Genesis 38:25

ESV As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.”
NIV As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. 'I am pregnant by the man who owns these,' she said. And she added, 'See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are.'
NASB It was while she was being brought out that she sent word to her father-in-law, saying, 'I am pregnant by the man to whom these things belong.' She also said, 'Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?'
CSB As she was being brought out, she sent her father-in-law this message: "I am pregnant by the man to whom these items belong." And she added, "Examine them. Whose signet ring, cord, and staff are these? "
NLT But as they were taking her out to kill her, she sent this message to her father-in-law: 'The man who owns these things made me pregnant. Look closely. Whose seal and cord and walking stick are these?'
KJV When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.

What does Genesis 38:25 mean?

Tamar appears to be caught in the sin of sexual immorality. She is an unmarried woman, twice widowed but childless, promised to Judah's youngest son, yet she is pregnant (Genesis 38:24). In such cases, local customs allowed for the death penalty. This same punishment would be part of the later Mosaic law (Leviticus 20:10). Judah is all too eager to administer this penalty to Tamar.

At this point, Tamar completes the trap she laid for Judah from the beginning. He had failed to keep his commitment to marry her to his third son (Genesis 38:11, 14). She disguised herself as a prostitute, enticed Judah, and kept his personal effects as a promise of future payment (Genesis 38:15–18). When Judah sent a friend to retrieve his signet and staff, she was gone (Genesis 38:20). Tamar's very first plan might have been to reveal herself to Judah immediately, and shame him into caring for her. When he was forced to leave his staff and signet, it might have inspired her to wait to make her move. Learning she was pregnant, without a doubt, would have given her incentive to keep her secret until the perfect moment.

Now that moment has come. Judah has learned of her pregnancy and is demanding her death. She sends a message to him saying the father of her baby is the owner of a certain signet, cord, and staff. After all, that man is just as guilty of immorality as she is. Her challenge is for Judah to identify those items, and the man to whom they belong.

Of course, the items belong to Judah himself. Tamar has proof he is the father of her unborn. Judah's response is contrite, and Tamar will have gained the security she sought (Genesis 38:26).
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