Archive for July 12th, 2011

Genesis 37

Genesis 37 has a very familiar story of Joseph and his brothers.  Joseph was 17 and watching the sheep with his brothers who were not doing their jobs well.  So Joseph tells his father and this doesn’t go over well.  There was already some bad feelings because Joseph was loved more because he was the younger son.  And Jacob made Joseph a “robe of many colors….and his brothers saw that their father loved him more……they hated him”.  This is sort of predictable – as Jacob certainly didn’t hide his favoritism.

“Joseph had a dream…..Behold, we were binding sheaves… sheaf arose and stood upright…..your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf”.  That isn’t going to go over well.  Of course “his brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us”? One thing Joseph can’t be accused of is sugar coating the message.  He just blatantly tells his brothers that they will be bowing down to him.  “So they hated him even more”. But it doesn’t stop here, “he dreamed another dream….the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me”.  This time the dream is even broader including his father and mother, and again, Joseph shows no restraint and tells Jacob his dream.

“His father rebuked him”.  Sort of to be expected when as the young son you tell your dad he will end up bowing down to you.  It also creates more tension with his brothers.  But “his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock” and were gone so there was a little room between them and Joseph.  But Jacob becomes a bit concerned about how things were going so he tells Joseph to “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word”.  No intent to cause issues between the brothers and Jacob – but a concern to know that all was well out on the pasture.

So Joseph takes off to the place the brothers were to be, but they are not there.  He wanders a bit and finally asks someone if they knew where they went and is given directions.  Unusual for a man – to ask for directions.  J  Then we see words we see elsewhere in scripture: “They saw him from afar”.  Sounds like the words from the story of the prodigal son doesn’t it.  But they didn’t run with open arms to welcome Joseph, instead they said “let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits”.  The brothers had not forgotten the favorite son situation and the dreams.  Fortunately “when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands”.  So the plan changes and “they stripped him of his robe….took him and cast him into a pit….sell him to the Ishmaelites”. They got the same results without getting his blood on their hands.  But they had to come up with a way to tell a convincing story to Jacob, so “they took Joseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood….and brought it to their father”.  The lies flew and Jacob believed that Joseph was dead.  He reacted with much sorrow and “he refused to be comforted”.  Their little lie turns into a very painful time for Jacob.

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