I've said it before, and I'll say it again: no matter how many times I've read the Bible, new things and new connections constantly jump out for me!
Just this morning, I was reading Genesis 41-45. The second half of ch 44 tells the story of Joseph finally revealing himself to his brothers when they travel to Egypt to buy food for the family. By this point in the story, it had been close to 20 years since Joseph's brothers had sold him to Ishmaelite merchants all because of their jealousy. The assumption was that they would never see or hear from him again, certainly not in Egypt as Pharaoh's "Secretary of State." Joseph recognized his brothers almost immediately and went about setting-up a dramatic revealing, but only after causing them tremendous grief and agony around the youngest Israelite son, Benjamin.
When the brothers return to Egypt for their second time, this time with Benjamin in tow, Joseph essentially frames them in order to keep them in Egypt. When they are arrested and hauled back to his palace, Joseph demands that Benjamin remain in Egypt as his slave, while the others are free to return to Canaan.
And this is where things get really interesting and where my personal "new" revelation comes into play...
One of the brothers, Judah, speaks up and begs Joseph (they still don't know who he is) to take him instead. Here's the text (Genesis 44:32-34)...
[Judah said], "If I do not bring him back [to our father], I will bear the blame before [him] all my life!" Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord's slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father."
I already put up a post this week about places where we find Jesus in the Bible, but I missed this one. Look at the details!
Judah offers himself in place of Benjamin - the picture perfect definition of substitutionary atonement...one person giving them as a substitute for another
Judah would go on to become the tribe of Judah...the kingly tribe of Israel, the tribe of Jesus' earthly father (Joseph) and therefore, Jesus' own official tribe
Judah offered himself as a substitute for Benjamin, the youngest (and socially weakest/least) member of the family; it's not just a picture of sacrificial love, but a sacrifice for the benefit, well-being, and life of the weakest among them. The Bible has plenty to say about our (spiritual) weakness and inability to save ourselves
Not that there was ever a real doubt that Jesus would make good on his mission to deliver us from sin on the cross, if for whatever reason Jesus did fail, he would have carried the entire blame before the Father for the rest of time...Jesus held sole responsibility for our salvation, just as Judah promised Israel for Benjamin
Sure, maybe this is old news for you. But for me, I gained a whole new appreciation for this story today!