The Journey of Joseph: Judah’s Speech. Part Two.

24 “When we went back to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25 And when our father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food,’ 26 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.’ 27 Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28 One left me, and I said, “Surely he has been torn to pieces,” and I have never seen him since. 29 If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in evil to Sheol.’ (Genesis 44:24–29 (ESV)

As previously noted, a soliloquy is an act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play. It is a monologue addressed to oneself when a character’s thoughts are spoken out loud without addressing another individual.

Judah’s speech to the governor of Egypt, who was really his brother Joseph, was also heard by his other brothers. Therefore, it is technically not a soliloquy. This is because Judah was speaking to Joseph and not just to himself. However, the speech revealed Judah’s inner most thoughts regarding himself, his father and his family. It is also, like a soliloquy, an extended monologue. Judah’s speech comprises the rest of Genesis 44.

Today’s text is the second of three extended paragraphs. The first part of Judah’s speech was a monologue concerning his extended family and the circumstances which brought the eleven sons of Jacob back to Egypt. This second portion of the speech primarily focuses upon his father Jacob.

Judah related to the governor the events which transpired when the brothers, minus Simeon, returned home to Canaan. They told their father Jacob all which had occurred in Egypt. This included the governor’s stipulation that the only way Simeon would be released from Egyptian captivity would be for the brothers to return to Egypt with their youngest brother, Benjamin.

When the time came to buy more food, Judah recalled his father Jacob instructing the elder brothers to return to Egypt. But the older brothers reminded Jacob that they could not return to Egypt and see the governor unless Benjamin went with them. It was then that Jacob said to them, “You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28 One left me, and I said, “Surely he has been torn to pieces,” and I have never seen him since. 29 If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you will bring down my gray hairs in evil to Sheol.”

Imagine the emotional jolt Joseph received when hearing about Jacob’s words concerning him being torn to pieces and Jacob never seeing him again. Joseph realized the devastating toll it would be for his father if Benjamin did not return home.

Dr. Sproul states, “Judah shows he has made peace with the fact that Jacob loves Rachel’s sons more than Leah’s. He repeatedly mentions the special affection his father has for Benjamin (Gen. 44:20, 27–29) and appeals to it so that the boy might go free (vv. 30–34). The fatherly favoritism that earlier sparked brotherly hatred is now the very ground upon which Judah stands to secure Benjamin’s release. Jacob may not love Judah as much, but Judah does not sinfully let this stand in the way of the Lord’s demand that he honor his father (Ex. 20:12) like he did when he callously abandoned Joseph into slavery.”

What will Judah propose to his brother Joseph in order that their brother Benjamin might go free? This remains the final question to be answered from Judah’s speech.

Soli deo Gloria!  

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