First consider Joseph, hated by his brothers because of their father’s favoritism and his dreams of superiority. Second, think about Judah, the one who encouraged the rejection of his brother and his sale into slavery.
In today’s reading, both of them leave their families and enter into the world of the foreigners: Joseph is put in Egypt by force and Judah, of his own will, enters the world of the Canaanites.
Joseph demonstrates integrity when he is tested… but in keeping it, he suffers unjustly. Judah is free and seems to enjoy some financial and social success among the Canaanites, but by the end of chapter 38, his lack of integrity is displayed before everyone.
Two patriarchs go through trials among foreigners, and by the end of the reading, both of them are in shame… but one has his integrity intact; the other doesn’t.
What is revealed in our lives when we are outside our family circle?
When we have to suffer shame, what in our lives causes it – integrity, or a lack of integrity?