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Genesis 38 - NIV

Judah and Tamar

1 At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah.

2 There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and made love to her;

3 she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er.

4 She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan.

5 She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him.

6 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.

7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death.

8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.”

9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother.

10 What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.

11 Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s household until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He may die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s household.

12 After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing his sheep, and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went with him.

13 When Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,”

14 she took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.

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

16 Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, “Come now, let me sleep with you.”
“And what will you give me to sleep with you?” she asked.

17 “I’ll send you a young goat from my flock,” he said.
“Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?” she asked.

18 He said, “What pledge should I give you?”
“Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand,” she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him.

19 After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes again.

20 Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her.

21 He asked the men who lived there, “Where is the shrine prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?”
“There hasn’t been any shrine prostitute here,” they said.

22 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.’”

23 Then Judah said, “Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn’t find her.”

24 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!”

25 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.”

26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not sleep with her again.

27 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb.

28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.”

29 But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez.[a]

30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.[b]


a. Genesis 38:29 Perez means breaking out.
b. Genesis 38:30 Zerah can mean scarlet or brightness.

Sermons on Genesis 38 More sermons: Genesis 38

Michael Stark avatar
Dishonouring the Family
Shared by: Michael Stark on Jan, 2017
Summary: Among the sins which God judges most harshly and most swiftly are sins dishonouring one’s family. Such swift and terrible judgement speaks to the importance of the family in the divine economy.
Scripture: Genesis 38:6-10
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 13
David Taylor avatar
The Life of Joseph Sin, Suffering, and God’s Grace
Shared by: David Taylor on Nov, 2016
Summary: The Life of Joseph Sin, Suffering, and God’s Grace Genesis 38
Larry Turner avatar
Bad Choices
Shared by: Larry Turner on Apr, 2016
Summary: Judah made two really bad choices with his brother and his daughter-in-law.
William R. Nabaza avatar
The strong spills the WORD
Shared by: William R. Nabaza on Oct, 2015
Summary: To show that the strong and wise in this world rejects and destroys GOD's WORDS for them.
Scripture: Genesis 38:9
Denomination: Independent/Bible
Views: 216
William R. Nabaza avatar
The LORD will destroy the wicked
Shared by: William R. Nabaza on Sep, 2015
Summary: To show that GOD will never tolerated wickedness in man, and if that man will not humble himself and come to GOD to repent, GOD will destroy him together with his sins.
Scripture: Genesis 38:7
Denomination: Independent/Bible
Views: 438
William R. Nabaza avatar
Raise up seed for your brother
Shared by: William R. Nabaza on Oct, 2015
Summary: To show that every believer was raised up together with the Seed, the LORD JESUS and will never experience death anymore in this life and in the life to come. Galatians 3:16 (Amplified Bible) Now the promises (covenants, agreements) were decreed and mad
based on 1 rating
Scripture: Genesis 38:8
Denomination: Independent/Bible
Views: 1,337
Manny Salva Cruz avatar
Shared by: Manny Salva Cruz on Jul, 2014
Summary: Life is full of choices. Our choices will affect our future destiny. We must learn to make the right choices with regards to the people we associate and with our duties before God and family.
based on 1 rating
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-6
Denomination: Nazarene
Views: 1,920
Christopher Holdsworth avatar
The Testimony of Judah
Shared by: Christopher Holdsworth on Feb, 2014
Summary: Judah finds both repentance, and amendment of life
John Shearhart avatar
Genesis 38:1-30
Shared by: John Shearhart on Jan, 2014
Summary: If grace is truly grace then it’s only given to those who don’t deserve it. And if God’s promise is to be kept then it can’t depend on those who need grace. This again points us to Christ who is our only hope.
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-30
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 915
Paul Barreca avatar
What’s So Amazing About Grace?
Shared by: Paul Barreca on Apr, 2013
Summary: This story of Judah and Tamar reminds us that God’s grace comes in spite of our sin - even through our sin. Grace overcomes the mess that we make of our lives and provides us with something that we could never provide for ourselves.
based on 3 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-38
Views: 2,300
Philip Foster avatar
Perfect… You’re NOT perfect… ~ God
Shared by: Philip Foster on Jan, 2013
Summary: God doesn't perfect us... then bring us into the church and into church leadership. He perfects us through change, challenge and allows His will to be done through imperfect people.
based on 1 rating
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-30
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 627
