George Petersen - Cape Town Convention

Genesis 49: 8-12. “Judah, thou are he whom thy brethren shall praise….the sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come….” 1 Chron 5:2.. “For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler..” Why was it that the lawgiver was from Judah and not given to Joseph? Joseph’s sheaf had remained upright, and there was no fault in him, yet Christ did not come from him. “Judah prevailed among his brethren…” How? What did he do? 

In Gen 29 at the time of his birth – Leah found herself in a place in life she did not choose. Why did she experience so much difficulty.. even hatred – at first Leah might have felt her marriage to Jacob a blessing, but in vs. 31 we read that she was hated. When Leah’s first son Reuben was born there was a cry in her voice – [“see a son”-margin]- Oh! That my husband might love me – but he still didn’t. Then at Simeon’s birth [margin] – “Lord had heard”] – but still no difference. Then came Levi – [joined] “Now my husband will be joined to me” – but he still didn’t. When Judah [=praise] was born she said, “now I will praise the Lord”. Perhaps she felt my husband will never love me but I will find comfort in the Lord. Thus Judah grew up – knowing that life will not always be what one hoped, but there’s blessing in praising the Lord. The blessing in his mother’s experience reached Judah. 

There was another son later, born to Rachel – Joseph, There was hatred and jealousy felt towards him. One day in the field [Gen. 37] the other sons conspired to slay him. Reuben felt responsible: let’s not kill him just put him into the pit – hoping to deliver him from his brothers again and return him safely to his father. Then when the Ishmaelites passed, it was Judah’s suggestion to sell him to them. Judah felt this is a solution – but there was an “afterwards” – to every choice there is always a result: Gen. 37:33-35… and “Jacob refused to be comforted..” 

In Gen. 38 we read of Judah moving away from his brothers – was it perhaps because he couldn’t face the grief of his father any more? There was this grief on his conscience that he had been the one to suggest selling Joseph. Judah got into a worse and worse condition. Two of his sons were slain due to their wickedness. Tamar must have known of the promises of God to that family and wanted to be a part of that family. Now the opportunity and time came – and she was being left out. Her act was not in wickedness – we can gather that from what Judah said of her , “she hath been more righteous than I..” [vs. 26] – she only desired to have place and part and be fruitful in the family of God. God was able to bless her because her purposes were true. Perhaps at this time Judah would realize he had to do something to make changes in his own life. 

Now came the famine – and Jacob’s ten sons went down to Egypt to fetch corn. And came back without Simeon. For 3 days Joseph had put them all in prison – for 3 days Joseph prayed to get God’s mind – he could say, “This do, for I fear God.” He had first felt, let one go and fetch Benjamin. Joseph may have wondered in himself – have they killed Benjamin too? But as he listened to them talking among each other he realized Reuben was not guilty of having sold him to the Ishmaelites. Simeon was the 2nd eldest, and should have taken responsibility in Reuben’s absence – but he didn’t – so Joseph imprisoned him. [ch 42] Jacob’s reaction to all this was: “Me have ye bereaved of my children. Joseph is not, Simeon is not and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.” His sons were going one by one … Remember: Jacob, Joseph, Judah, all didn’t know the end result – they were all in the experience, as all is against me – not realizing it was God’s way of working out all for him. We don’t realize experiences are FOR us not AGAINST us. Jacob’s family was not united – he had tried but couldn’t. These experiences brought about the unification of his sons. At the end of his life he could look back to “the Lord who has blessed me all my life long” – could see then that God had been in it all. 

The price of bread was becoming higher for Jacob and finally the price of bread for Jacob was Benjamin. Reuben approached his father [Gen 42:37] and said, Send Benjamin with me – and slay my 2 sons if he doesn’t return with me. But this was not enough. Reuben was not willing to give his own life on the line, only that of his sons. 

More time passed. Then Judah came to Jacob and said, “Send Benjamin with me, and if he doesn’t return, then let me bear the blame forever” [43:9] Herein the quality of Christ was born in Judah: being the Redeemer. Experiences would bring Judah to the place where he would later prove that he meant what he said. Judah was willing to give his life for his brethren, the quality of Christ – giving His life that others may have life. 

From Egypt Joseph then sent them off with his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack. When they were brought back Joseph said: Don’t you know that you can’t get away with anything – I can divine? [this was the cup which he used for it]. 

Judah at this stage did not know weather Benjamin had stolen the cup or not; weather he was honest or not. But the sentence would be: Benjamin would be a servant. Benjamin was not guilty but was in a position where he could not plead for himself or deliver himself. Then Judah came forward [44:13] and explained he had become surety for the lad and would bear this blame forever. I’ll stay, but I cannot return to my father without Benjamin. Judah would have remembered the time he returned to his father without Joseph and he would not be comforted, Judah saw the anguish and sorrow of his father – and here once more a son would be brought into bondage if he didn’t pay the price. 

How did God feel when Adam and Eve trespassed – Jesus saw the grief in the Father because of the separation between God and man. Is that not what Jesus felt as he was between the garden and the cross? [Without someone to pay the price for Benjamin, he himself would have to pay – but one could pay his redemption: Judah.] In the Garden we find the silver cup – of redemption. Jesus couldn’t go back to His Father without His brethren. He had to pay our redemption before returning to the Father. Thus in Judah was the spirit of Christ – willing to be the Redeemer. 

At this stage Joseph, when he saw Judah’s attitude, he revealed himself to his brethren, and for the first time there was unity among Jacob’s sons. It is in this sense that Judah prevailed above his brethren. 

Revelation 2:4 elders: “Worthy is the Lamb that hath redeemed us from all iniquity.” Judah was willing to take the blame even if Benjamin was a thief and had stolen the cup. Judah didn’t know, but knew that no matter what Benjamin did, he would have to be his surety. Judah could have felt: “if you are a thief then I’m free.” But NO! We are guilty, and yet Jesus has taken the blame, that there may be rejoicing as He met the Father again. 

Gen. 49:3-12 Judah stooped down, willing to take the lowest place – but because of that he was the highest among his brethren. Unto him would the lawgiver until Shiloh come – people would gather unto him for help. [lawgiver] Judah was now bound to the vine – partaking of that which was good and proper. Judah was once so wrong, but now feeding on the right, and it gave strength, and the effect was evident [could be seen on his eyes and feet]. Judah was only a type of Christ in Redemption – he didn’t actually pay the price but had been willing to do so.

Not verbatim