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This article is about Er's Wife. You may be looking for David's daughter.

Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah and the mother of his two children Perez and Zerah. She also was the wife of Er and Onan. Judah gave her as a wife to Er first, but Er did wickedly in the eyes of the Lord and was soon killed. Judah had Onan go into his brother's wife to raise up seed for him, but realizing that the child he would father would not inherit anything from him.


Onan spilled his seed on the ground and was also killed. Judah then had Tamar live in her father's house as a widow until Shelah was fully grown, fearing that he would also die. Judah's wife later died, and when Judah went up to Timnah with his friend Hirah the Adullamite to shear his sheep, Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and waited for Judah at the entryway, for he had not given her to Shelah as a wife. Judah offered to sleep with Tamar, not knowing she was his daughter-in-law, for a young goat from his flock, but Tamar had him give her his signet, his bracelets, and his staff for a pledge. After he slept with her, Judah returned to Timnah with the young goat to give to the prostitute, but the people of the city said that there wasn't any prostitute. Later on, when he heard that his daughter-in-law had conceived a child through harlotry, Judah demanded for Tamar to be sent and burned. Tamar then produced the evidence that Judah was the father of her child from the pledge items he gave her, which made Judah confess that she was more righteous than he because he had not given her to Shelah to be his wife. And so Judah no longer had any intimate relations with her.

At the time Tamar gave birth, the nurse saw a hand stick out and, assuming that child was the firstborn, tied a red string around his hand. The hand went back inside, and the child's brother came out, who was then named Perez ("breach"). The child with the string tied to his hand followed afterward, and was named Zerah {"scarlet"}

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