This morning’s Daily Office reading from Genesis continues the story of Joseph in Egypt. At this point Joseph is Pharaoh’s key advisor, and Jacob has sent his sons to Egypt for the second time to purchase food because of the famine. Big difference is this time his youngest son Benjamin had to make an appearance, Joseph’s requirement. After the purchase was made, Joseph framed his brothers, specifically Benjamin for stealing a cup. No surprise Joseph demands Benjamin stay behind as his slave.
Today’s reading begins with Judah stepping up, telling the whole story to Joseph, the closing by offering himself as slave in Benjamin’s place for their father’s Jacob’s sake.
- Judah and Benjamin are the two remaining tribes of Israel in Jesus day.
- Judah’s behavior appears to be a parallel to Jesus’ ministry; offering himself to pay the price for the infractions of another and the benefit of yet another.
I am cautious about drawing to many parallels with so little inquiry. It’s a realization I saw only this morning. Nonetheless it is an intriguing potential precedence. (Remember at this point the brothers do not know Joseph’s identity, which possibly changes all the dynamics.) As to Lent; perhaps it is a characteristic of God to offer self in place of another for their indiscretions. What exemplar this establishes for us, I’m not sure about, though I’ll admit to an initial discomfort.