Genesis 38:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 38:20, NIV: "Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her."

Genesis 38:20, ESV: "When 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."

Genesis 38:20, KJV: "And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman's hand: but he found her not."

Genesis 38:20, NASB: "When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her."

Genesis 38:20, NLT: "Later Judah asked his friend Hirah the Adullamite to take the young goat to the woman and to pick up the things he had given her as his guarantee. But Hirah couldn't find her."

Genesis 38:20, CSB: "When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get back the items he had left with the woman, he could not find her."

What does Genesis 38:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In this time and place, prostitution was not illegal. In fact, pagan religions often involved sexual services as part of "worship." That did not make using such services a mark of good taste. Judah's choice to send someone else to pay his debt to a prostitute (Genesis 38:18) hints at this stigma. Judah's friend has one job: Deliver the young goat and get Judah's signet and staff back.

Unfortunately, Hirah the Adullamite couldn't find the prostitute who had been sitting at the entrance to the city of Enaim. She wasn't there, because the woman Judah slept with was neither a prostitute nor a resident of the town. It was his own widowed daughter-in-law, Tamar (Genesis 38:7–11), who was scheming in response to Judah's broken promise (Genesis 38:14). She had removed her disguise (Genesis 38:15) and returned to her father's home (Genesis 38:19).