Judah in Egypt

INTRODUCTION: During a sustained period of widespread famine, Jacob sent his sons into Egypt because they heard food could be purchased from large storehouses located there. At this time Judah was probably about 42 years old, and the brothers planned to purchase supplies and return to Canaan. None of the family knew they would be meeting Joseph who had been in Egypt for about 22 years, and had become second only to Pharaoh in power and authority. There is no indication that Joseph had ever tried to make contact with any of his family back in Canaan, BUT THE FAMINE WAS GOING TO BRING THEM TO HIM. Genesis 41 "57 All countries came into Egypt, to Joseph, to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all the earth."

NOTE: All scripture is from the World English Bible.


A - JACOB SENT TEN SONS TO EGYPT BECAUSE OF THE FAMINE

Genesis 42 "1 Now Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, and Jacob said to his sons, "Why do you look at one another?" 2 He said, "Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy for us from there, so that we may live, and not die." 3 Joseph's ten brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob didn't send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with his brothers; for he said, "Lest perhaps harm happen to him." 5 The sons of Israel came to buy among those who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. 6 Joseph was the governor over the land. It was he who sold to all the people of the land. Joseph's brothers came, and bowed themselves down to him with their faces to the earth. 7 Joseph saw his brothers, and he recognized them, but acted like a stranger to them, and spoke roughly with them. He said to them, "Where did you come from?" They said, "From the land of Canaan to buy food." 8 Joseph recognized his brothers, but they didn't recognize him. 9 Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed about them, and said to them, "You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land." 10 They said to him, "No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all one man's sons; we are honest men. Your servants are not spies." 12 He said to them, "No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land!" 13 They said, "We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more." 14 Joseph said to them, "It is like I told you, saying, 'You are spies!' 15 By this you shall be tested. By the life of Pharaoh, you shall not go out from here, unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of you, and let him get your brother, and you shall be bound, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you, or else by the life of Pharaoh surely you are spies." 17 He put them all together into custody for three days."

COMMENTS: Joseph was only seventeen when his brothers sold him into slavery, but now he was about 39, and has been the governor over all Egypt under Pharaoh for nine years. When he saw them bowed before him, he remembered the dreams he had while in Canaan. He took advantage of the fact that they did not recognize him, and he put them into custody as he accused them of being spies. After being held as prisoners the brothers were surely convinced that this man could enforce the conditions he required of them to bring their brother Benjamin to Egypt.


B - SIMEON WAS HELD, BENJAMIN WAS REQUIRED FOR VERIFICATION

Genesis 42 "18 Joseph said to them the third day, "Do this, and live, for I fear God. 19 If you are honest men, then let one of your brothers be bound in your prison; but you go, carry grain for the famine of your houses. 20 Bring your youngest brother to me; so will your words be verified, and you won't die." They did so. 21 They said one to another, "We are certainly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us, and we wouldn't listen. Therefore this distress has come upon us." 22 Reuben answered them, saying, "Didn't I tell you, saying, 'Don't sin against the child,' and you wouldn't listen? Therefore also, behold, his blood is required." 23 They didn't know that Joseph understood them; for there was an interpreter between them. 24 He turned himself away from them, and wept. Then he returned to them, and spoke to them, and took Simeon from among them, and bound him before their eyes. 25 Then Joseph gave a command to fill their bags with grain, and to restore each man's money into his sack, and to give them food for the way. So it was done to them. 26 They loaded their donkeys with their grain, and departed from there. 27 As one of them opened his sack to give his donkey food in the lodging place, he saw his money. Behold, it was in the mouth of his sack. 28 He said to his brothers, "My money is restored! Behold, it is in my sack!" Their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling one to another, saying, "What is this that God has done to us?" 29 They came to Jacob their father, to the land of Canaan, and told him all that had happened to them, saying, 30 "The man, the lord of the land, spoke roughly with us, and took us for spies of the country. 31 We said to him, 'We are honest men. We are no spies. 32 We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no more, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.' 33 The man, the lord of the land, said to us, 'By this I will know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers with me, and take grain for the famine of your houses, and go your way. 34 Bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men. So I will deliver your brother to you, and you shall trade in the land.'" 35 It happened as they emptied their sacks, that behold, each man's bundle of money was in his sack. When they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were afraid. 36 Jacob, their father, said to them, "You have bereaved me of my children! Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin away. All these things are against me." 37 Reuben spoke to his father, saying, "Kill my two sons, if I don't bring him to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him to you again." 38 He said, "My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he only is left. If harm happens to him along the way in which you go, then you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.""

