Genesis 38:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 38:14, NIV: 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.

Genesis 38:14, ESV: she took off her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage.

Genesis 38:14, KJV: And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.

Genesis 38:14, NASB: So she removed her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife.

Genesis 38:14, NLT: Tamar was aware that Shelah had grown up, but no arrangements had been made for her to come and marry him. So she changed out of her widow's clothing and covered herself with a veil to disguise herself. Then she sat beside the road at the entrance to the village of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah.

Genesis 38:14, CSB: So she took off her widow's clothes, veiled her face, covered herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had grown up, she had not been given to him as a wife.

What does Genesis 38:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Tamar has come to realize that she's been abandoned by her father-in-law, Judah. When her first husband died, Judah insisted his second son marry Tamar to continue the family line (Genesis 38:6–8). This custom would later be part of the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 25:5–7), meant to provide for women who would otherwise be destitute. When that son died as well (Genesis 38:9–10), Judah told Tamar she would be given to his third son once he was old enough (Genesis 38:11). In truth, Judah seems to blame Tamar in some way for his sons' deaths. This verse proves his assurances were dishonest.

Apparently, Shelah has reached marrying age. No suggestion has come from Judah indicating a marriage. Tamar is twice married, twice widowed, and childless. The man responsible for providing for her future has lied and left her helpless. So, she concocts a scheme to force Judah to take her in.

Tamar is aware that Judah is headed toward Timnah. She changes out of her widow's mourning clothes and puts a veil over her face. She positions herself along the road near a town called Enaim where she is sure that Judah will pass by. Through some combination of her clothing, mannerisms, and location, she plans to pose as a prostitute (Genesis 38:15), and target Judah.