An unexpected ancestor {An Emmaus look at Genesis 49:10}

English: Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by P...

English: Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by Pharaoh, watercolor by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the book of Genesis draws to a close so does the long and colorful life of Jacob. He’s tricked his brother out of birthright and blessing. He’s been tricked into marrying a woman he didn’t love. He’s wrestled God. And, along the way, he fathered 12 sons.

Among them, the beloved Joseph, the first son of Jacob’s wife, Rachel. From the time Joseph appears, we know he is favored by his father. He and his mother bring up the rear when the extended family is on course to meet up with a betrayed brother. He proudly wears his coat of many colors.

He’s also sold into slavery, imprisoned on a false accusation and forgotten before he’s remembered, released and raised to the second highest position in all of Egypt.

So, when his father, Jacob, gathers his clan around his death bed to pronounce a final word over them, it would be only logical in the eyes of the world that Joseph would be the one who received a blessing with messianic overtones.

Ah, but that’s where God’s plan diverges from the world’s wisdom.

To be sure, Joseph receives the longest blessing, but it’s not the one that points to the Messiah.

That blessing is reserved for Judah.

Yes, Judah.

The one who suggested that it would be foolish to just kill their younger brother when there was profit to be made from selling him.

The one who wouldn’t allow his third son to marry Tamar while he himself ended up fathering her twins.

The one who wanted to have Tamar burned for her transgression.

But he was also the one who offered to take the blame should any harm to to Benjamin when the brothers went to Egypt for the second time to buy food.

He was the one who pledged his life in exchange for Benjamin’s when the cup was found in the top of his sack.

And he, he is the one God chose, through the words of his servant, Jacob, to be the ancestor of the coming Messiah:

“Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.
– Genesis 49:8-12 (ESV)

Dead Sea-Judean Hills spring weeds in bloom

This post is part of a 31-day journey on the road to Emmaus. To begin at the beginning, click here. To see other “31 Days of …” posts from other bloggers, visit The Nester.

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