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1ABOUT that time Judah parted from his brothers, and heading south he pitched his tent in company with an Adullamite named Hirah.

2There he saw Bathshua the daughter of a Canaanite and married her. He lay with her,

3and she conceived and bore a son, whom she called Er.

4She conceived again and bore a son, whom she called Onan.

5Once more she conceived and bore a son whom she called Shelah, and she was at Kezib when she bore him.

6Judah found a wife for his eldest son Er; her name was Tamar.

7But Judah's eldest son Er was wicked in the LORD's sight, and the LORD took away his life.

8Then Judah told Onan to sleep with his brother's wife, to do his duty as the husband's brother and raise up offspring for his brother.

9But Onan knew that the offspring would not count as his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his seed on the ground so as not to raise up offspring for his brother.

10What he did was wicked in the LORD's sight, and the LORD took away his life also.

11Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain as a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up”; for he was afraid that Shelah too might die like his brothers. So Tamar went and stayed in her father's house.

12Time passed, and Judah's wife Bathshua died. When he had finished mourning, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went up to Timnath at sheep-shearing.

13When Tamar was told that her fatherin-law was on his way to shear his sheep at Timnath,

14she took off her widow's clothes, covered her face with a veil, and then sat where the road forks on the way to Timnath. She did this because she saw that although Shelah was now grown up she had not been given to him as a wife.

15When Judah saw her he thought she was a prostitute, for she had veiled her face.

16He turned to her where she sat by the roadside and said, “Let me lie with you,” not realizing she was his daughterin-law. She said, “What will you give to lie with me?”

17He answered, “I shall send you a young goat from my flock.” She said, “I agree, if you will give me a pledge until you send it.”

18He asked what pledge he should give her, and she replied, “Your seal and its cord, and the staff which you are holding.” He handed them over to her and lay with her, and she became pregnant.

19She then rose and went home, where she took off her veil and put on her widow's clothes again.

20Judah sent the goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to recover the pledge from the woman, but he could not find her.

21When he enquired of the people of that place, “Where is that temple-prostitute, the one who was sitting where the road forks?” they answered, “There has been no temple-prostitute here.”

22So he went back to Judah and reported that he had failed to find her and that the men of the place had said there was no such prostitute there.

23Judah said, “Let her keep the pledge, or we shall be a laughing-stock. After all, I did send the kid, even though you could not find her.”

24About three months later Judah was told that his daughter-in-law Tamar had played the prostitute and got herself pregnant. “Bring her out,” ordered Judah, “so that she may be burnt.”

25But as she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law. “The father of my child is the man to whom these things belong,” she said. “See if you recognize whose they are, this seal, the pattern of the cord, and the staff.”

26Judah identified them and said, “She is more in the right than I am, because I did not give her to my son Shelah.” He did not have intercourse with her again.

27When her time was come, she was found to have twins in her womb,

28and while she was in labour one of them put out a hand. The midwife took a scarlet thread and fastened it round the wrist, saying, “This one appeared first.”

29No sooner had he drawn back his hand, than his brother came out and the midwife said, “What! You have broken out first!” So he was named Perez.

30Soon afterwards his brother was born with the scarlet thread on his wrist, and he was named Zerah.


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