefore hast thou made a breach for thyself?' Therefore his name was called Perez.

29  And when he drew back his hand, then immediately came forth his brother; and she said, Why has the barrier been cut through because of thee? and she called his name, Phares.

29  But in truth, drawing back his hand, the other came out. And the woman said, “Why is the partition divided for you?” And for this reason, she called his name Perez.

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

30  After this, his brother came out, on whose hand was the scarlet thread. And she called him Zerah.