Genesis 38

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1 And it was at this time that Judah went·​·down from his brothers, and went·​·aside, even·​·to a man, an Adullamite, and his name was Hirah.

2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a man, a Canaanite, and his name was Shua; and he took her, and came to her.

3 And she conceived and gave·​·birth·​·to a son, and he called his name Er.

4 And she conceived yet·​·again and gave·​·birth·​·to a son, and she called his name Onan.

5 And she added yet·​·again and gave·​·birth·​·to a son, and she called his name Shelah; and he was in Chezib when she gave·​·birth·​·to him.

6 And Judah took a woman for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.

7 And Er, the firstborn of Judah, was evil in the eyes of Jehovah; and Jehovah put· him ·to·​·death.

8 And Judah said to Onan, Come to the wife of thy brother, and perform the duty of a husband’s·​·brother for her, and raise·​·up seed for thy brother.

9 And Onan knew that the seed would not be for himself; and it was, when he came to the wife of his brother, that he destroyed it to the earth, so·​·that he might not give seed to his brother.

10 And what he did was·​·evil in the eyes of Jehovah; and He caused· him also ·to·​·die.

11 And Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, Dwell· a widow ·in thy father’s house, until Shelah my son be grown·​·up; for he said, Lest he also die, like his brothers. And Tamar went and dwelt·​·in her father’s house.

12 And the days were·​·multiplied, and the daughter of Shua, the wife of Judah, died; and Judah was comforted, and went·​·up to the shearers of his flock, he and his companion Hirah the Adullamite, to Timnath.

13 And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold, thy father-in-law is going·​·up towards Timnath to shear his flock.

14 And she removed from upon herself the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the entrance of the founts which are upon the way toward Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown·​·up, and she was not given to him for a woman.

15 And Judah saw her, and thought her to be a harlot, because she had covered her face.

16 And he went·​·aside to her to the way, and said, Give, I pray, that I may come to thee; for he knew not that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, What wilt thou Give me, that thou mayest come to me?

17 And he said, I will send thee a kid of the goats from the flock. And she said, If thou wilt give a surety, until thou send it?

18 And he said, What surety shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy kerchief*, and thy rod that is in thy hand. And he gave them to her, and came to her; and she conceived to him.

19 And she arose, and went, and removed her veil from upon her, and clothed· herself ·with the garments of her widowhood.

20 And Judah sent the kid of the goats by the hand of his companion the Adullamite, to take the surety from the woman’s hand; and he found her not.

21 And he asked the men of the place, saying, Where is the prostitute that was at the founts on the way? And they said, There was not a prostitute there.

22 And he returned to Judah and said, I have not found her; and also the men of the place said, There was not a prostitute there.

23 And Judah said, Let her take it to herself, lest perhaps we be despised; behold I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.

24 And it was, about three months after, and it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter-in-law has committed·​·harlotry; and also, behold, she has conceived by harlotries. And Judah said, Bring· her ·out, and she shall be burnt·​·up.

25 She was brought·​·out, and she sent to her father-in-law, saying, To the man whose these are, to him I have conceived; and she said, Recognize, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet and the kerchief and the rod.

26 And Judah recognized them, and said, She is· more ·just than I; because as I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he added not to know her any·​·more.

27 And it was, in the time of her giving·​·birth, and behold twins were in her belly.

28 And it was, when she gave·​·birth, and one put out a hand; and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread twice-dyed upon his hand, saying, This came·​·out first.

29 And it was, as he brought·​·back his hand, that behold, his brother came·​·out; and she said, How hast thou broken·​·off from upon thee a breaking·​·off*? And he called his name Perez*.

30 And afterwards came·​·out his brother, that had the scarlet thread twice-dyed upon his hand; and he called his name Zerah*.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Genesis 38      

Napsal(a) Emanuel Swedenborg

Here are some excerpts from Swedenborg's "Arcana Coelestia" that help explain the inner meaning of this chapter:

AC 4811. The subject treated of in this chapter, in the internal Sense, is the Jewish Church and the genuine church; the Jewish Church is described by Judah, and the genuine church by Tamar.

AC 4812. The sons by Tamar signify the two essentials of the church, namely, faith and love--Perez faith, and Zerah love. Their birth represents that love is actually the firstborn of the church, and faith only apparently so.

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Thanks to the Kempton Project for the permission to use this New Church translation of the Word.


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