Genesis 38:20–30 (ESV)
Judah and Tamar
Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her. 21 And he asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute who was at Enaim at
the roadside?” And they said, “No cult prostitute has been here.” 22 So he returned to Judah and said, “I have not found her. Also, the men of the place said, ‘No cult prostitute has been here.’ ”
23 And Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, or we shall be laughed at. You see, I sent this young goat, and you did not find her.”
three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” 25 As she was being
brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” 26 Then Judah
identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.
27 When the time of her labor
came, there were twins in her womb. 28 And when she was in labor, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29 But
as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called Perez. 30 Afterward his brother came out with the scarlet thread on
his hand, and his name was called Zerah.
The Lutheran Study Bible ties all of chapter 38 together saying:
“The sins of Onan, Judah, and Tamar make this one of the most sordid chapters of the Bible. Yet despite human sinfulness, God is at work. Through Judah’s son Perez, the line that would eventually give birth to the Savior was preserved (cf Mt 1:3).
Sexual sins lead to trouble and heartache in this life. Yet God does not cast away those who were conceived and born out of wedlock, but He preserves those who fear Him, just as He preserved Perez. So let us flee from sexual immorality, being mindful that
God punishes unchastity. And let us confess our sins as Judah did, knowing that God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, will forgive all who repent.”
I pray: Holy God, forgive us our sins. Fill our hearts with the sober and chaste love of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Engelbrecht, E. A. (2009). The
Lutheran Study Bible (p. 76). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.