COMMENTS: Simeon was held in custody while the other nine brothers returned to their father in Canaan. The first discovery of the returned money was while traveling, and the rest of them found their money when they met with their father. This caused great concern among them all for they knew this would appear that they had stolen the money. Reuben tried to convince his father to let them go when they needed more grain, and he offered his two sons to be killed if he could not accomplish the return of Benjamin and Simeon. This seems like a strange way to give comfort since the death of two more descendents of Jacob would only be additional loss. Reuben may have felt his offer showed confidence that he could have complete success, but there is no indication that his sons were even aware of this. The additional grief over Simeon didn't allow Jacob to consider any proposals at that time.


C - JUDAH CONVINCED HIS FATHER TO ALLOW BENJAMIN TO GO TO EGYPT

Genesis 43 "1 The famine was severe in the land. 2 It happened, when they had eaten up the grain which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said to them, "Go again, buy us a little more food." 3 Judah spoke to him, saying, "The man solemnly warned us, saying, 'You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.' 4 If you'll send our brother with us, we'll go down and buy you food, 5 but if you'll not send him, we'll not go down, for the man said to us, 'You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.'" 6 Israel said, "Why did you treat me so badly, telling the man that you had another brother?" 7 They said, "The man asked directly concerning ourselves, and concerning our relatives, saying, 'Is your father still alive? Have you another brother?' We just answered his questions. Is there any way we could know that he would say, 'Bring your brother down?'" 8 Judah said to Israel, his father, "Send the boy with me, and we'll get up and go, so that we may live, and not die, both we, and you, and also our little ones. 9 I'll be collateral for him. From my hand will you require him. If I don't bring him to you, and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever, 10 for if we hadn't delayed, surely we would have returned a second time by now." 11 Their father, Israel, said to them, "If it must be so, then do this. Take from the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry down a present for the man, a little balm, a little honey, spices and myrrh, nuts, and almonds; 12 and take double money in your hand, and take back the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. 13 Take your brother also, get up, and return to the man. 14 May God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may release to you your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.""

COMMENTS: When it became imperative to go back to Egypt, Jacob critically questioned his sons about revealing that there was a younger brother in Canaan. Judah reviewed the way it was found out, and was finally able to convince his father that they must go back to Egypt with Benjamin. Judah pledged that he personally would bear all responsibility for safety. So, gifts were prepared, the original money was to be returned ,and they took additional money for a fresh supply of grain. Israel sent them off expressing a hope that God Almighty might give them mercy before the man in Egypt to release their other brother and Benjamin. He accepted now the possibility of being bereaved of additional sons, with some hope that God would protect them.


D - BENJAMIN IN EGYPT, SIMEON RELEASED

Genesis 43 "15 The men took that present, and they took double money in their hand, and Benjamin; and got up, went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, "Bring the men into the house, and butcher an animal, and prepare; for the men will dine with me at noon." 17 The man did as Joseph commanded, and the man brought the men to Joseph's house. 18 The men were afraid, because they were brought to Joseph's house; and they said, "Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time, we're brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, attack us, and seize us as slaves, along with our donkeys." 19 They came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they spoke to him at the door of the house, 20 and said, "Oh, my lord, we indeed came down the first time to buy food. 21 When we came to the lodging place, we opened our sacks, and behold, each man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight. We have brought it back in our hand. 22 We have brought down other money in our hand to buy food. We don't know who put our money in our sacks." 23 He said, "Peace be to you. Don't be afraid. Your God, and the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks. I received your money." He brought Simeon out to them. 24 The man brought the men into Joseph's house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet. He gave their donkeys fodder. 25 They prepared the present for Joseph's coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there. 26 When Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves down to him to the earth. 27 He asked them of their welfare, and said, "Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he yet alive?" 28 They said, "Your servant, our father, is well. He is still alive." They bowed down humbly. 29 He lifted up his eyes, and saw Benjamin, his brother, his mother's son, and said, "Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me?" He said, "God be gracious to you, my son." 30 Joseph hurried, for his heart yearned over his brother; and he sought a place to weep. He entered into his room, and wept there. 31 He washed his face, and came out. He controlled himself, and said, "Serve the meal." 32 They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians, that ate with him, by themselves, because the Egyptians don't eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33 They sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth, and the men marvelled one with another. 34 He sent portions to them from before him, but Benjamin's portion was five times as much as any of theirs. They drank, and were merry with him."

