In Genesis, we read of the tragic incident that happened in Dothan. Joseph had been sent by his father Jacob, to go check on his ten brothers at Shechem. But on getting there, he learnt that they had gone to Dothan, and there he met them.
Sadly, his brothers were not happy to see him and had conspired to kill him. Upon seeing him, they saw an opportunity to rid themselves of who they had now come to call “the dreamer”. Reuben, being lily-livered, instead of rebuking them suggested they abandon him in a pit. He suggested this with the intent of going back to rescue him. However, before Reuben’s cowardly rescue happened, Judah had thought up a clever plan to rid themselves of Joseph and still profit from it.
²⁶ So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood?__²⁷ Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.” And his brothers listened.
Judah didn’t want him to die but wanted him to suffer for his big dreams and at the same time, profit from his exile.
Centuries later we see Judah, not as an individual this time but as a tribe, repeating the same thing.
This was after the rebellion of Absalom (which was part of God’s judgement on David for his scandalous sin). Now Absalom was already dead and his rebellion quelled and all Israel had welcomed King David back, but not Judah.
So King David sent to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, saying, “Speak to the elders of Judah, saying, ‘Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house, since the words of all Israel have come to the king, to his very house?
2 Samuel 19:11
But why did Judah, the kinsman of David, refuse to bring him back? For starters, they were the backers of Absalom and wanted him to be king instead of David. Even though they did not want David dead, they also did not want him as their king because of his scandalous acts, not to mention the fact that David was getting old in their eyes. Resentment still existed in their hearts for David. There was also the fringe benefit of being responsible for making Absalom king, he would forever be in their debt.
While reading the Genealogy of Jesus in the New Testament, you would notice the names of the Patriarchs are written in Aramaic instead of in Hebrew, so that Judah is not written as Judah, but as JUDAS. This helps us see that the disciple who betrayed Jesus actually went by the name Judah (i.e., if we go by the actual Hebrew name).
Why is this detail important?
For one, it helps us see that what happened to Joseph and David were actually foreshadowing what would happen to Jesus.
Why did Judas betray Jesus?
Did he hate Jesus? No! He hated the Romans, that’s why Judas was part of a sect called Iscariot. They were a Jewish radical group sworn to bring down the Roman government. On the other hand, Judas knew Jesus to be the Christ and assumed the Christ could not die. So he calculated (or rather miscalculated) that if he betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, Jesus would be in a tight spot and forced to use his miraculous powers to defeat Rome. While he’d personally be making a profit at the same time.
Sounds familiar? Judah didn’t hate Joseph, only his big dreams, and instead of killing him, wanted to destroy his dream and still profit from it. The Elders of Judah didn’t hate David, only his scandal and wanted to punish him and still profit from his replacement.
The poet, Hester H. Chomondelay, captures this well in his poem tilled *Judas*.Judas still as of old men by themselves are priced for thirty pieces Judas sold himself, not Christ
~Hester H. Chomondelay
Judah means Praise. It is those who should praise us that most often than not, end up betraying us.
On Sunday they cried “Hosanna in the highest!” And on Friday the same crowd cried, “Crucify Him!”
This was the price paid for our redemption. Let us rid our hearts of vengeance and greed so that we can praise Him wholeheartedly for His blood shed for us.
Happy Good Friday.
Arrowhead, Pagemaster Apostolic Centre.