Genesis 38:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 38:23, NIV: "Then Judah said, 'Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn't find her.'"

Genesis 38:23, ESV: "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.”"

Genesis 38:23, KJV: "And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her."

Genesis 38:23, NASB: "Then Judah said, 'Let her keep them, otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I sent this young goat, but you did not find her.'"

Genesis 38:23, NLT: "'Then let her keep the things I gave her,' Judah said. 'I sent the young goat as we agreed, but you couldn't find her. We'd be the laughingstock of the village if we went back again to look for her.'"

Genesis 38:23, CSB: "Judah replied, "Let her keep the items for herself; otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send this young goat, but you couldn't find her.""

What does Genesis 38:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Hirah was sent to pay a prostitute his friend, Judah, had hired in a town called Enaim (Genesis 38:20). His main goal is to retrieve Judah's personal effects: a signet and staff (Genesis 38:18). Hirah returned with news that the woman can't be found and nobody in the area knows anything about her. Judah still doesn't know this supposed prostitute was his widowed daughter-in-law, Tamar, in disguise (Genesis 38:15–17). She had disguised herself and enticed Judah out of desperation due to his broken promise (Genesis 38:11, 14).

Judah decides to the let the matter drop. If word gets out that he's trying to pay a prostitute that can't be found, his reputation is likely to be damaged. This is not simply a moral concern, it's a matter of ridicule. If others hear of this, Judah will be laughed at. Rather than risk further embarrassment by searching for the woman, he decides to let her keep his signet, his cord, and his staff. Tamar will later produce these items (Genesis 38:24–25) in response to Judah's own hypocrisy.