COMMENTS: When the brothers all arrived Joseph saw Benjamin, and he told his steward to prepare a meal so he could dine with them in his house. The men were afraid and appealed to the steward about the money found in their sacks. the steward not only spoke kindly to them, but he even said it was their God and the God of their father who had given them treasure in their sacks. He reassured them that he had received their money, and he brought Simeon out to join them. This man's choice of words seemed to indicate his own recognition of the true God. The brothers were provided personal courtesy customary for guests in that culture, including having fodder given for their donkeys. When Joseph came home, they brought the present to him in the house, and bowed in complete subjection before him.

Joseph asked about their welfare, and especially if their father was still alive and well, and they said he was. Joseph looked at his brother Benjamin and made a comment to him. Upon seeing this son of his own mother who had died giving birth, his emotions welled up and he had to leave the room temporarily. Since Israel's sons were from four wives, there were half-brothers among them. Joseph washed his face in his own room, then controlled himself and ordered the meal to be served. The Egyptians sat together, Joseph sat separately, and the brothers sat together in birth order. Benjamin was given noticeably larger portions than his brothers, but they all enjoyed the mealtime atmosphere.


E - JOSEPH SET ANOTHER TRAP FOR HIS BROTHERS

Genesis 44 "1 He commanded the steward of his house, saying, "Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man's money in his sack's mouth. 2 Put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack's mouth of the youngest, with his grain money." He did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. 3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys. 4 When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, "Up, follow after the men. When you overtake them, ask them, 'Why have you rewarded evil for good? 5 Isn't this that from which my lord drinks, and by which he indeed divines? You have done evil in so doing.'" 6 He overtook them, and he spoke these words to them. 7 They said to him, "Why does my lord speak such words as these? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing! 8 Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks' mouths, we brought again to you out of the land of Canaan. How then should we steal silver or gold out of your lord's house? 9 With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondservants." 10 He said, "Now also let it be according to your words: he with whom it is found will be my bondservant; and you will be blameless." 11 Then they hurried, and each man took his sack down to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12 He searched, beginning with the eldest, and ending at the youngest. The cup was found in Benjamin's sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and each man loaded his donkey, and returned to the city."

COMMENTS: The steward was instructed for the second time to put the money back into each grain bag, and in addition the special cup was placed into Benjamin's sack to focus the stronger accusation on him. When the brothers were overtaken by the steward and his men, they did not suspect that the money had been planted again. Their defense was that they had returned the previous money, and brought money to pay for the second round of grain. When the steward told them about the special cup his lord used for drink and also to divine, they said whoever had the cup would suffer the severe penalty of death, and all the others would become bondservants. however, the steward said the one with the cup would become the bondservant and the others would not be held. The steward searched the sack of each man, in reverse birth order, and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. The steward had given the ten brothers the opportunity to leave, but their immediate reaction seemed unanimous as they demonstrated their deep grief by tearing their clothes, and they all returned with Benjamin.


