This book is the second in a series dealing with different characters in the Bible. In the introduction, the author makes the point that, although there isn’t a great deal about Judah in the Bible, his name appears there frequently. Also, the tribe that descended from him rises to eminence in Scripture.
This book, therefore, doesn’t limit itself to the fourth son of Jacob, but covers the subsequent tribe of Judah also. Most of it, however, deals with the actual forefather himself.
The first six chapters cover the family background of Judah and major events of his life. Suitable spiritual application is made throughout. The favouritism between Jacob and Esau is dealt with and useful comments on family life are given. It would have been helpful if the failure of both Isaac and Rebekah to train their children up in the light of the prophecy about Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:33) had been mentioned. That failure was arguably a major cause of the tensions in the family.
The author goes through Judah’s life in chapters 3 and 4, tracing his transition from a callous man who thought nothing of selling his brother into slavery, to one who was willing to sacrifice himself for Benjamin rather than go home to Jacob without him. Brown presents convincing reasons that Judah was, at some point in his life, spiritually transformed.
Judah gradually takes over the leadership of the tribes of Jacob and the author has some interesting comments on why Joseph, who was prominent in the final chapters of Genesis, wasn’t the ultimate leader. Again, some interesting application is made here. A whole chapter is dedicated to this particular aspect of Judah’s life.
Chapter 6 covers the emergence of Judah’s descendants as the pre-eminent tribe, and eventually his name given to the entire nation. Chapter 7 covers references to Judah in the New Testament. The final chapter seeks to apply, in a more direct way, the lessons of Judah’s life for today. Although a short book, there is much to stimulate thought and it is a worthwhile read.