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October 3, 2020

From the announcement of his birth in Genesis 30 to Genesis 36, we do not hear any more about Joseph. Genesis 37 picks up the story of Joseph, and it is chronicled through Genesis 50.

In Genesis 37, we are informed Jacob and his family had traveled back to Canaan’s land. During that travel, Joseph’s mother, Rachel, died while birthing another son that his father named Benjamin. Therefore, Joseph’s family consists of his father Jacob, Jacob’s three wives Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah, one sister and eleven brothers.

Joseph is now seventeen years old, and unfortunately, his brothers do not care for him because their father favored him and made him a special ornamented coat. Additionally, Joseph is known to be a tattletaler of some of his brother’s bad behavior, which causes friction among his family members.

The scriptures do not say whether Joseph dream dreams and interpret them often, but it shares two of his dreams that he naively and unwisely shared with his brothers. In the first dream, which was agricultural, he and his brothers were working binding sheaves in the field, and his brother’s sheaves bowed down to his sheaves that were standing tall and erect. In the second dream, which was celestial, the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed down to him. God did not give Joseph the interpretation of these dreams; however, because of the description of the dreams, his family members discerned the meanings and came to their own conclusion. When Joseph shared these two dreams with his brethren, they became vexed and hated and envied him. When he shard the second dream with his father, Jacob rebuked him but mulled over the dream.

Joseph probably knew his brother had ill-will toward him but did not realize its extent until his father sent him on this errand. Joseph’s ten older brothers were tending the family flock in Shechem, and Jacob sent Joseph to see how things were fairing. Joseph first went to Shechem and did not find them but continued to Dothan when informed that the brothers had moved there with the flock. When his brothers saw him coming in the distance, listen to what they said one to another, “Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” However, Rueben was able to talk his brother out of doing so. Consequently, they put him in a pit to die where he pleaded for his safety while they ate a meal. When a company of Ishmaelite traders who were also known as Midianites passed by, the brothers followed the suggestion of Judah and sold Joseph to them for twenty shekels.

When Rueben, who was not present for Joseph’s selling, returned to the pit and found Joseph gone, he became extremely agitated. Nevertheless, his brothers sent home, to their father Jacob, Joseph’s stained coat, which they had stripped off of him, and dipped in the blood of a goat. Recognizing Joseph’s coat, Jacob was overcome with grief thinking a ferocious animal killed his beloved son, and despite their efforts, none of the children of Jacob could comfort him.

Meanwhile, Genesis 37 ends with Joseph arriving in Egypt and being sold as a slave to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. And I am ending this blog as I did in the previous one of this series with points that I think are helpful for all of us to remember.

  1. Within Joseph’s family, three areas caused problems between him and his elder brothers: his talebearing, father’s favoritism, and dreams. Are you suffering in your family because of these?
  2. Favoritism amongst siblings will cause alienation and division
  3. Being a tattletaler does not generate warm feelings.
  4. Jealous people will attempt to annihilate you
  5. You can’t tell your dreams to haters.
  6. When wrongful deeds are done, there is usually a cover-up.
  7. Though your dreams reveal success, getting there is not necessarily a smooth road.
  8. Once again, we see what you sow, you reap. Jacob deceived his father using his brother’s garment, and now his children use the bloody coat of Joseph to deceive him.


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