Monday, May 9, 2011

Genesis 49:8-12 Jacob's Blessing: Judah (Preview)

"Next, Jacob turns to his son Judah.  Now Judah had been a bit of a disappointment at times, I am sure.

Judah had been the one who suggested that the brothers sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites.  Although this was a cold and calculated action, it was far better than the other brothers' original idea, which was to kill Joseph rather than have to listen to his accounts of his dreams or deal with their father's favoritism toward Joseph.  [Of course, Jacob would not have known this about his son until after the family is reunited with Joseph.]

Judah was also the one who separated himself from his brothers and went off to marry a Canaanite woman, with rather disastrous results.  Two of his sons were put to death by the Lord because of their wickedness.  Judah himself resorted to going to a prostitute after his wife had died, and unknown to him, ended up sleeping with his widowed daughter-on-law, who then bore Judah twin sons.  He did not sleep with her again, although he apparently provided for his former daughter-in-law and their sons.

On a more positive side, Judah was the one who finally persuaded Jacob to let the brothers take their youngest brother Benjamin with them back to Egypt so that they could obtain food.  He also was the one who offered himself as a slave to Pharaoh's second-in-command (Joseph) instead of Benjamin, so that Benjamin could be returned to their elderly father.

In a way Judah grew into his role as leader of the brothers after Reuben, Simeon and Levi had been rejected because of their sinful behaviors.  We might wonder why the other brothers were passed over for the honors which Judah will receive despite his own sinful shortcomings.  This decision is hidden within the wisdom of God, who knows each man's heart, but I assume that Judah must have repented and sincerely desired to follow God's ways, for otherwise, I do not believe that God would have allowed him to receive the following rather amazing blessing from Jacob.

It is a bit long, though, so I think it would be best if I started another post about it so that we can study it in more detail.

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