I have often wondered how two grown people who were brought up in the same home with the same parents, influences, and experiences can be so different. Sometimes, it seems, you could find more similarities between two strangers than between the two siblings. Judah and Joseph were very different.
Judah and Joseph were very different. Both had divine revelation—Joseph had dreams; Judah had sons killed by God for their wickedness; however, they appreciated those very differently. Another similarity is both brothers went away from the family. Joseph was sold into slavery; Judah willingly struck out on his own. The similarities end here.
Judah ended up in a business partnership with Hirah and married a Canaanite woman which was contrary to the family’s practice for generations. Judah’s children were so wicked and he so lenient the Lord had to punish them. Judah’s steps continue to spiral downward to the point he has to declare a harlot was more righteous than he! All his schemes and plots to get ahead in life had failed. Judah’s heart is revealed when he suggested to make a profit on Joseph instead of killing him. It appears Judah was elbowing his way in order to stand out from the rest of his brothers.
Joseph was given an opportunity to self-promote. He was immediately dropped into the home of Potiphar, a dignitary in Egypt. He could have chosen a similar path as his brother Judah, but he did not. Instead of sordid tales of self-promotion by sleeping with Potiphar’s wife, he preserves his way. His response to the wrong way was, “How can I sin against God?” Joseph was more interested in God’s approval than personal advancement.
Scanning through Psalm 37 provides many wonderful commentaries on Joseph’s life. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: And he delighteth in his way” (Psalm 37:23). “Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell for evermore” (Psalm 37:27). “Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, And he shall exalt thee to inherit the land” (Psalm 37:34).
Two brothers with two very different stories. If you were to follow one or the other, then follow the wisdom from Psalm 37:37, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: For the end of that man is peace.”