Joseph, Rachel’s oldest son, is Jacob’s favorite child, which is made obvious by the tunic of many colors Jacob made for him. This favoritism does not sit well with Joseph’s brothers. So when seventeen year-old Joseph receives dreams from the Lord revealing that one day he will rule over his family, the brothers become furious. They even plot Joseph’s death when Jacob sends him out to the fields to check on them. But Reuben, Jacob’s oldest son with Leah, talks the brothers into dropping Joseph into a well instead of killing him, with the intent of secretly rescuing him later. However, Judah says why kill Joseph when we can profit from him. So they sell Joseph to traders passing by, and they cover his tunic of many colors in animal blood to stage his death to their father Jacob. And Jacob believes the lie. Take note of whose idea it was to profit from Joseph’s life – Judah. Soon in the story, Jacob is going to prophesy that the Messiah will come through Judah’s descendants (Genesis 49:10). However, Judah is on a faith journey like the rest of us and his story has a messy start.
Judah marries a Canaanite woman, and they have three sons. The first son, Er, marries Tamar, but God kills Er due to his wickedness. So in accordance with levirate marriages, Judah marries his second son, Onan, to his brother’s widow, Tamar. But Onan “emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother.” God finds this to be wicked and kills him too. Judah blames Tamar for his sons’ deaths so he withholds the third son. But Tamar has an idea! She disguises herself as a harlot and next thing you know, Judah sleeps with Tamar. She becomes pregnant, and they have twins, Perez and Zerah. King David and ultimately our Savior Jesus Christ will come from Pérez’ lineage. The more we get into the story, the more we will see that there is no perfect person in Jesus’ family tree. They are all in need of a Savior!
In Egypt, Joseph is sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph. However Joseph flees, leaving his cloak behind. Potiphar’s wife lies, saying that Joseph attacks her, and innocent Joseph is sent to jail. Joseph’s circumstances appear very bleak. But God is with him! Keep reading to see how the Lord grows Judah, elevates Joseph, and saves the nations! (Genesis 37:1-38:30, 1 Chronicles 2:3-6, 8, Genesis 39:1-23)