Today's Bible reading (or yesterday's, depending on when you read this!) contains the third of three speeches by Judah in Genesis. The first was in Gen. 37, when he pointed out that murdering Joseph would not be profitable, and that he should be sold into slavery for a price instead. The second was in Gen. 38, the squalid account where Judah tried to get out of giving a third son to Tamar to provide her with an heir. Judah's speech there at first consisted of a demand for Tamar to be executed for prostitution - until he realized that he was one of her customers! That led him to confess, "She is more righteous than I." Progress!
The third and most moving statement of Judah's is in Gen. 44. It is in that text that Judah begged Joseph to spare Benjamin from servitude, and to allow him to take his place instead. It was a speech that deeply moved Joseph, and which demonstrated tremendous transformation in the character of Judah.
The stories of the patriarchs are tough for me to read sometimes because the men were so deeply flawed. Reuben slept with one of his father's concubines. Levi and Simeon brutally massacred the people of Shechem. And Judah tried to defraud Tamar. But the stories are also encouraging, because they show how God can change deeply flawed people, which means a lot to a deeply flawed person like me.