INTRODUCTION Remembering that Jesus Christ our Savior was of the tribe of Judah will help us to appreciate the typology involved in Judah's intercession for his younger brother (or really half-brother) Benjamin. Types or supposed types must not be used, of course, to establish or "prove" new doctrines; but when the clear teachings of Biblical promises and precepts are illustrated in Biblical history, we may be thankful for increased interest in divine truth. More thrilling than the most exciting fiction, the faithful history given in the Bible provides the best possible background for the more doctrinal portions of truth. For the study of this lesson we can use the following outline: 1. Introduction, Genesis 44:18-23. a. Approach to authority, 18. b. Appeal to affection, 19-22. c. Admission of account, 23. 2. Information, Genesis 44:24-29. a. Repeated words, 24-26. b. Returning woes, 27-29. 3. Intercession, Genesis 44:30-34. a. Salvation from sorrow, 30-31. b. Salvation through surety, 32. c. Salvation by substitution, 33. d. Salvation with sentiment, 34. NOTES ON THE TEXT: INTRODUCTION, Genesis 44:18-23. Context tells us how Joseph had arranged for circumstantial evidence to make it appear that Benjamin had stolen Joseph's silver cup. In other words, Benjamin had been "framed" as a thief, and as a punishment was sentenced to remain in Egypt as a slave to Joseph. Of course Joseph was not recognized by his brothers as Joseph, but only as the powerful ruler of Egypt. And of course Joseph had no intention of making Benjamin a slave; the whole situation was staged as a test of the brothers' character. Years before Judah had persuaded his brothers to sell Joseph into slavery rather than leave him in a pit to die [Genesis 37:23-28]. He had conspired with the others to make Jacob believe that Joseph had been killed by wild beasts. How would he react now to the prospect of seeing another brother reduced to slavery? Approach to Authority, 18. Quite humbly Judah approached the second-highest authority in Egypt. He had no legal right even to be heard; so far as he knew the sentence passed on Benjamin was perfectly just, and the ruler was generous enough in allowing the brothers to leave without punishment. The only plea that Judah could make was a plea for additional mercy. Appeal to Affection, 19-22. Judah's simple review of the facts of the case, with emphasis upon the father's affection for his youngest son, was well calculated to appeal to the sympathetic affection of the ruler. Admission of Account, 23. However, there was no question or denial of the accountability of the brothers to the commands and conditions stated by the ruler. They had brought Benjamin to Egypt simply because the ruler had required his presence.
INFORMATION, Genesis 44:24-29. Continuing his appeal, Judah reviewed the information which he hoped might touch the heart of the Egyptian ruler. Repeated Words, 24-26. With no fancy rhetoric, Judah repeated the words of the ruler to Jacob, and now repeated to the ruler the words between Jacob and his sons. Returning Woes, 27-29. Memories of the loss of Joseph were still strong after so many years, and were stirred to renewed woe by the mere thought of the possibility of some injury to Benjamin. Evidently Jacob did not have much confidence in the desire or ability of his other sons to take any better care of Benjamin than they had of Joseph.
INTERCESSION, Genesis 44:30-34.,br> Here Judah rises to the heights in intercession. Note that his chief concern was for his father: whatever affection he may have had for Benjamin was outshone by his affection and concern for his father. Salvation from Sorrow, 30-31. No doubt Benjamin was unhappy at the prospect of Egyptian slavery, but there is no mention of this fact. More important, his father would be made sorrowful unto death, and Judah sought to spare his father this sorrow. Salvation through Surety, 32. Besides, Judah had assumed full responsibility for Benjamin's safety, offering himself as surety to his father in promising the safe return of his youngest brother. Judah's personal honor was at stake. Salvation by Substitution, 33. Except for Christ's offering of Himself at Calvary, we can hardly find a more beautiful picture of the doctrine of substitution in salvation. God must maintain His justice, and cannot become unjust in order to save sinners; the only way He could justify us and still be just was to punish our Substitute [Romans 3:26]. Exactly so, to satisfy what he believed to be Egyptian justice, Judah offered himself to be a slave instead of Benjamin. Salvation with Sentiment, 34. Again Judah expressed his dominant desire to deliver Benjamin for the sake of his father: to save Benjamin from slavery indeed, but with the higher purpose of saving the father from sorrow. Call it love or call it sentiment: call it what you will; but Judah's intercession, while it certainly showed respect for law, was far more than a cold-blooded legal proposition.
CONCLUSION [Philippians 2:5] Read context for elaboration of this verse. Or we may find it summed up in another verse: "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" [II John 3:16].
[From Ashland Avenue Baptist paper, November 21, 1975. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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