F - JUDAH MADE AN EARNEST PLEA TO BE HELD INSTEAD OF BENJAMIN

Genesis 44 "14 Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, and he was still there. They fell on the ground before him. 15 Joseph said to them, "What deed is this that you have done? Don't you know that such a man as I can indeed divine?" 16 Judah said, "What will we tell my lord? What will we speak? Or how will we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants. Behold, we are my lord's bondservants, both we, and he also in whose hand the cup is found." 17 He said, "Far be it from me that I should do so. The man in whose hand the cup is found, he will be my bondservant; but as for you, go up in peace to your father." 18 Then Judah came near to him, and said, "Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord's ears, and don't let your anger burn against your servant; for you are even as Pharaoh. 19 My lord asked his servants, saying, 'Have you a father, or a brother?' 20 We said to my lord, 'We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother; and his father loves him.' 21 You said to your servants, 'Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.' 22 We said to my lord, 'The boy can't leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.' 23 You said to your servants, 'Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will see my face no more.' 24 It happened when we came up to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25 Our father said, 'Go again, buy us a little food.' 26 We said, 'We can't go down. If our youngest brother is with us, then we will go down: for we may not see the man's face, unless our youngest brother is with us.' 27 Your servant, my father, said to us, 'You know that my wife bore me two sons: 28 and the one went out from me, and I said, "Surely he is torn in pieces;" and I haven't seen him since. 29 If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.' 30 Now therefore when I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us; since his life is bound up in the boy's life; 31 it will happen, when he sees that the boy is no more, that he will die. Your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant, our father, with sorrow to Sheol. 32 For your servant became collateral for the boy to my father, saying, 'If I don't bring him to you, then I will bear the blame to my father forever.' 33 Now therefore, please let your servant stay instead of the boy, a bondservant to my lord; and let the boy go up with his brothers. 34 For how will I go up to my father, if the boy isn't with me? - lest I see the evil that will come on my father.""

COMMENTS: This section brings attention back to Judah as he and his brothers fell down before Joseph to plead for mercy. Judah spoke up to say there was no way for them to clear themselves before him, as God had found out their iniquity. Judah said they were all now bondservants with the one who had the cup. Joseph said only the one who had the cup would stay, and the others could go to their father in peace. Judah then drew near to Joseph to explain why they wanted to stay, expressing respect for him as being next to Pharaoh. Judah addressed Joseph as his lord, and reviewed that they had told him their father was still alive, and he had a young son that he loved much. When Judah said the brother of that young boy was dead, Joseph would not have known about the lie his brothers had told their father using Joseph's blood stained garment. Knowing that his father thought he was dead could have been another important factor for Joseph to want to soon see his father.

Judah continued to remind Joseph, calling him lord, that they had told him if the boy left Canaan, the father would die; but they understood his reply that they would not see his face unless the boy came with them. Their father did not want to send Benjamin but he finally agreed that it was the only way to get the essential grain. Judah said his father, the servant of their lord, reminded them as they were leaving that his wife bore him two sons: one went out from him and surely he had been torn in pieces; and that one had not been seen since. He said if he also lost Benjamin he would die from grief. Judah appealed to be kept as the bondservant for his lord, so he would not return and see the evil come upon his father. His father's life was bound up with the boy, and if the boy was taken from him he would die in sorrow. Referring again to himself as a servant, Judah said he had become collateral for the boy to his father, and would bear the blame forever if the boy did not return. Therefore Judah's final plea was to please be allowed to stay as the bondservant in place of Benjamin, and allow the other brothers to go back to their father.


G - JOSEPH REVEALED HIMSELF TO HIS BROTHERS

Genesis 45 "1 Then Joseph couldn't control himself before all those who stood before him, and he cried, "Cause everyone to go out from me!" No one else stood with him, while Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 He wept aloud. The Egyptians heard, and the house of Pharaoh heard. 3 Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Does my father still live?" His brothers couldn't answer him; for they were terrified at his presence. 4 Joseph said to his brothers, "Come near to me, please." They came near. "He said, I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 Now don't be grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are yet five years, in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to save you alive by a great deliverance. 8 So now it wasn't you who sent me here, but God, and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his house, and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9 Hurry, and go up to my father, and tell him, 'This is what your son Joseph says, "God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me. Don't wait. 10 You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you will be near to me, you, your children, your children's children, your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11 There I will nourish you; for there are yet five years of famine; lest you come to poverty, you, and your household, and all that you have."' 12 Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaks to you. 13 You shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen. You shall hurry and bring my father down here." 14 He fell on his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. 15 He kissed all his brothers, and wept on them. After that his brothers talked with him."

