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Genesis 38

1 It happened at about that time that Judah left his brothers, to go down and settle with a certain Adullamite called Hirah.

2 There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite called Shua. He made her his wife and slept with her.

3 She conceived and gave birth to a son whom she named Er.

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

5 Yet again she gave birth to a son whom she named Shelah. She was at Chezib when she gave birth to him.

6 Judah took a wife for his first-born Er, and her name was Tamar.

7 But Er, Judah’s first-born, offended Yahweh, and Yahweh killed him.

8 Then Judah said to Onan, ‘Take your brother’s wife, and do your duty as her brother-in-law, to maintain your brother’s line.’

9 But Onan, knowing that the line would not count as his, spilt his seed on the ground every time he slept with his brother’s wife, to avoid providing offspring for his brother.

10 What he did was offensive to Yahweh, who killed him too.

11 Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, ‘Go home as a widow to your father, until my son Shelah grows up,’ for he was thinking, ‘He must not die like his brothers.’ So Tamar went home to her father.

12 A long time passed, and then Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died. After Judah had been comforted he went up to Timnah for the shearing of his sheep, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.

13 When Tamar was told, ‘Look, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah for the shearing of his sheep,’

14 she changed out of her widow’s clothes, wrapped a veil around her to disguise herself, and sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah; for she saw that, although Shelah was grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.

15 Judah, seeing her, took her for a prostitute, since her face was veiled.

16 Going up to her on the road, he said, ‘Here, let me sleep with you.’ He did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. ‘What will you give me for sleeping with you?’ she asked.

17 ‘I will send you a kid from the flock,’ he said. ‘Agreed, if you give me a pledge until you send it,’ she replied.

18 ‘What pledge shall I give you?’ he asked. ‘Your seal and cord and the staff you are holding,’ she replied. He gave them to her and slept with her, and she conceived by him.

19 Then she got up and left him and, taking off her veil, resumed her widow’s weeds.

20 Judah sent the kid by his friend the Adullamite, to recover the pledge from the woman. But he did not find her.

21 He enquired from the men of the place, ‘Where is the prostitute who was by the roadside at Enaim?’ ‘There has been no prostitute there,’ they answered.

22 So returning to Judah he said, ‘I did not find her. What is more, the men of the place told me there had been no prostitute there.’

23 ‘Let her keep the things,’ Judah said, ‘or we shall become a laughing-stock. At least I sent her this kid, even though you did not find her.’

24 About three months later, Judah was told, ‘Your daughter-in-law has played the harlot; furthermore, she is pregnant, as a result of her misconduct.’ ‘Bring her out,’ Judah ordered, ‘and let her be burnt alive!’

25 But as she was being led off, she sent word to her father-in-law, ‘It was the owner of these who made me pregnant. Please verify’, she said, ‘whose seal and cord and staff these are.’

26 Judah recognised them and said, ‘She was right and I was wrong, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.’ He had no further intercourse with her.

27 When the time for her confinement came, there were twins in her womb!

28 During the delivery, one of them put out a hand, and the midwife caught it and tied a scarlet thread to it, indicating that this was the first to arrive.

29 Whereupon, he drew back his hand, and out came his brother. Then she said, ‘What a breach you have opened for yourself!’ So he was named Perez.

30 Then his brother came out with the scarlet thread on his hand, so he was named Zerah.

Job 29

1 And Job continued his solemn discourse. He said:

2 Will no one bring back to me the months that have gone, and the days when God was my guardian,

3 when his lamp shone over my head, and his light was my guide in the darkness?

4 Shall I ever see my days of harvest again when God protected my tent;

5 when Shaddai still dwelt with me, and my children were around me;

6 when my feet were bathed in milk, and streams of oil poured from the rocks?

7 When I went out to the gate of the city, when I took my seat in the square,

8 as soon as I appeared, the young men stepped aside, and the old men rose to their feet.

9 Men of note broke off their speeches, and put their hands over their mouths;

10 the voices of rulers were silenced, and their tongues stayed still in their mouths.

11 On hearing me, people congratulated me, on seeing me, people deferred to me,

12 because I freed the poor in distress and the orphan who had no helper.

