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Oh´nuhn; Heb., “power,” “wealth”

The second son of Judah and the daughter of a Canaanite named Shua (Gen 38:4; Gen 46:12; Num 26:19). After the death of Er, Judah’s firstborn, Onan failed in his duty to perform the levirate marriage rite with Er’s wife, Tamar. He let his semen go to waste (presumably by coitus interruptus), an act displeasing to God and for which he was slain (Gen 38:8-10).

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.