The peace the brothers found in the comforting words of the steward seemed to disappear with the deceptive testing of the yet-to-be-revealed Joseph. They thought all was copacetic after the delicious meal. The next morning, they got their grain and left to return to their father, now with both Simeon and Benjamin in tow. Judah must have been relieved.
His relief was short-lived.
Joseph had played another trick on his brothers, putting his own silver cup in the sack of his dearest brother. Judah, steps up as the spokesman for the group, after they, as a group, made the rash statement that the one in whose sack it was found would die. Not a smart move, when it was found in that of Benjamin’s.
They tore their clothes.
Now back before Joseph, Judah offers solutions which Joseph rejects. The back and forth continues to the end of the chapter, where I find today’s gem. This is Judah speaking:
“Now therefore, as soon as I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us, then, as his life is bound up in the boy’s life, as soon as he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol. For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.’ Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.”Genesis 44:30-34 ESV
Judah, the one who proposed the idea of selling Joseph to the Ishmaelite traders, now unknowingly stands before him, offering his own life for that of another brother. Oh, how the years have changed him—how the tables have turned.
Judah, from whom would come the line of rulers of Israel and ultimately the Messiah, takes a stand before this official in order to save his brother’s life and his father from further grief. This gem is a foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice the Lion of Judah would make on our behalf.
This test, much like that of Abraham in offering Isaac, proved to Joseph that his brothers had changed. They all tore their clothes over Benjamin, and Judah stepped up to willingly exchange his life for his youngest brother’s. As God stopped the hand of Abraham from taking the life of his son, Joseph, would stop short of allowing Judah to fulfill his promise, and all would be soon revealed.
Grace and Peace