Genesis 45 "24 So he sent his brothers away, and they departed. He said to them, "See that you don't quarrel on the way." 25 They went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan, to Jacob their father. 26 They told him, saying, "Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt." His heart fainted, for he didn't believe them. 27 They told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them. When he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob, their father, revived. 28 Israel said, "It is enough. Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.""

COMMENTS: As Joseph began to be emotionally overwhelmed, he commanded that all others were to go out, and he stood alone before his brothers to reveal himself to them. He wept aloud and the Egyptians heard, and word also got to Pharaoh, which prepared him to give extra support to Joseph in securing a place in Egypt for Israel. The brothers were terrified to be in the presence of Joseph, in such a powerful position. This would have been especially true for those brothers who had directly plotted to kill him. Judah must have been thinking about his suggestion to sell Joseph as a slave in order to keep him from being killed through the vicious jealousy of the sons of Zilpah and Bilhah.

Joseph's uncontrollable emotions were not fueled by hate, but by a release in thankfulness that God had given him an opportunity to see his father alive, and provide security for the entire family during the years of famine. So what the brothers thought was their self-made plan to sell Joseph into slavery, Joseph saw as the plan of God to place him into the high position with Pharaoh to save a remnant for Israel. Joseph wanted his brothers to quickly go to his father and explain all these things, and then to move the entire family with all their possessions down to Egypt. Joseph said he would nourish all of them in Goshen through the coming five years of famine so they would not become impoverished. Joseph and his brothers then had a time of weeping and talking together. When the brothers returned to tell their father, he was overwhelmed with disbelief at first. After seeing all that had come back to Canaan to help with the move into Egypt, he finally recovered his composure and went with his family and all their possessions.


H - JACOB SENT JUDAH AHEAD TO JOSEPH TO GO INTO GOSHEN

Genesis 46 "26 All the souls who came with Jacob into Egypt, who were his direct descendants, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were sixty-six. 27 The sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two souls. All the souls of the house of Jacob, who came into Egypt, were seventy. 28 He sent Judah before him to Joseph, to show the way before him to Goshen, and they came into the land of Goshen. 29 Joseph prepared his chariot, and went up to meet Israel, his father, in Goshen. He presented himself to him, and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. 30 Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive." 31 Joseph said to his brothers, and to his father's house, "I will go up, and speak with Pharaoh, and will tell him, 'My brothers, and my father's house, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 These men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.' 33 It will happen, when Pharaoh summons you, and will say, 'What is your occupation?' 34 that you shall say, 'Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we, and our fathers:' that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.""

COMMENTS: The first portion of chapter 49 lists the descendents of Jacob, so for brevity I began the above passage at the summary verse. Jacob sent Judah, his fourth oldest son, ahead to be the guide for them as they moved into Goshen. When they were settled, Joseph went to Goshen in his chariot and had a very emotional reunion with his father. Jacob said he was now content to be there until he died because he had found his son alive. Joseph then explained how they would be considered by Pharaoh, and what the chosen representatives from among them should say when they were summoned by him. They would be given the completely separate territory of Goshen because the Egyptians considered all shepherds with disgust. The next two chapters cover Joseph's governing policies in the remaining five years of famine, and comments about his own family. Since this study is primarily about Judah, those two chapters are not included.


