We first hear Judah’s name in Genesis 29:35. According to this verse who is he (check verse 31 also)?
What does his name mean according to verse 35? I ______________ ___________________ ___________________ Lord.
To really understand who he is we to back up a bit. In the beginning of chapter 29, his father Jacob, is sent to Laban, Jacob’s uncle, to escape the wrath of his brother, Esau, for tricking him out of his birthright in chapter 27. In chapter 29, Jacob arrives at Laban’s Camp and he pretty quickly sees who in verse 9?
Looking at verses 10-12, what are the initial feelings between Jacob and Rachel?
He was smitten to say the least. Looking at verses 16 and 17, what do we learn about Laban’s daughters?
My translation says Leah was the older daughter but “her eyes were weak“. Now, we do not know exactly what this means, but some scholars believe it means her eyes may have been crossed or she had one, or even two, lazy eyes. I don’t know, but we know that her younger sister, Rachel, was beautiful and easy to look at. (***Keisha actually goes into this in more detail, so hang tight.)
Jacob barters to marry Rachel. Jacob held up his end of the bargain to work for seven years for Rachel’s hand, but what does Laban do in versus 22-24?
Okay, so that brings us up to why Jacob has 2 wives and the children of Jacob. We learn in verse 31, what about the sisters?
Leah was _______, but ____________________.
Rachel was ___________, but _______________.
As the chapter conclusions, Leah not only has the first-born son, which is huge in that culture, but the first four sons. The Lord blessed her immensely because she was hated by her husband.
Let’s look at one more thing about Judah and his 3 older brother’s before we move on to Judah, what do the names of Leah’s sons mean?
Reuben (32): the Lord __________ ___________ _____________ ______________.
Simeon (33): the Lord ___________ __________ ___________ _________ __________ ______________.
Levi (34): my husband ________ ____________ ___________ __________ ____________.
Judah (35): This time I ____________ ____________ ____________ _____________.
What difference do you see between Judah and his brothers already?
So the story continues and basically, bare bones here, the sisters and their maids have a birthing competition, competing for Jacob’s love, until twelve boys and a daughter were born (and those are just the ones we know about). Rachel dies giving birth to the youngest brother Benjamin, but right before that she gives birth to Joseph. Jessica talked more in-depth about Joseph in an earlier study (check that post out here), but this is Jacob’s favorite son because he was the first-born son of Rachel. The first son of the favored wife = automatically special. But his brothers hated him. What do they plan to do in 37:18-20?
We already know Judah has been set apart just by his name, but what does he do in 37:26 that sets him apart a little further? (read 25-28 for better context.)
While he may not win of the year award, he at least stepped into keep Joseph’s blood off of their hands.
Fast forward to chapter 38 and read the whole chapter (no worries… It’s pretty juicy and slightly uncomfortable) and let’s see what kind of man he is…
I know the language in the Bible can be slightly confusing, so let’s walk through this together:
Who is Tamar?
How many of Judah’s sons had married and slept with her?
How many died?
Who was left?
Why do you think Judah with held Shelah even after he was of age?
What does Tamar do to Judah in return for his dishonesty?
Did Judah do an upright thing in verse 18?
When Judah sent the goat, via Adullamite, what happens?
How many months pass before Tamar surfaces again?
What is he accused of?
What does she do to prove her “innocence”?
What is Judah’s response?
What are his exact words in regard to Tamar? “She is _____ ____________ than ____.”
Now, how in the whole world is she more righteous? Are they both wrong? Oddly enough this is where Judah earns his redemption stripes. Lets fast forward quite a bit and then come back…
Spoiler alert-> Jesus actually comes from the lineage of Judah.
Why not Joseph though? I mean he takes up a huge chunk of Genesis.
Have you ever heard the term used in the Bible for a worship song “the lion of Judah”? That’s Jesus! I’ll never forget the day I noticed that line in a song at church during the week I was studying this section of scripture, but hadn’t yet gotten to the part we are about to uncover, and I was so confused as to why we were singing that.
Look ahead also to Genesis 49:9-12;
9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah;
you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,[a]
until he to whom it belongs[b] shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
11 He will tether his donkey to a vine,
his colt to the choicest branch;
he will wash his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be darker than wine,
his teeth whiter than milk.
What does Jacob say to Judah?
Can you believe that? After the things he has done, he still receives a blessing. But why? He could have saved his brother, but he still allowed him to be sold him into slavery. He deceived his daughter-in-law, then slept with her, then he tried to have her burned at the stake. Oh yeah, he’s a peach!
Now go back to Genesis 38:26. Look up the definition of righteous using a bible dictionary. Write our your findings in your journal or on the PDF below.
He isn’t saying in this verse that her actions where right verses wrong, but that she was correct about who was responsible for her pregnancy. Righteous in Genesis 38:26 is the hebrew word tsadaq meaning “to be in the right” verses the same word from the hebrew tsedeq meaning “what is honest/moral“.
By saying this, Judah confessed his sin. He recognized it. Fessed up if you will. This becomes his redemption.
This is his turning point. This is where he is redeemed. Between this verse and his blessing in Chapter 49, he also lays down his life for his brother, Benjamin in 43:8-9, he assumes responsibility for his brother’s life (where else in the Bible do we see that, hmmmm!) Interesting, huh?
So mull over this…chew on it if you will and then come back here Thursday and we will dig in the application of this and what this means for us.