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Genesis 37:3-5 "Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more."

19-21 "And 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. And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him."

26-27 "And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 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."

31,32 "And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; And they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no."

36 "And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard."

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Joseph was born six years before Jacob left Haran. Since Joseph is seventeen now, it has been eleven years since Jacob had returned to Canaan. Jacob was not well liked by his half brothers. One reason was he brought his father an unfavorable report concerning them (seems he was a tattler), and the other reason was that Jacob loved him best. Jacob made Joseph a coat of many colors signifying that he intended him to be the future leader of the family, an honor usually given to the first-born. (Yet another reason for Joseph's brothers to hate him.)

Jacob told his father and his brothers about some dreams he had. In the first, his sheaf of grain remained standing while the sheaves belonging to his brothers all bowed down to his. In the second dream, the sun, moon, and stars (11) all made obeisance to him. Even Jacob questioned him about the second dream. Little did they know just exactly how these dreams were to come true!

Joseph's brothers were tending their fathers flock in Dothan, about 65 miles from home. Jacob sent Joseph to see how they were. When they saw Joseph coming, alone, they plotted to take his life. The news media acts as if sibling and child violence is something new; it isn't! We find several instances of it in the Bible, including the first recorded murder. As Joseph's brothers plotted to murder him, Reuben overheard them and persuaded them to just put him in a pit, intending to pull him out to safety later. Meanwhile, the other brothers saw a caravan of merchants approaching and decided, unbeknownst to Reuben, to sell Joseph to them. (God works in mysterious ways!) This was God's plan all along to have Joseph save Israel from famine. Did Joseph's brothers have to sell him then? No. God could have found another way to save Israel other than this trechery! But I believe God does use life's tragedies to help us and make us stronger. As you will see as we get further along in this story of Joseph, his trials shaped the kind of person he turned out to be.

The brothers then dipped Joseph's beautiful coat of many colors in goat's blood and took it to their father. How sad Jacob was. He mourned for many days in sackcloth. Even though his other children tried to comfort him he would not be comforted and said, "I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning."

The Midianites took Joseph into Egypt and sold him to the captain of the guard of Pharaoh's army. Here he would face many trials but God would bring him out on top!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

  • Do you think it was partly Jacob's fault Joseph's brothers hated him?
  • Do you believe God speaks to us in visions through our dreams?
  • Why do you think Reuben wanted to save Joseph's life?

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