In this section we listen to a heart-moving plea of Judah. Joseph has achieved the goal. He notices how Judah has changed. There is nothing left of insensitivity towards his father, as in the announcement of Joseph’s rejection. His plea also expresses his love for Benjamin, the son of the old age of Jacob. He has learned to empathize with the feelings of his father and his youngest brother.
This is also important in the relationships between believers. It is especially important with regard to the relationship between the Father and the Son, that we get a sense of what the Father felt when His Son was suffering, both from the human side and from the side of God. Are we not often insensitive to this?
This change in the heart of Judah has only been able to bring about God. Judah does not plead to be released, but to get Benjamin back with his father. There is also no strong defense to prove Benjamin’s innocence. He does not seek words of justification, but appeals to Joseph’s compassion. Judah does not argue to exonerate Benjamin, but asks for mercy (Job 9:1515“For though I were right, I could not answer;
I would have to implore the mercy of my judge.
There is nothing left in Judah’s feelings about his father that indicates that he wants to cheat on his father, as was the case with Joseph in the past. Judah has been the driving force behind the rejection of Joseph. His personal life is also reprehensible (Gen 38:1-261And it came about at that time, that Judah departed from his brothers and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.2Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua; and he took her and went in to her.3So she conceived and bore a son and he named him Er.4Then she conceived again and bore a son and named him Onan.5She bore still another son and named him Shelah; and it was at Chezib that she bore him.6Now Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name [was] Tamar.7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD took his life.8Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.”9Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother.10But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also.11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up”; for he thought, “[I am afraid] that he too may die like his brothers.” So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.12Now after a considerable time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and when the time of mourning was ended, Judah went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.13It was told to Tamar, “Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.”14So she removed her widow’s garments and covered [herself] with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife.15When Judah saw her, he thought she [was] a harlot, for she had covered her face.16So he turned aside to her by the road, and said, “Here now, let me come in to you”; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?”17He said, therefore, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” She said, moreover, “Will you give a pledge until you send [it]?”18He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” And she said, “Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave [them] to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him.19Then she arose and departed, and removed her veil and put on her widow’s garments.20When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her.21He asked the men of her place, saying, “Where is the temple prostitute who was by the road at Enaim?” But they said, “There has been no temple prostitute here.”22So he returned to Judah, and said, “I did not find her; and furthermore, the men of the place said, ‘There has been no temple prostitute here.’”23Then Judah said, “Let her keep them, otherwise we will become a laughingstock. After all, I sent this young goat, but you did not find her.”24Now it was about three months later that Judah was informed, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is also with child by harlotry.” Then Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned!”25It was while she was being brought out that she sent to her father-in-law, saying, “I am with child by the man to whom these things belong.” And she said, “Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?”26Judah recognized [them], and said, “She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not have relations with her again.). Here we hear the confession that God has brought their crime to light (verse 1616So Judah said, “What can we say to my lord? What can we speak? And how can we justify ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and the one in whose possession the cup has been found.”).
He describes in an impressive way Jacob’s love for Benjamin and how hard it was to get Benjamin along. He expresses the grief that Jacob will have when Benjamin does not return – fourteen times he calls the name ‘father’; twelve times he speaks about his ‘brother’. Finally, he offers himself to be a slave instead of Benjamin.
Here Judah represents the whole people. As a tribe Judah is most responsible for the rejection of the Messiah. They are, like the returnees from Babylon, at the time of the public service of Lord Jesus in the land.