13 The dying man’s blessing rested on me and I gave the widow’s heart cause to rejoice.

14 Uprightness I wore as a garment, fair judgement was my cloak and my turban.

15 I was eyes for the blind, and feet for the lame.

16 Who but me was father of the poor? The stranger’s case had a hearing from me.

17 I used to break the fangs of the wicked, and snatch their prey from their jaws.

18 And I used to say, ‘I shall die in honour, after days as numerous as the sand.

19 My roots can reach the water, the dews of night settle on my leaves.

20 My glory will be for ever new and the bow in my hand for ever strong.’

21 They waited anxiously to hear me, and listened in silence to what I had to say.

22 When I had finished, no one contradicted, my words dropping on them, one by one.

23 They waited for me as though for rain, open-mouthed as though for a late shower.

24 If I smiled at them, it was too good to be true, they watched my face for the least sign of favour.

25 As their chief, I told them which course to take, like a king living among his troops, and I led them wherever I chose.

Job 30

1 And now I am the laughing-stock of people who are younger than I am and whose parents I would have disdained to put with the dogs guarding my flock.

2 And what use to me was the strength of their hands? – enfeebled as they were,

3 worn out by want and hunger, for they used to gnaw the roots of the thirsty ground — that place of gloom, ruin and desolation-

4 they used to pick saltwort among the scrub, making their meals off roots of broom.

5 Outlawed from human company, which raised hue and cry against them, as against thieves,

6 they made their homes in the sides of ravines, in holes in the earth or in clefts of rock.

7 You could hear them braying from the bushes as they huddled together in the thistles.

8 Children of scoundrels, worse, nameless people, the very outcasts of society!

9 And these are the ones who now make up songs about me and use me as a byword!

10 Filled with disgust, they keep their distance, on seeing me, they spit without restraint.

11 And since God has loosened my bow-string and afflicted me, they too throw off the bridle in my presence.

12 Their brats surge forward on my right, to see when I am having a little peace, and advance on me with threatening strides.

13 They cut off all means of escape seizing the chance to destroy me, and no one stops them.

14 They move in, as if through a wide breach, and I go tumbling beneath the rubble.

15 Terror rounds on me, my confidence is dispersed as though by the wind, my hope of safety vanishes like a cloud.

16 And now the life in me trickles away, days of grief have gripped me.

17 At night-time sickness saps my bones I am gnawed by wounds that never sleep.

18 Violently, he has caught me by my clothes, has gripped me by the collar of my coat.

19 He has thrown me into the mud; I am no more than dust and ashes.

20 I cry to you, and you give me no answer; I stand before you, but you take no notice.

21 You have grown cruel to me, and your strong hand torments me unmercifully.

22 You carry me away astride the wind and blow me to pieces in a tempest.

23 Yes, I know that you are taking me towards death, to the common meeting-place of all the living.

24 Yet have I ever laid a hand on the poor when they cried out for justice in calamity?

25 Have I not wept for those whose life is hard, felt pity for the penniless?

26 I hoped for happiness, but sorrow came; I looked for light, but there was darkness.

27 My stomach seethes, is never still, days of suffering have struck me.

28 Sombre I go, yet no one comforts me, and if I rise in the council, I rise to weep.

29 I have become brother to the jackal and companion to the ostrich.

30 My skin has turned black on me, my bones are burnt with fever.

31 My harp is tuned to dirges, my pipe to the voice of mourners.

Proverbs 3 [28-32]

28 Do not say to your neighbour, ‘Go away! Come another time! I will give it you tomorrow,’ if you can do it now.

29 Do not plot harm against your neighbour who is living unsuspecting beside you.

30 Do not pick a groundless quarrel with anyone who has done you no harm.

31 Do not envy the man of violence, never model your conduct on his;

32 for the wilful wrong-doer is abhorrent to Yahweh, who confides only in the honest.

Thoughts and Reflection

Here we have another story of brokenness is Genesis. Here we have Judah’s sons, where one is supposed to provide a child for the widow. He did not and that angers God. Jesus is linked in the Gospel of Matthew to Tamar, Bathsheba and David. Even with this broken and misguided path, God can do incredible things.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

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