Genesis 44:33
Now please let your servant stay here as my lord's slave in place of the boy. Let him return with his brothers.
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

For thy servant became surety for the lad unto his father. The brethren of Joseph had been surprised on their second visit to Egypt at the cordiality of their reception. They started homewards with well-laden sacks and trembling gladness. They had not gone far when they were overtaken, their sacks searched, and the cup found. With depressed spirits and dreary forebodings they were brought back to the city, and into the presence of Joseph. Joseph had several motives in his strange treatment of his brethren. He may have desired in some way to punish them for their sin against himself by letting them taste some of the bitterness he had experienced when, ruthlessly torn from his home, he was sent a shrinking slave into a distant land. Human nature was strong in Joseph as in others. His brethren had to learn the nature of their own sin by suffering. They have also to learn that their lives were forfeited by sin to justice. He wished also to bring them to a state of humility, so that they should afterwards behave rightly to each other. He may have had doubts as to the safety of his own brother Benjamin with them. He tests thus their interest in their half-brother, for they could have left with some sort of excuse Benjamin as a slave in Egypt. He tests also their regard for their father, and finds out also how they would look upon himself when he should reveal himself to them. Judah is the spokesman for the rest in the painful circumstances in which they are all placed. Joseph proposes to keep only Benjamin as a slave, but Judah draws near, and with deepest humility and heartfelt earnestness pleads with Joseph. Consider -


1. Judah pleads as surety for Benjamin, and as a brother. We find that it is Judah and not Reuben who pleads now for the life of a brother. Age has mellowed the fierce Judah. We cannot always tell from what a man is in his early years what he will be later on.

(1) Judah admits the wrong, attempts no excuse or extenuation. All evidence was against Benjamin. Judah and the rest cannot tell what to think of the act. He admitted it. We must admit our sin.

(2) Confessed that it was right that Benjamin and they should suffer. Some blame others for their circumstances and sins. To all appearance here Benjamin was alone to blame.

(3) He throws himself on the righteousness and compassion of Joseph. This is all we can do before God. He pleads the pain which it will cause to his father. His appeal is most pathetic. Read it, and the fount of tears must be touched. In all the volumes of fiction ever written there is nothing to surpass the tenderness and pathos of this pleading of Judah.

2. We learn from this position and pleading of Judah as to how we should approach God. We have sinned and can only throw ourselves on his mercy. We see also how Christ pleads for us. His pleading is real and earnest. He prayed on earth for his disciples. The present is a dispensation of mediation. Hence Christ still pleads as our surety in heaven.

II. JUDAH'S OFFER. He is ready to be bound for Benjamin. It is one thing to talk, another to act. He had promised his father to bring Benjamin again (Genesis 43:9), and he wishes to keep his word. He became surety, a guarantee, as one who is bound by signing a paper. He was answerable to his father. He is ready to give his service for Benjamin, his life for his brother. His faithfulness was thus proved. Christ is our surety. He makes himself one with us (Hebrews 2:11). He sprang from Judah (Hebrews 7:14). He became one with us in nature and in temptation, and was accepted as our substitute, was bound, abused, and crucified. He bore the curse for us (Galatians 3:13). He sacrificed himself for us. Christ died for us who were below him. We may see in the success of Judah's pleading an indication of the success of Jesus' work. Joseph needed no entreaty to be merciful to Benjamin. He was nearer of kin to Benjamin than Judah was. So God is our Father. Joseph only wished to see the brethren in a fit state to be forgiven. They were entirely forgiven (vers. 5-15). He forgave freely, and wished them to forgive themselves. He knew very well that if they began to blame themselves too much, or to upbraid each other, they would never be happy. Forgiveness should produce peace.

1. Let us see ourselves in those suppliant brothers of Joseph.

2. Let us see in Judah how Christ pleads for us, and with what power. Certainly he excelled in his appeal, in wisdom, boldness, eloquence, tenderness, and self-sacrifice. How much more should we not praise Jesus for his power, his life, his love, sufferings, death, and present intercession.

3. Let us then trust him. What would have been thought of the others if they should have said to Judah, "You are not equal to being surety for him," or" You are not of sufficient standing, not above us, so as to speak in the name of the rest"? And is not Christ equal to the work of securing our salvation? If he can do it, shall we attempt to mar by our meddling? Full atonement is made, as well as powerful intercession offered. What we have to do is to trust Christ's work. Let us give up hope of preparing ourselves. He is not like some who are sureties, and are unwilling to pay. He has paid. The law and justice have nothing to demand. Should either present a claim, point to the cross, for that answers all demands. Oh the mystery of redeeming love! Oh the simplicity and yet the depth of meaning contained in that work of Christ! It is a stumbling-block to the high-minded, but a salvation to the humble. - H.

