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Genesis 38 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 38

Judah and Tamar.[a] About that time Judah went down, away from his brothers, and pitched his tent near a certain Adullamite named Hirah. There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua; he married her, and had intercourse with her. She conceived and bore a son, whom she named Er. Again she conceived and bore a son, whom she named Onan. Then she bore still another son, whom she named Shelah. She was in Chezib[b] when she bore him.

Judah got a wife named Tamar for his firstborn, Er. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, greatly offended the Lord; so the Lord took his life. Then Judah said to Onan, “Have intercourse with your brother’s wife, in fulfillment of your duty as brother-in-law, and thus preserve your brother’s line.”[c] Onan, however, knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground, to avoid giving offspring to his brother. 10 What he did greatly offended the Lord, and the Lord took his life too. 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,[d] 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,[e] 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.[f] 30 Afterward his brother, who had the crimson thread on his hand, came out; he was called Zerah.[g]

Footnotes:

  1. 38:1–30 This chapter has subtle connections to the main Joseph story. It tells of the eponymous founder of the other great tribe of later times, Judah. Having already been introduced as one of the two good brothers in 37:26–27, he appears here as the father-in-law of the twice-widowed Tamar; he has reneged on his promise to provide his son Shelah to her in a levirate marriage. Unjustly treated, Tamar takes matters into her own hands and tricks Judah into becoming the father of her children, Perez and Zerah. Judah ultimately acknowledges that his daughter-in-law was right (“She is in the right rather than I,” v. 26). In contrast to Judah’s expectations, the family line does not continue through his son Shelah, but through the children of Tamar. Similarities relate this little story to the main narrative: the deception involving an article of clothing (the widow’s garments of Tamar, Judah’s seal, cord, and staff) point back to the bloody tunic that deceives Jacob in 37:31–33; a woman attempts the seduction of a man separated from his family, for righteous purposes in chap. 38, for unrighteous purposes in chap. 39.
  2. 38:5 Chezib: a variant form of Achzib (Jos 15:44; Mi 1:14), a town in the Judean Shephelah.
  3. 38:8 Preserve your brother’s line: lit., “raise up seed for your brother”: an allusion to the law of levirate, or “brother-in-law,” marriage; see notes on Dt 25:5; Ru 2:20. Onan’s violation of this law brought on him God’s punishment (vv. 9–10).
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 38:29 He was called Perez: the Hebrew word means “breach.”
  7. 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.

Ruth 4:5-10 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

[a]Boaz continued, “When you acquire the field from Naomi, you also acquire responsibility for Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the late heir, to raise up a family for the deceased on his estate.” The redeemer replied, “I cannot exercise my right of redemption for that would endanger my own estate. You do it in my place, for I cannot.” Now it used to be the custom in Israel that, to make binding a contract of redemption or exchange, one party would take off a sandal[b] and give it to the other. This was the form of attestation in Israel. So the other redeemer, in saying to Boaz, “Acquire it for yourself,” drew off his sandal. Boaz then said to the elders and to all the people, “You are witnesses today that I have acquired from Naomi all the holdings of Elimelech, Chilion and Mahlon. 10 I also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, as my wife, in order to raise up a family for her late husband on his estate, so that the name of the deceased may not perish from his people and his place. Do you witness this today?”

Footnotes:

  1. 4:5–6 Although redemption and levirate practices are not otherwise linked in the Bible, they belong in the same area of need. Boaz claims that buying Elimelech’s field obligates the other redeemer to produce an heir for Mahlon, who would then inherit the land. That would jeopardize this redeemer’s overall holdings, since he would lose the land he had paid for. He can afford the first step but not the second, and cedes his responsibility to Boaz, who is willing to do both.
  2. 4:7 Take off a sandal: the legislation in Dt 25:8–10 provides that if a “redeemer” refuses to carry out the obligation of marrying his brother’s wife, the woman shall strip off his sandal as a gesture of insult. In later years, when the obligation of carrying out this function of the “redeemer” was no longer keenly felt, the removal of the sandal may have become a formalized way of renouncing the rights/obligations of the “redeemer,” as in this text.
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.

Luke 20:27-33 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

27 Some Sadducees,[a] those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to him, 28 [b]saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’ 29 Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. 30 Then the second 31 and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. 32 Finally the woman also died. 33 Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.”

Footnotes:

  1. 20:27 Sadducees: see note on Mt 3:7.
  2. 20:28–33 The Sadducees’ question, based on the law of levirate marriage recorded in Dt 25:5–10, ridicules the idea of the resurrection. Jesus rejects their naive understanding of the resurrection (Lk 20:35–36) and then argues on behalf of the resurrection of the dead on the basis of the written law (Lk 20:37–38) that the Sadducees accept. See also notes on Mt 22:23–33.
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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