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Echoes of the Future
Video 8 of 17
They meet again years later. Let's just recall, the first time they met, a child of Rachel - Joseph, stood to be killed. The first time they met at the last minute that sentence was commuted, commuted by Judah. Joseph now stands to live but he's going to be enslaved and Judah is okay with that, Judah allows that to happen. But the next time they meet, eerily, the same kind of situation sort of begins to emerge. A child of Rachel again stands to be killed but this time the child of Rachel is Benjamin.
Joseph, the high Egyptian official recognizes the brothers, the brothers don't recognize him; Joseph demands that if you're going to see my face again you must bring me back your other brother, your other brother that you say you left at home, Benjamin. Judah comes back, Judah promised his father that he would bring back Benjamin alive. Little did he know how difficult it was going to be to stand up to that challenge. Little did he know what kind of hoops Joseph aka the Egyptian official would put the brothers through. Joseph is determined to take Benjamin, he frames him, putting a silver cup in his baggage. All of the sacks are opened and then Benjamin's sack is opened and they find the silver goblet.
Now before that happened Judah, completely unaware that Benjamin has the king's silver goblet in his sack, Judah says whoever has the goblet is going to die and then, lo and behold there it is in Benjamin's sack. Here's the man who promised that he would bring back Benjamin alive to his father, now what is he going to do? Joseph stands up and says, no, far be it from me, I don't want him to be killed, I'll just take him as a slave. Well at that point what happened? At the last minute the sentence is commuted, the child of Rachel now stands to live, but he's going to be enslaved. Now Judah is faced with exactly the same choice, do I allow it to happen? The last time, you know I thought it was good enough, I saved Joseph's life. Okay he got sold as a slave, you know it's better than being killed. This time will Judah settle for the same thing?
The answer is no. He confronts the Egyptian official, he tells him the whole story, he says, you don't understand, my father's soul is bound up with the soul of Benjamin, he won't be able to go on without him, take me instead. There was a time when Judah had let the child of a rival mother languish in slavery because Father loved Rachel, the other wife, more than his own mother Leah. But now is not going to be that time. Judah says take me instead and that's Round 2. Judah doesn't allow it to happen this time, he sacrifices himself, I'll be the slave instead of Benjamin.
But remember, Round 2 is only possible because of Round 1. Because as much as you might condemn this, as much as you might say that Judah shouldn't have given in and shouldn't have sold Joseph as a slave, it's only because Joseph is alive that there can be a Round 2, that Judah can get another chance. According to Rashi that's exactly what Jacob is talking about here, Jacob recognizes this; Miteref beni alitah - you didn't allow yourself to tear up Joseph, my son you emerged from that and because of that there could be a Round 2.
Now while we're talking about Rashi, Rashi over here in these blessings that Jacob gives to Judah, on these words Gur Aryeh, Rashi says a fascinating thing. You see Gur actually is the word for cub, Aryeh is actually the word for lion, Rashi is bothered because these two things are somewhat at odds because a cub is a young lion and an Aryeh is an advanced lion, so which is it, is it an older lion or a cub? Rashi says this, there's an allusion to each; Al Dovid nitnaveh b'techilah - that actually Jacob was referring to a scion of the Davidic dynasty because Judah is the progenitor, Judah is the ancestor. Judah is promised that he will give birth to kings, but when did that promise come true? When does Judah give birth to kings? Who was the first king of Judah? The answer is King David, the author of Psalm 30.
Gur Aryeh, this was said prophetically, Rashi says. Al Dovid nitnaveh - he was prophesying about David, David would be the lion and the cub at the same time. Originally; Gur - he would be a cub; B'heyot Shaul melech aleinu - when Shaul, when Saul, was king and David was just a cub; Hayita hamotzi vehameivi - he at that point help saved the Jews by fighting against Goliath. Ul'basof aryeh - and later on when he became the king, he became a lion. David was both cub and lion. Jacob was talking about David the first king from the tribe of Judah.
Oh David. Well here's my next challenge for you. Look at the Book of Samuel - First Samuel, Chapter 17, read that story of David the lion cub fighting against Goliath before he becomes king, and you'll find a fascinating thing. That story about David starts to remind you a lot of our story of Joseph and the sale of Joseph. As you read Samuel Chapter 17, the very beginning of the introduction of David, what about it reminds us of Joseph? What hints does that give us to the enduring meaning of Kind David's own psalm, the psalm we've been looking at, Psalm 30? Come back and let's talk about it.
1. What Does the Book of Psalms Have to Do With the Joseph Story?
2. A Curious Dedication
3. Profit Motive
4. Blood Money
5. Did Jacob Know?
6. A Father's Ambivalent Blessing
7. The Ruthlessness of War
8. The Lion and the Cub
10. To Redeem an Ancestor's Pledge
11. The Lion and the Lamb
12. Moving Up
13. Memories of Father
14. First Cries
15. Where Would I Be Without You
16. What Could Kill Me--But Then What?
17. A Palpable Presence
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