Genesis 37 (ESV)
Jacob lived in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan.
2 These are the generations of Jacob.
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.
5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
9 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” 11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind . . . Continue Reading
Pit of Provision
Young Joseph was not only was a dreamer, he was also his father Israel’s favorite son. His affection was on full display from the robe of many colors he made for him. I can’t help the mental imagery that comes to mind of a seventeen year old Joseph pasturing the flock donned in his multicolor robe. It’s clear that his brothers were not a fan of him, his robe or that their father loved him more than he loved them. In fact, Genesis 37:4 says “they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.”
What this tells me is Joseph knew full well how they felt about him.
So what does he do? He tells them his dream and how their sheaves were gathered around his and bowed down to his sheave.” They asked if he was going to reign and rule over them (Genesis 37:8) and without a reply from Joseph of their rhetorical question the text says “they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.” I find this sentence amusing because it sounds like one of the brothers speaking to an interviewer . . . wanting to be perfectly clear they hated him for both his dreams and his words. They didn’t mention the robe.
So what does Joseph do? He told them about another dream he had and wouldn’t you know it, it was about the sun, moon and eleven stars bowing down to him (Genesis 37:9). This time it says that his father was there along with his brothers. This earned him a rebuke from his father as his brothers fumed with jealousy.
After his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem, Israel sent Joseph to “see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.” So not only does Joseph shares his dreams, he reports to his father about his brothers (Genesis 37:14; Genesis 37:2). As his brothers see him coming, they conspire to “kill him and throw him into one of the pits.” The eldest son talked them off the ledge and with a thread of compassion, says to not take his life but to “just” throw him into a pit in the wilderness (Genesis 37:22).
They execute their plan. They stripped him of his multicolored robe and threw him into a pit without any water. Then the very next verse (Genesis 37:25) says they sat down to eat. As they ate, one of the brothers, Judah, convinces his other brothers to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites who they saw coming from Gilead so they could profit from him rather than just killing him. As a way to try and cover themselves, they had the Midianite traders who were passing by remove Joseph from the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites who then took Joseph to Egypt.
What’s interesting is Reuben was not part of his younger brother’s plan to sell him. Judah convinced his brothers to sell Joseph when Reuben wasn’t there. While the text doesn’t say if Reuben was part of their plan to deceive their father by dipping his robe in the blood of a slaughtered goat, it does say in Genesis 37:35, “All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted…”
As their father goes to Sheol to mourn the loss of his favorite son, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh in Egypt. What happens to Joseph in the coming chapters of Genesis has much significance to the lives of those of us who follow Jesus Christ.
Thank you for reading my daily online journal today. Far from commentaries these are just my initial thoughts after reflecting on what I’ve read from a chapter in God’s Word each morning. This not only helps me apply what I’ve read because I’m reflecting and sharing instead of only reading but it also allows me to encourage others to prayerfully consider doing the same.
In His Care,