His life is bound up in the lad's life.
These words were spoken by Judah as descriptive of the tenderness and affection which Jacob felt towards Benjamin, the youngest son of that patriarchal family; but they are words just as appropriate to hundreds of parents in this house — "since his life is bound up in the lad's life." The fowl in the barnyard, clumsy-footed and heavy-winged, flies fiercely at you if you come too near the little group, and God intended every father and mother to be the protection and the help of the child. Jesus comes into every dwelling, and says to the father or mother: "You have been looking after this child's body and mind; the time has come when you ought to be looking after its immortal soul." I read of a vessel that foundered. The boats were launched; many of the passengers were struggling in the water. A mother with one band beat the wave, and with the other hand lifted up her little child towards the lifeboat, crying: "Save my child! save my child!" The impassioned outcry of that mother is the prayer of hundreds of Christian people who sit listening this morning while I speak.


1. I find the first cause of parental anxiety in the inefficiency and imperfection of parents themselves. We have a slight hope, all of us, that our children may escape our faults. We hide our imperfections and think they will steer clear of them. Alas, there is a poor prospect of that. There is more probability that they will choose our vices than choose our virtues.

2. Again, parental anxiety often arises from an early exhibition of sinfulness in the child. It is especially sad if the parent sees his own faults copied by the child. It is very hard work to pull up a nettle that we ourselves planted. We remember that the greatest frauds that ever shook the banking-houses of the country started from a boy's deception a good many years ago; and the gleaming blade of the murderer is only another blade of the knife with which the boy struck at his comrade. The cedar of Lebanon that wrestles with the blast, started from seed lodged in the side of the mountain, and the most tremendous dishonesties of the world once toddled out from a cradle. All these things make parents anxious.

3. Anxiety on the part of parents, also, arises from a consciousness that there are so many temptations thrown all around our young people. It may be almost impossible to take a castle by siege — straightforward siege — but suppose in the night there is a traitor within, and he goes down and draws the bolt, and swings open the great door, and then the castle falls immediately. That is the trouble with the hearts of the young; they have foes without and foes within.

II. I shall devote the rest of my remarks to ALLEVIATION OF PARENTAL ANXIETY. Let me say to you as parents, that a great deal of that anxiety will be lifted if you will begin early with your children. Tom Paine said: "The first five years of my life I became an infidel." A vessel goes out to sea; it has been five days out; a storm comes on it; it springs a leak; the helm will not work; everything is out of order. What is the matter? The ship is not seaworthy, and never was. It is a poor time to find it out now. Under the fury of the storm, the vessel goes down, with two hundred and fifty passengers, to a watery grave. The time to make the ship seaworthy was in the dry-dock, before it started. Alas for us, if we wait until our children get out into the world before we try to bring upon them the influence of Christ's religion. I tell you, the dry-dock of the Christian home is the place where we are to fit them for usefulness and for heaven. In this world, under the storm of vice and temptation, it will be too late. In the domestic circle you decide whether your child shall be truthful or false — whether it shall be generous or penurious. You cannot begin too early. You stand on the bank of a river floating by. You cannot stop that river, but you travel days and days towards the source of it, and you find, after awhile, where it comes down, dropping from the rock, and with your knife you make a course in this or that direction for the dropping to take, and you decide the course of the river. You stand and see your children's character rolling on with great impetuosity and passion, and you cannot affect them. Go up towards the source where the character first starts, and decide that it shall take the right direction, and it will follow the path you give it. But I want you to remember, O father, O mother, that it is what you do that is going to affect your children, and not what you say. You tell your children to become Christians while you are not, and they will not. Above all, pray. I do not mean mere formal prayer, that amounts to nothing. Often go before God and say: "Here are my dear children. Oh save them. Put their feet on the road to heaven. Thou knowest how imperfectly I am training them; make up what I lack. Lord Jesus Christ, better than anything Thou canst give, give them Jesus." God will hear such a prayer. He said He would: "I will be a God to thee and thy seed after thee."

(Dr. Talmage.).

Benjamin, Joseph, Pharaoh
Canaan, Egypt
Abide, Bondman, Bond-man, Bondservant, Boy, Brethren, Brothers, Instead, Lad, Lord's, Please, Return, Servant, Slave, Stay, Youth
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 44:33-34

     8481   self-sacrifice

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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