Genesis 44:29
Now if you also take this one from me and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.'
The Conversion of JudahW. Roberts Genesis 44:14-34
Joseph's Love, and Judah's ChargeW. S. Smith, B. D.Genesis 44:16-34
Judah's ArgumentA. Fuller.Genesis 44:16-34
Judah's IntercessionT. H. Leale.Genesis 44:16-34
Judah's IntercessionA. Fuller.Genesis 44:16-34
Judah's IntercessionJ. C. Gray.Genesis 44:16-34
Character Built on FaithR.A. Redford Genesis 44


1. The unexpected confession of guilt which he makes. "God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants."

2. The sensitive appreciation of the terrible blow which Benjamin's loss would be to Jacob. "When he seeth the lad is not with us he will die."

3. The noble sacrifice he proposes to make for Benjamin. "Let thy servant abide instead of the lad, a bondman to my lord."


1. The memory of his old sin, which appears to have haunted his conscience.

2. The arrestment of Divine Providence, which in his Egyptian experience he suffered.

3. The inward operation of God's grace upon his heart. Learn -

1. That no living sinner is beyond the reach of conversion.

2. That for the most part the work of conversion is gradually consummated; and -

3. That when once it is completed it appears in a change of character and life. - W.

And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord?




V. IT SUGGESTS THE QUALITIES OF TRUE PRAYER. In true prayer the soul is stirred to its depths. "I would give very much," says Luther, "if I could pray to cur Lord God as well as Judah prays to Joseph here; for it is a perfect specimen of prayer — the true feeling there ought to be in prayer."

(T. H. Leale.)

The whole of this intercession, taken together, is not one twentieth part of the length which our best advocates would have made of it in a court of justice; yet the speaker finds room to expatiate upon those parts which are the most tender, and on which a minute description will heighten the general effect. We are surprised, delighted, and melted with his charming parenthesis: "Seeing his life is bound up with the lad's life." It is also remarkable how he repeats things which are the most tender; as, "when I come, and the lad be not with us... it shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us ...." So also in describing the effect which this would produce: "When he seeth that the lad is not with us, he will die; and we shall bring down the grey hairs of thy servant, my father, with sorrow to the grave. And now, having stated his situation, he presumes to express his petition. His withholding that to the last was holding the mind of his judge in a state of affecting suspense, and preventing the objections which an abrupt introduction of it at the beginning might have created. Thus Esther, when presenting her petition to Ahasuerus, kept it back till she had, by holding him in suspense, raised his desire to the utmost height to know what it was, and induced in him a predisposition to grant it. And when we consider his petition, and the filial regard from which it proceeds, we may say, that if we except the grace of another and greater Substitute, never surely was there a more generous proposal!

(A. Fuller.)




IV. THE ELOQUENT APPEAL. Judah makes a speech which is very natural, simple, and pathetic. It is conciliatory towards Joseph. Joseph's greatness, power, and high rank are fully recognized ("Thou art as Pharaoh"). It is considerate in reference to the statements about Jacob's peculiar reasons for sorrow. It is courageous in its announcement of Judah's own responsibility, and of his readiness to be a substitute for his brother. And all through the speech tenderness and sympathy are exhibited in a very simple but touching manner.

(W. S. Smith, B. D.)

To point out the force of this overwhelming argument requires a view of the human mind, when, like a complicate machine in motion, the various powers and passions of it are at work. The whole calamity of the family arising from obedience to the judge's own command; an obedience yielded to on their part with great reluctance, because of the situation of their aged father; and on his part with stiff greater, because his brother was, as he supposed, torn in pieces, and he the only surviving child of a beloved wife; and the declaration of a venerable grey-headed man, that if he lose him it will be his death — was enough to melt the heart of any one possessed of human feelings. If Joseph had really been what he appeared, an Egyptian nobleman, he must have yielded the point. To have withstood it would have proved him not a man, much less a man who "feared God," as he professed to be. But if such would have been his feelings even on that supposition, what must they have been to know what he knew? It is also observable with what singular adroitness Judah avoids making mention of this elder brother of the lad, in any other than his father's words. He did not say he was torn in pieces. No, he knew it was not so! But his father had once used that language, and though he had lately spoken in a manner which bore hard on him and his brethren, yet this is passed over, and nothing hinted but what will turn to account.

