And Judah acknowledged [them]
He knew them, and owned them to be his: and said, she hath been more righteous than I;
he means, not with respect to the sin of uncleanness committed by them, in which she was the greatest criminal; she sat not only in the way to tempt him to it, but she knew who he was, and wilfully committed incest with him; whereas he thought and knew of nothing else but simple fornication; but with respect to the affairs in connection between them: she had on her part, according to his direction, kept herself a widow, in expectation of being given to his son Shelah for a wife; but he had not made good his part, he had not fulfilled his promise, he had neglected to give her to his son, which he ought to have done, according to the usage of those times, and as he had suggested to her he would; and his neglect of this had been the cause and occasion of this criminal conversation between them; and this is the reason he himself gives of her being more righteous than he: because I gave her not to Shelah my son;
as he ought to have done, and as he promised he would: and he knew her again no more;
in a carnal way; he did not repeat the sin, but abstained from it having, no doubt, true repentance for it; though Jarchi observes, that some interpret the words, and Ben Melech says some copies read, "he did not cease to know her"; but took her for his wife and married her, which is supposed to be as justifiable as other things done before the law of Moses; but this is not likely, and it looks as if he never married any wife after, or, if he did, had no more children, since we read of no other but Shelah, and the twins he had by Tamar; and it seems as if Shelah also did not marry Tamar upon this, such an incest being committed with her, since he appears to have had children by another woman, ( Numbers 26:20 ) .