What does Genesis 38:27 mean?
ESV: When the time of her labor came, there were twins in her womb.
NIV: When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb.
NASB: It came about at the time she was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb.
CSB: When the time came for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb.
NLT: When the time came for Tamar to give birth, it was discovered that she was carrying twins.
KJV: And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
NKJV: Now it came to pass, at the time for giving birth, that behold, twins were in her womb.
Verse Commentary:
Twins seem to run in Abraham's family. Rebekah and Isaac had twin boys: Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:23–26). Those men would become the founders of the nations of Israel (Genesis 35:10) and Edom (Genesis 36:1), respectively. Now Jacob's son Judah (Genesis 29:25) has twins with Tamar (Genesis 38:14–18).

Just as with Jacob and Esau, the twins are born into rivalry. As with Jacob and Esau, the older (Genesis 28) will be supplanted by the younger (Genesis 38:29).
Verse Context:
Genesis 38:27–30 records the birth of Judah's twin sons, scandalously conceived through his own daughter-in-law, Tamar. Just as with Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:22–23), there is rivalry between twins.
Chapter Summary:
Jacob's son Judah marries a Canaanite woman and has three sons. His first son marries a woman called Tamar but is put to death by God for an unnamed sin. Judah follows tradition and marries Er's widow to the next oldest brother. Onan takes advantage of the situation for sex, but deliberately refuses to give her children. God puts him to death as well. When Judah abandons Tamar, she disguises herself as a prostitute and has sex with him. Found to be pregnant, she proves Judah is the father, and he admits his guilt. She then gives birth to twin boys.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 38 departs from the story of Joseph (Genesis 37:26–28) to describe what happens when Judah moves away from his family at Hebron and marries a Canaanite woman. Two of his three sons are put to death by God, each while married to the same woman. When Judah abandons her, she works a scheme to trick him into having sex with her. Confronted with proof that he is the father in her scandalous pregnancy, she is allowed to live and gives birth to Judah's twin boys. The following chapter returns to a focus on Joseph and his rise within Egyptian society (Genesis 39:1).
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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