Now when they saw no hope of his (yielding) they held a conference in private. The leader among them said: "Know ye not that your father did take an oath from you in Allah's name and how before this ye did fail in your duty with Joseph? Therefore will I not leave this land until my father permits me or Allah commands me; and He is the best to command. 1752 1753
Kabir may mean the eldest. But in xii. 78 above, Kabir is distinguished from Shaikh, and I have translated the one as "venerable" and the other as "aged". In xx. 71 Kabir obviously means "leader" or "chief", and has no reference to age. I therefore translate here by the word "leader", that brother among them who took the most active part in these transactions. His name is not given in the Qur-an. The eldest brother was Reuben. But according to the biblical story the brother who had taken the most active part in this transaction was Judah, one of the elder brothers, being the fourth son, after Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, and of the same mother as these. It was Judah who stood surety to Jacob for Benjamin (Gen. xliii. 9). It is therefore natural that Judah should, as here, offer to stay behind.
The pledge he had given was to his father, and in Allah's name. Therefore he was bound both to his father, and to Allah. He must await his father's orders and remain here as pledged, unless Allah opened out some other way. For example the Egyptian Wazir might relent; if so, he could go back with Benjamin to his father, and his pledge would be satisfied.