The fourth child of Jacob, and the point of origin for one of the twelve tribes of Israel. His mother was Leah, and he had five full brothers, one full sister, and six half-brothers.
Unquestionably the ‘strongest’ of Jacob’s sons. In his youth he wrestled wild beasts alone, and fought armies alongside his brothers.
His half-brother Joseph was clearly the most-loved by Jacob, which caused resentment among all the brothers. For Judah in particular, who had received the blessings of kingship from his father, was driven to annoyance by the descriptions of Joseph’s dreams of dominance over his brothers.
While the others wanted to kill Joseph, Reuben convinced them to imprison him in a pit instead, planning to come back and rescue him later. But Judah had the idea of selling him into slavery instead. Whether this was out of pragmatism and greed, or not wanting to become a kinslayer - even if it was to avoid a greater crime, this was certainly Judah’s greatest sin. The brothers tore Joseph’s coat and smeared it with the blood of a goat, returning it to Jacob. Jacob was sent into a depression, vowing to mourn Joseph until he died.
While Joseph was sold and imprisoned in Egypt, Judah also suffered. His first child was cursed and killed as a sinner by the Lord - his widow married Judah’s second son, but he too was cursed. By law, she should have married Judah’s third son, but Judah was worried that he would be cursed too, and put off the marriage.
Eventually, she acted as a prostitute and enticed Judah himself with drink, taking his symbols of kingship as collateral. Eventually, it was discovered she was pregnant, and Judah prepared to kill her, until she revealed that it was he that was the father.
It was here that Judah began to reflect on his sins, and repent. The love of gold, alcohol and women had caused him to sell his brother, hurt his father, and give away the symbols of his kingship. He spent time fasting and abstaining, to purify his sins.
Eventually, famine hit Canaan, and the brothers travelled to Egypt to ask for food. There, they met Joseph, who had ascended through positions to under only the Pharaoh himself. They didn’t recognise him, however, and he decided to trick them, taking Simeon as a hostage and asking them to bring their youngest brother back to Egypt. Then, he placed silver in the sacks of the brothers, to test their greed.
Though Jacob was very worried for Benjamin’s safety, Judah staked his life on his ability to protect the youngest of his brothers. They also returned double the amount of silver given by Joseph.
When they returned to Egypt, Joseph had to hide his tears at the sight of his favoured brother. But still, he continued his tricks, sneaking silver into Benjamin’s sack and accusing him of thievery, demanding to take him as a slave in recompense.
Judah asked his brother Naphtali how many districts there were in Egypt, and hearing that the answer was twelve, said:
“Ah, if only Joseph was here, that would be one each. but since Benjamin’s being held hostage too - It can’t be helped. I’ll destroy three, and each of you can take one. No slacking off now
Perhaps Joseph was scared by the threat, or perhaps he was glad that they remembered him, and would fight so hard to keep Benjamin safe - either way, he revealed his trickery to them then and there, and the family was reunited.
Each of the brothers lived for a long time, and on their ancient deathbeds were able to pass on prophecies and wisdom to their children.
Rather than being summoned at his physical peak, this is Judah at his spiritual peak. Though his body has diminished somewhat, his martial art techniques are at their strongest, as well as his connection to the teachings of YHVH.
One who seems at first glance to be the rowdy, hedonistic type. Drinking large amounts of alcohol with aplomb, charging into battle simply for the pleasure of it, is open and generous with his affections.
However, he never drinks enough to actually get drunk, never charges into a battle he isn’t confident he can win, and is simply showing his love for the earth of god’s creation. According to himself, he’s a moderate old man who simply knows his limits better than anyone. If he’s in a fight and declares that he can win with some absurd limitation like only using his head, he’s probably correct.
Naturally, he regrets the sins of his younger self. The suggestion to sell his brother, Joseph, into slavery. The indulgence in wine that clouded his judgement. The decision to give away his signs of kingship to a prostitute. Yes, these sins were not unforgivable. But it required years of penance and prayer to wash them away and make way for his spiritual peak.
He’s tremendously fond of all his brothers, and would be interested in meeting the majority of his descendants, if only to see how much of a challenge they would be to fight.