(A. Fuller.)

I. HE REHEARSES THE PAST (vers. 18-29).

1. The speaker. Judah. Well that it was he. Had it been Reuben the proof of penitence had not been so clear. It had been too much like the old Reuben (comp. Genesis 37:22 with Genesis 42:22). It was Judah, and not like the old Judah (Genesis 37:26, 27). The last time Joseph heard Judah speak of his father's favourite was when he (Joseph) was in the pit, and Judah, on the edge, was proposing to sell him into Bondage. Now he intercedes to save Benjamin from bondage.

2. The subject. He(1) recalls the former visit, and the conversation of that time (vers. 18-20). He then(2) proceeds to remind Joseph of his command (ver. 21), but for which they had not brought their brother. Of their expostulations (ver. 22) and of his firmness of purpose (ver. 23). He then drew the portrait of the old man, described the long time they bore the pangs of hunger before Jacob at last would suffer Benjamin to go; and, having hinted at the loss of one other son, repeated the final words of the old man (ver. 29).

II. HE PICTURES THE FUTURE. This he was the better able to do, from his memory of a former occasion. That picture of sorrow and wail of agony had ever since haunted him. It might be repeated with still more painful consequences. It might hasten the death of his father. He records, without a censure, the endearing union of the old father and his younger brother. There was one life between them. The death or loss of Benjamin might be the death of the father. He relates that he had become a surety for the safe return of the lad. As he thus earnestly and most pathetically pleads for the release of Benjamin, what feelings must have risen in the mind of Joseph. Chiefly of joy that Judah was so changed; but also of attachment to a father who had mourned his own supposed death so long and truly.


1. Its nature. If one must be held in bondage for this supposed crime, let it be himself, who is confessedly innocent, in place of Benjamin, whose guilt is assumed. Judah has wife and children at home, yet will leave all rather than abandon his brother. He will be henceforth a slave, if only Benjamin may be free. Was ever love like this? "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13; see especially Romans 5:6-8).

2. The motive. To spare his father all needless pain, he would accept the position of being less loved than Benjamin. His father might grieve at his loss, as he had at Simeon's, but the loss of Benjamin would affect him more.

3. The result. The test had proved to Joseph that Judah repented the past. It was a happy discovery. What can give greater joy to a brother than to see a right moral change in a brother? Learn:

1. Fearlessly to take the side of the innocent and the aged.

2. To bring forth fruit meet for repentance.

3. Not to be ashamed of an honourable change of heart and mind.

4. To love and honour Him who became a surety for us.

(J. C. Gray.)

Benjamin, Joseph, Pharaoh
Canaan, Egypt
Befall, Befalls, Bring, Evil, Grave, Gray, Grey, Hair, Hairs, Happens, Harm, Met, Mischief, Misery, Presence, Sheol, Sorrow, Underworld
1. Joseph's policy to stay his brothers.
6. The silver cup is found in Benjamin's sack.
14. They are brought before Joseph.
18. Judah's humble supplication to Joseph.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 44:29

     9040   grave, the
     9540   Sheol

Genesis 44:27-29

     8800   prejudice

Genesis 44:27-31

     5095   Jacob, life

Genesis 44:29-31

     5666   children, needs

Select Masterpieces of Biblical Literature
The Modern Reader's Bible A Series of Works from the Sacred Scriptures Presented in Modern Literary Form SELECT MASTERPIECES OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE Edited, with an Introduction and Notes by RICHARD G. MOULTON, M.A. (CAMB.), Ph.D. (PENN.) Professor of Literature in English in the University of Chicago New York The MacMillan Company London: MacMillan & Co., Ltd. 1902 Copyright, 1897, By THe MacMillan Company. Set up and electrotyped September, 1897. Reprinted December, 1897; August, 1898; February,
Various—Select Masterpieces of Biblical Literature

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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