Judah’s Plea For Benjamin

Ken Bailey was a laborer on the Alaska Pipeline back in the mid 70’s. He worked up in the icy cold for a year and came back home and decided to visit church. The first Sunday he walked through the doors and sat in the back seat. He had a beard, looked like a Grizzly bear an … More


One of the brothers, Judah, who had told their father that he would be responsible for Benjamin steps forward and begs Joseph to be allowed to stay in Benjamin’s place (vv. 18-34). He tearfully tells Joseph that their old father Jacob will die if anything happens to Benjamin (v. 23). This was certainly a very moving scene and demonstrates his concern for his father who would surely die if Benjamin did not return with them. This truly shows a change of heart when just a few years  prior to this these same brothers were willing to break the heart of Jacob when they showed him Joseph’s bloodstained robe (v, 29). His plea also reminds us of the Lord Jesus who later was willing to be offered up for the sins of His people.

Up until this moment there was insufficient evidence of repentance. Previous chapters have indicated that Joseph’s brothers recognized their suffering as the result of their sin, but at best they felt only regret. Regret is no more than what we would expect from anyone who is faced with the unpleasant consequences of sin. Every prisoner regrets their crime, or at least the fact that they were caught. But repentance is more than regret. The regrets of Judah and his brothers had not brought them to the point of confessing their sin to Jacob nor of making any attempt to learn of Joseph’s fate. But now, given the opportunity to repeat of their sin, there is a significant change of heart and action on the part of Joseph’s brothers. Judah was willing to become the slave of Joseph, even though he was declared innocent of the theft of the silver cup (v. 33). He could not stand the thought of causing any further suffering. That, my friend, is genuine repentanceRepentance recognizes sin and is genuinely sorry for it, so much so that this sin will be shunned and a new course of action will be sought.


If someone you are close to was accused of something and had to go to jail  would you be willing to offer your life in their place? This is what Judah offered to do for his brothers and this is what Jesus did for us.

Genesis 44:18-34 (English Standard Version)

Then Judah went up to him and said, "Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. My lord asked his servants, saying, 'Have you a father, or a brother?' And we said to my lord, 'We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother's children, and his father loves him.' Then you said to your servants, 'Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.' We said to my lord, 'The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.' Then you said to your servants, 'Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall not see my face again.' "When we went back to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. And when our father said, 'Go again, buy us a little food,' we said, 'We cannot go down. If our youngest brother goes with us, then we will go down. For we cannot see the man's face unless our youngest brother is with us.' Then your servant my father said to us, 'You know that my wife bore me two sons. One left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces, and I have never seen him since. If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in evil to Sheol.' "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."

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