So in Genesis 43, we are back in Canaan with Jacob’s sons.
The famine is still going strong and the grain that was brought from Egypt is on the verge of depletion.
In an exact replay of what happened earlier Jacob tells his sons to stop moping around like a bunch of depressed beggars and return to Egypt to buy some more food.
Jacob is quickly reminded that they can’t leave without taking Benjamin.
Judah speaks up and offers himself up as surety for Benjamin telling his father that if anything happens to Benjamin, he’ll accept the blame forever.
Judah’s unselfish gesture here is an indication of a changed man.
Time definitely has a way of smoothing out the rough edges and humbling the arrogance in men.
Judah seems to be humbled by life.
Gone seems to be the cold-hearted man who acted in cohort with his brothers to betray Joseph.
Judah’s proposal was no small matter.
He most likely considered himself as the inheritor to the first born rights of the clan.
This means he would be granted all of the wealth and authority of the clan of Israel at the time of Jacob’s death.
You may be wondering, since he was the fourth born son from Leah, where in the world did he come up with this idea?
Well, remember the real first-born son Reuben blew his chances by defiling his father’s bed (sleeping with Bilah).
And the 2nd and 3rd borns, Simeon and Levi, most likely blew their chances big time by going on that crazy murderous rampage in Shechem where they ended up killing all of the freshly circumcised men.
So Judah actually had a lot to lose if something happened to Benjamin.
He could be disinherited just as his older brothers were.
Next to Joseph, Judah receives the most favorable treatment in Genesis among Jacob’s sons.
We’ll also see that although Judah is only the fourth son of Leah, he will increasingly assume a leadership role among the 10 eldest brothers.
We’ve already seen him demonstrate his leadership by speaking up against killing Joseph and here negotiating with his father regarding Joseph’s demand that Benjamin be brought down to Egypt.
After much persuading, Jacob decides that here, finally, is a son who could be trusted in the matter.
So the boys pack up their needed belongings including the money that had mysteriously found its way back into their grain bags and start their journey back to Egypt.
This time with Benjamin.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“No one has greater love than a person who lays down his life for his friends.”