Judah then said to his daughter-in-law1 Tamar,2 "Live as a widow in your father's house3 until my son Shelah4 grows up."5 For he thought, "He may die too, just like his brothers." So Tamar went to live in her father's house.
After a long time Judah's wife, the daughter of Shua,6 died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah,7 to the men who were shearing his sheep,8 and his friend Hirah the Adullamite9 went with him.
When Tamar10 was told, "Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,"1114
she took off her widow's clothes,12 covered herself with a veil13 to disguise herself, and then sat down14 at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah.15 For she saw that, though Shelah16 had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.
When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute,17 for she had covered her face.
Not realizing18 that she was his daughter-in-law,19 he went over to her by the roadside and said, "Come now, let me sleep with you."20 "And what will you give me to sleep with you?"21 she asked.
"I'll send you a young goat22 from my flock," he said. "Will you give me something as a pledge23 until you send it?" she asked.
He said, "What pledge should I give you?" "Your seal24 and its cord, and the staff25 in your hand," she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him.2619
After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow's clothes27 again.
Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite28 in order to get his pledge29 back from the woman, but he did not find her.
He asked the men who lived there, "Where is the shrine prostitute30 who was beside the road at Enaim?" "There hasn't been any shrine prostitute here," they said.
So he went back to Judah and said, "I didn't find her. Besides, the men who lived there said, 'There hasn't been any shrine prostitute here.' "
Then Judah said, "Let her keep what she has,31 or we will become a laughingstock.32 After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn't find her."
About three months later Judah was told, "Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant." Judah said, "Bring her out and have her burned to death!"3325
As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. "I am pregnant by the man who owns these," she said. And she added, "See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are."3426
Judah recognized them and said, "She is more righteous than I,35 since I wouldn't give her to my son Shelah.36" And he did not sleep with her again.
When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb.3728
As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife38 took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist39 and said, "This one came out first."
But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out,40 and she said, "So this is how you have broken out!" And he was named Perez.a4130
Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist,42 came out and he was given the name Zerah.b43