Gen 37:26-27, And Judah said unto his brethren, what profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. KJV (The word “content” is the Heb. word Wayi-shawma which means they listened and were relieved!)
By nightfall, the 10 brothers of Joseph (minus Reuben) were clearly brooding over the evil they had done to their brother. Not just the conspiracy to kill him, but also concealing the evil from their father, and then trying to live with the lie. Their consciences were killing them. A growing sense of discontent was already eating away at their peace. Such is the nature of sin.
But then Judah got a brilliant idea. Why not sell him and make some money? The 10 brothers stopped thinking about the evil they were doing, and started thinking about the 2 pieces of silver that each one would pocket. The thought of making money seemed to justify the discontent and conviction they were feeling. Actually, it just turned their attention away from it. Now, if they couldn’t sleep, at least they were preoccupied with how they’d spend their money.
Judah set a human precedent that is prevalent to this day. It’s called buying off conviction. We still tend to believe that if we make some money it justifies our disobedience. This covers everything from working on Sunday to cheating on our taxes. God must understand because, after all, He allowed us to make some money? But the truth is, making money didn’t justify Judah and the boys back then, and it doesn’t justify us today. Solomon got it right when he wrote in Prov. 28:13, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” If you don’t believe Solomon, just ask Judah and the boys.