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Judah: Life Is Growth: Judah tells about what happens when he and his brothers return from Egypt without Simeon
Posted by Douglas, May 17, 2008. 1876 views. ID = 1312

Judah: Life Is Growth

Posted by Douglas, May 17, 2008. 1876 views. ID = 1312
This post was written in 51 minutes.
If you read the earlier exploits of Judah's life, you realize that he is exactly like his father - the sins of the father really are the sins of the son. I think this event could very well have been a turning point for him.
This post has been awarded 16 stars by 4 readers.
This post is Part 12 of a writing series titled Joseph's Story.

Life is change. Life is growth. The seed falls to the ground, brown, ugly and shriveled, yet the heat of the sun, the cool of the ground and the gentle splash of rain transform it to a tiny sapling, then a mighty tree with pink buds that blossom into flower. The cub, helpless and hungry, waits eagerly for mother's milk, but a day will come when he will wait no more, but will forage eagerly for his own food, taking responsibility for himself.

Everything changes. Everything grows. It is the way of all living things.

Except Father.

For as long as I have known him, he has been a selfish, self-absorbed, conniving, treacherous deceiver, who cares for nothing but himself. He was like that when I was a little child, and he is still the same man today as he was then.

I despise him for it.

But Reuben! There is a man who has grown, and learned to take responsibility. Not just for himself, not just for his children, but for all of us. When we returned to Canaan, it was Reuben who stood before our father and explained the situation. "The man who sells grain in Egypt believed that we were spies, Father, and though we insisted we were not, he would not believe us. He has taken Simeon prisoner and locked him in jail until we return, bringing Benjamin with us."

Father stared at him. "Take Benjamin with you?"

"Yes, Father. Simeon will remain in prison until we return with Benjamin."

I guess I expected Father to behave as a real father would. A real father would go to any lengths to free his son. A real father would get up from his tent and march on Egypt, demanding the freedom of his wrongfully accused son. A real father would - at the very least - send his sons back to Egypt.

But he is not a real father; he is a whining, sniveling child, as he always has been. "Oh, my sons have been taken from me; my son Joseph has been killed, Simeon is imprisoned, and now you want me to lose Benjamin as well?"

"It is the only way to redeem Simeon from prison, Father," Reuben explained patiently.

"You shall not take my son to Egypt," Father insisted.

Perplexed and astonished, Reuben said, "Father, if we do not take him, then your son Simeon will rot in jail for the rest of his life."

And there, of course, is the real issue: he has never considered any of us to be his real sons, and he would gladly trade all of our lives, all of our freedoms, for that one remaining child of his favorite wife.

Like a pathetic, stubborn child, he repeated, "You shall not take my son to Egypt."

Reuben continued to push the issue. "Father," he said, "see my two sons, your grandchildren? If you let me bring Benjamin to Egypt with us, I will leave my two sons in your care. And then, if I do not bring your son home to you safely, you may kill my sons."

Do you know what Father said to that? That despicable old man actually had the audacity to say, "You cannot take my son with you, for his brother is dead, and he is the only son remaining to me. Should harm come to him, I would go to the grave in sorrow."

The only son remaining to me?

I would like to send that heel-grabbing excuse for a father to the grave myself.

But no amount of wheedling and begging would get him to change his mind - until, months later, all the grain was gone, and he had no choice.

"It is time for you to go back to Egypt for more grain," he told us.

We began packing our caravan, but as before, Father intervened when he saw Benjamin preparing to go with us. "You must not go to Egypt, son," he said.

"Father," I said, "the ruler in Egypt was quite clear on this matter. We may not return to Egypt unless we bring our brother with us."

Father was adamant. "Benjamin shall not go."

Slowly, deliberately, I began unpacking the animals. My brothers stared at me for several seconds before they understood what I was doing. There was a look of astonishment in their eyes as they saw I was standing up to the old man, defying him. Then, after quick glances at one another, and a few nods of agreement, they began unpacking as well.

Father raged. "What are you doing, Judah?"

I shrugged. "If Benjamin does not go, none of us goes, Father. We will stay here and all starve together."

"Why have you all treated me so badly?" Father whined, "Why did you even tell the man that you had another brother? Why couldn't you have left my son in peace?"

"Father," I said, with a grim determination, "we had no choice. The man asked us about our family. Would you have us lie to him?" I didn't pause to give him time to answer; I knew the answer already. Father would tell any number of lies, trade any number of sons, to protect his youngest child.

"Now let us take Benjamin, for if we do not, we will all die. I will be the collateral for your son's life. If I do not bring him back to you safely, then I shall forever bear the blame, and you may do with my life what you will.

"But the time is now. If you hadn't spent so much time whining and fussing over Benjamin, and had a little care for Simeon, we could have gone to Egypt and returned twice."

At last I saw that Father was relenting. And in this moment of triumph, my brothers stared at me with newfound respect. Because I had faced down the old man? Or because I had promised to forfeit my own life for my brother's?

Had I really promised that? Had I really offered my own life in exchange for my brother Benjamin? Was this insanity? Or bravery?

Whatever it was, I know now that I, like Reuben, am no longer doomed to be my father's son. I am my own man.

Life is change. Life is growth. Today I am my own man, and I like the way it feels.

Copyright 2008 Douglas. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 16 stars by 4 readers.
This post is Part 12 of a writing series titled Joseph's Story. The next part of this series can be found here: Benjamin: The Favored Son.

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