In the Book of Genesis, Judah was considered the founder and leader of the Tribe of Judah of the Israelites and can be found on the Bible Timeline around 1704 BC. He was Jacob and Leah’s fourth son, whose name means “praise” or “thanksgiving”. As mentioned in Genesis 29:35, upon giving birth to Judah, Leah sang praises to the Lord for having been blessed with a son.
In the Scriptures, Judah had several brothers including Reuben, Levi, Simeon, Zebulun and Issachar. In the Bible, narrations on Judah’s birth was followed by stories about how he and his brothers were jealous of Joseph, who was the favorite son of their father. When they had the chance they took Joseph and threw him into a pit and debated about what should be done with him. In Genesis 37:26-28, it was Judah who saw an Ishmaelite caravan passing them at that moment. The said caravan was bound for Egypt, and Judah suggested that instead of killing Joseph, he should be sold as a slave to this group of people. He believed it was better to gain profit from selling Joseph, which the other brothers took as a wise suggestion.
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Eventually, Judah was wed to a Canaanite, who was the daughter of Shua. He soon had three children named Er, Onan, and Shelah. When Er died after marrying Tamar, Onan took her in based on what was the custom that prevailed during that time. However, Onan died, and before his death, he refused to have any children with Tamar. Based on the custom, Tamar had a choice to marry Shelah, yet Judah was against it. However, Tamar decided to trick Judah by disguising herself as a prostitute. The two had intercourse, and this resulted in Tamar’s pregnancy. Upon discovering that he was tricked, Judah attempted to have Tamar killed, but what stopped him from doing so was the revelation that he was the father of the unborn child.
Joseph and Judah
After Joseph had been sold as a slave, he experienced great fortunes in the land of Egypt. In fact, he soon was awarded a high position, and he became successful about 20 years after his brothers’ betrayal.
When the brothers came to Egypt, they did not recognize at first that it was Joseph whom they were speaking with. An incident happened during their visit, and Simeon was told to remain as a hostage. And would only be released as soon as Benjamin another of Jacob’s sons was brought to the palace upon the brothers’ next visit.
Judah spoke to Jacob and assured his father that Benjamin would be kept safe during their return to Egypt. However, another incident occurred, and Joseph ordered for Benjamin to stay in Egypt as his slave. Judah, who was responsible for Benjamin, decided to plead by taking the place of their youngest brother instead, until Joseph finally revealed his real identity upon discovering that his brothers have changed for the better.
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