Edward Hardee avatar
Studies in Genesis: Chapter 37
Shared by: Edward Hardee on Oct, 2011
Summary: This is a study of the book of Genesis. Genesis and Revelation are two of the most disputed books in the Bible. The premise of this study is the foundation of creation.
Series: Genesis
based on 1 rating
Denomination: Church Of God
Views: 1,652
C. Philip Green avatar
Unqualified Leader
Shared by: C. Philip Green on Aug, 2011
Summary: Trust Christ with your life today, and let Him make you into the leader He wants you to be. Let Him give you a heart for God. Let Him save your family, and let Him make you a real and genuine Christian on the inside as well as the outside.
based on 1 rating
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-30
Denomination: Evangelical Free
Views: 1,470
Mark Haines avatar
K. P. Duty
Shared by: Mark Haines on Feb, 2011
Summary: This message provides guidelines to help singles maintain the purity of their thoughts and sex lives.
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-39:23
Denomination: Wesleyan
Views: 345
Allan Quak avatar
Tamar - a desperate victim
Shared by: Allan Quak on Nov, 2010
Summary: The inclusion of Tamar in the genealogy of Jesus demonstrates that, even when we find ourselves in a sinful situation because of our desperation, God is still willing to include us into His family line.
based on 4 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-30
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 6,652
Tom Owen avatar
Genesis 46
Shared by: Tom Owen on Aug, 2009
Summary: verse-by-verse
Series: Beginnings
based on 2 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-30
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 660
Paul Clemente avatar
We Owe Everything To God
Shared by: Paul Clemente on Jun, 2009
Summary: When we say “we are simply saved by grace”, aren’t we saying that we really owe everything to God?
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-30
Denomination: Evangelical Free
Views: 1,730
Michael Stark avatar
What Happens in Vegas Won’t Stay in Vegas
Shared by: Michael Stark on May, 2009
Summary: Sin in the life of a child of God will be exposed by the Father who loves us too much to permit us to hide our sin.
based on 8 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 38:12-26
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 2,563
Joel Smith avatar
Rehab for a Scoundrel
Shared by: Joel Smith on Feb, 2009
Summary: God has some bitter medicine that can kill or cure the scoundrel in you.
based on 3 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-30
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 1,516
Gregory Thomas avatar
Waiting On What Has Been Promised
Shared by: Gregory Thomas on Sep, 2008
Summary: Shows the frustrations that fester from Broken, Dead and Spilled Over Promises.
based on 5 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 38:7-15
Views: 627
Neil Richardson avatar
Tamar's curse, cunning plan and blessing
Shared by: Neil Richardson on Mar, 2008
Summary: We see how God will have his way, even through the sinful schemes and foolish ways of his creatures.
based on 8 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-30
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 3,359
Michael Hollinger avatar
A Christmas Story?
Shared by: Michael Hollinger on Dec, 2007
Summary: Sin is bad because it takes so much more than it gives - God is great because he takes only what is needed and gives more than we could ever ask or imagine
based on 1 rating
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-30
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 759
Steven Simala Grant avatar
The Great Adventure
Shared by: Steven Simala Grant on May, 2007
Summary: The story of Joseph, demonstrating that a life with God is full of adventure, challenge, and significance
based on 2 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-50:20
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 367
David Moore avatar
Frienship with the World
Shared by: David Moore on Jan, 2007
Summary: A look at the unhealthy relationship between Judah and his friend Hirah.
based on 5 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 38:14-30
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 1,315
Daniel Habben avatar
Perez: A Testament of God's Grace
Shared by: Daniel Habben on Dec, 2006
Summary: Through the story of Perez, we learn how God loves to bring beauty out of our stupidity.
based on 12 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-30
Denomination: Lutheran
Views: 5,813
Michael Hollinger avatar
An X-Rated Sermon
Shared by: Michael Hollinger on Nov, 2005
Summary: The Nature of Sin - and our Saviour, as illustrated by the story of Tamar & Judah
based on 17 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 38:1-29
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 3,456
Tom Fuller avatar
Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone
Shared by: Tom Fuller on Jun, 2005
Summary: Joseph had it all - favored by his father, in a position of power - yet God moved him out of the place of having it all to having nothing. What does that teach us?
Series: Genesis
based on 27 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 37:1-38:26
Denomination: Calvary Chapel
Views: 6,196
Steve Miller avatar
Give Me a Break!--A Mother's Day of Finding Release in God's Sovereignty
Shared by: Steve Miller on Jan, 2005
Summary: Mothers can find release in the Sovereignty of God even when they are unsure of their wayward children and doubt their effectiveness as a parent. This story of Tamar puts a new spin on Mother’s Day.
based on 35 ratings
Scripture: Genesis 38:27-30
Denomination: *other
Views: 3,179
Stephen Todd avatar
The Jerry Springer Patriarch
Shared by: Stephen Todd on Apr, 2004
Summary: Even in Judah’s horrendous sin the benevolent grace of our God was at work.
Series: Genesis
based on 38 ratings
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 771
Jeremy  Houck avatar
Grace That Is Greater
Shared by: Jeremy Houck on Aug, 2003
Summary: God’s grace is shown in the fact that He would allow Jesus to be born through the line of Judah. Taken from Jim Cymbala’s book Fresh Faith.
based on 67 ratings
Views: 5,617