I - ISRAEL'S FINAL WORDS SET JUDAH ABOVE HIS BROTHERS

Genesis 49 "1 Jacob called to his sons, and said: "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which will happen to you in the days to come. 2 Assemble yourselves, and hear, you sons of Jacob. Listen to Israel, your father. 3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength; excelling in dignity, and excelling in power. 4 Boiling over as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father's bed, then defiled it. He went up to my couch. 5 "Simeon and Levi are brothers. Their swords are weapons of violence. 6 My soul, don't come into their council. My glory, don't be united to their assembly; for in their anger they killed men. In their self-will they hamstrung cattle. 7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel. I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. 8 "Judah, your brothers will praise you. Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies. Your father's sons will bow down before you. 9 Judah is a lion's cub. From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down, he crouched as a lion, as a lioness. Who will rouse him up? 10 The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs. To him will the obedience of the peoples be. 11 Binding his foal to the vine, his donkey's colt to the choice vine; he has washed his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes will be red with wine, his teeth white with milk.""

Genesis 49 "33 When Jacob made an end of charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the spirit, and was gathered to his people."

COMMENTS: After all of Jacob's family had been in Egypt 17 years, he called his sons together to tell them what would happen to each family line throughout many generations. he was now 147 years old as he told them to listen to Israel, their father, and these became his final words to them as God spoke through him. Only the first four sons of Israel will be covered in this study. Reuben, as the firstborn, was to have been the beginning of strength and excellence for Israel; But he became like water that boiled over, and therefore would not excel because he defiled his father's wife. He had sex many years earlier with Bilhah in Canaan. Simeon and Levi were next in birth order, but they had used their swords as weapons of violence with fierce and cruel anger that was not sanctioned by their father, but motivated by their own self-will. They killed all the men of Shechem and did further destruction as they hamstrung cattle to revenge the sexual violation of their sister Dinah by the son of Hamor. Their descendents would consequently be divided and scattered throughout the territories of the people known as Israel.

Israel then told Judah that his brothers would praise him , and they would accept him in authority over them. This would come about in a more gradual way than it had happened for Joseph after his own prophetic dreams. various generations of the descendents of Judah did in fact have decisive victories over enemies after the Exodus from Egypt, and the people had periods of peace through that tribeís prowess in battle. The symbol of ruling authority would pass down through the line of Judah until the one to whom it truly belongs would appear, and the obedience of all people will become subject to that descendent. This will be established in beauty and prosperity at the appointed time.

My main goal for this section of the study was to reflect on the prophetic fulfillment in the eventual descendent of Judah, who is Christ, the Son of God. Psalm 45 "6 Your throne, God, is forever and ever. A sceptre of equity is the sceptre of your kingdom. 7 You have loved righteousness, and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows." That passage from Psalms can remind all who read it that the sceptre symbolic of dominion was to pass through the line of Judah until it came to the King of all kings, the omnipotent and eternal sovereign of all nations of the earth. The one who was prepared to rule for eternity is the Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. The writer of Hebrews used that passage from Psalm 45 in his letter to believers. Hebrews 1 "8 But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of your Kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.""

We do not know the time when the everlasting kingdom will replace this present world, but we can take comfort from other scriptures as we wait for what does not seem to our view of time to be "a little while." Psalm 37 "9 For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for Yahweh shall inherit the land. 10 For yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more. Yes, though you look for his place, he isnít there. 11 But the humble shall inherit the land, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." Hebrews 10 "37 "In a very little while, he who comes will come, and will not wait. 38 But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul.""

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Thank you, Lord, for the ways that the prominence you determined for Judah to have among his brothers began to be evident as he was the one to convince his father to allow Benjamin to go to Egypt, with his own life as the pledge for safety. When the issue was forced Judah did not hesitate to offer himself so Benjamin could be set free. When Joseph's identity was revealed and Jacob was ready to take his entire family into Egypt, he sent Judah ahead to confirm the transition into Goshen. The fulfillment of the prophetic words of Israel about Judah did not begin until centuries later outside of Egypt, at the time you, Lord, had determined. The patriarchs of Israel, your chosen people, were no less sinners than all others who need to place their faith in your gift of righteousness to be acceptable before a Holy God. Lord, I offer my praise to you for the ways you have worked in the various pathways of my own life, and I ask that you keep me steadfast in my faith until your work in me is completed. I know, Lord, through the additional revealed truth in your written word that there were many generations in the line of Christ with no general recognition that a new king would be enthroned. All glory and praise belongs to my Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. Hallelujah, Amen!

Published 17 July 2017