Joseph’s Dreams 37 1 Jacob lived in g 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 h a bad report of them to their father. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was i the son of his old age. And he made him j a robe of many colors. 1 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, k my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and l 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 m your mother and your brothers indeed come n to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” 11 And o his brothers were jealous of him, p but his father kept the saying in mind. Joseph Sold by His Brothers 12 Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near q Shechem. 13 And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” 14 So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.” So he sent him from the Valley of r Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15 And a man found him wandering in the fields. And the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” 16 “I am seeking my brothers,” he said. “Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” 17 And the man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to s Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at s Dothan. 18 They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them t they conspired against him to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20 Come now, u let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. 1 Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.” 21 But when v Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”— w that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, x the robe of many colors that he wore. 24 And they took him and y threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. 25 Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a z caravan of a Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing b gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it c if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and d let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. 28 Then e Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and f sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels 1 of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt. 29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he g tore his clothes 30 and returned to his brothers and said, “The boy h is gone, and I, where shall I go?” 31 Then they took i Joseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 And they sent the robe of many colors and brought it to their father and said, “This we have found; please identify whether it is your son’s robe or not.” 33 And he identified it and said, “It is my son’s robe. j A fierce animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and all his daughters k rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, l I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him. 36 Meanwhile m the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, n the captain of the guard.
37 1 וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב יַעֲקֹ֔ב בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֖רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן ׃ 2 אֵ֣לֶּה ׀ תֹּלְד֣וֹת יַעֲקֹ֗ב יוֹסֵ֞ף בֶּן ־ שְׁבַֽע ־ עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ הָיָ֨ה רֹעֶ֤ה אֶת ־ אֶחָיו֙ בַּצֹּ֔אן וְה֣וּא נַ֗עַר אֶת ־ בְּנֵ֥י בִלְהָ֛ה וְאֶת ־ בְּנֵ֥י זִלְפָּ֖ה נְשֵׁ֣י אָבִ֑יו וַיָּבֵ֥א יוֹסֵ֛ף אֶת ־ דִּבָּתָ֥ם רָעָ֖ה אֶל ־ אֲבִיהֶֽם ׃ 3 וְיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אָהַ֤ב אֶת ־ יוֹסֵף֙ מִכָּל ־ בָּנָ֔יו כִּֽי ־ בֶן ־ זְקֻנִ֥ים ה֖וּא ל֑וֹ וְעָ֥שָׂה ל֖וֹ כְּתֹ֥נֶת פַּסִּֽים ׃ 4 וַיִּרְא֣וּ אֶחָ֗יו כִּֽי ־ אֹת֞וֹ אָהַ֤ב אֲבִיהֶם֙ מִכָּל ־ אֶחָ֔יו וַֽיִּשְׂנְא֖וּ אֹת֑וֹ וְלֹ֥א יָכְל֖וּ דַּבְּר֥וֹ לְשָׁלֹֽם ׃ 5 וַיַּחֲלֹ֤ם יוֹסֵף֙ חֲל֔וֹם וַיַּגֵּ֖ד לְאֶחָ֑יו וַיּוֹסִ֥פוּ ע֖וֹד שְׂנֹ֥א אֹתֽוֹ ׃ 6 וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם שִׁמְעוּ ־ נָ֕א הַחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר חָלָֽמְתִּי ׃ 7 וְ֠הִנֵּה אֲנַ֜חְנוּ מְאַלְּמִ֤ים אֲלֻמִּים֙ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה וְהִנֵּ֛ה קָ֥מָה אֲלֻמָּתִ֖י וְגַם ־ נִצָּ֑בָה וְהִנֵּ֤ה תְסֻבֶּ֙ינָה֙ אֲלֻמֹּ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם וַתִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוֶ֖יןָ לַאֲלֻמָּתִֽי ׃ 8 וַיֹּ֤אמְרוּ לוֹ֙ אֶחָ֔יו הֲמָלֹ֤ךְ תִּמְלֹךְ֙ עָלֵ֔ינוּ אִם ־ מָשׁ֥וֹל תִּמְשֹׁ֖ל בָּ֑נוּ וַיּוֹסִ֤פוּ עוֹד֙ שְׂנֹ֣א אֹת֔וֹ עַל ־ חֲלֹמֹתָ֖יו וְעַל ־ דְּבָרָֽיו ׃ 9 וַיַּחֲלֹ֥ם עוֹד֙ חֲל֣וֹם אַחֵ֔ר וַיְסַפֵּ֥ר אֹת֖וֹ לְאֶחָ֑יו וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הִנֵּ֨ה חָלַ֤מְתִּֽי חֲלוֹם֙ ע֔וֹד וְהִנֵּ֧ה הַשֶּׁ֣מֶשׁ וְהַיָּרֵ֗חַ וְאַחַ֤ד עָשָׂר֙ כּֽוֹכָבִ֔ים מִֽשְׁתַּחֲוִ֖ים לִֽי ׃ 10 וַיְסַפֵּ֣ר אֶל ־ אָבִיו֮ וְאֶל ־ אֶחָיו֒ וַיִּגְעַר ־ בּ֣וֹ אָבִ֔יו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ מָ֛ה הַחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָלָ֑מְתָּ הֲב֣וֹא נָב֗וֹא אֲנִי֙ וְאִמְּךָ֣ וְאַחֶ֔יךָ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֺ֥ת לְךָ֖ אָֽרְצָה ׃ 11 וַיְקַנְאוּ ־ ב֖וֹ אֶחָ֑יו וְאָבִ֖יו שָׁמַ֥ר אֶת ־ הַדָּבָֽר ׃ 12 וַיֵּלְכ֖וּ אֶחָ֑יו לִרְע֛וֹת אֶׄתׄ ־ צֹ֥אן 1 אֲבִיהֶ֖ם בִּשְׁכֶֽם ׃ 13 וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶל ־ יוֹסֵ֗ף הֲל֤וֹא אַחֶ֙יךָ֙ רֹעִ֣ים בִּשְׁכֶ֔ם לְכָ֖ה וְאֶשְׁלָחֲךָ֣ אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ל֖וֹ הִנֵּֽנִי ׃ 14 וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֗וֹ לֶךְ ־ נָ֨א רְאֵ֜ה אֶת ־ שְׁל֤וֹם אַחֶ֙יךָ֙ וְאֶת ־ שְׁל֣וֹם הַצֹּ֔אן וַהֲשִׁבֵ֖נִי דָּבָ֑ר וַיִּשְׁלָחֵ֙הוּ֙ מֵעֵ֣מֶק חֶבְר֔וֹן וַיָּבֹ֖א שְׁכֶֽמָה ׃ 15 וַיִּמְצָאֵ֣הוּ אִ֔ישׁ וְהִנֵּ֥ה תֹעֶ֖ה בַּשָּׂדֶ֑ה וַיִּשְׁאָלֵ֧הוּ הָאִ֛ישׁ לֵאמֹ֖ר מַה ־ תְּבַקֵּֽשׁ ׃ 16 וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אֶת ־ אַחַ֖י אָנֹכִ֣י מְבַקֵּ֑שׁ הַגִּֽידָה ־ נָּ֣א לִ֔י אֵיפֹ֖ה הֵ֥ם רֹעִֽים ׃ 17 וַיֹּ֤אמֶר הָאִישׁ֙ נָסְע֣וּ מִזֶּ֔ה כִּ֤י שָׁמַ֙עְתִּי֙ אֹֽמְרִ֔ים נֵלְכָ֖ה דֹּתָ֑יְנָה וַיֵּ֤לֶךְ יוֹסֵף֙ אַחַ֣ר אֶחָ֔יו וַיִּמְצָאֵ֖ם בְּדֹתָֽן ׃ 18 וַיִּרְא֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ מֵרָחֹ֑ק וּבְטֶ֙רֶם֙ יִקְרַ֣ב אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם וַיִּֽתְנַכְּל֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ לַהֲמִיתֽוֹ ׃ 19 וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ אִ֣ישׁ אֶל ־ אָחִ֑יו הִנֵּ֗ה בַּ֛עַל הַחֲלֹמ֥וֹת הַלָּזֶ֖ה בָּֽא ׃ 20 וְעַתָּ֣ה ׀ לְכ֣וּ וְנַֽהַרְגֵ֗הוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵ֙הוּ֙ בְּאַחַ֣ד הַבֹּר֔וֹת וְאָמַ֕רְנוּ חַיָּ֥ה רָעָ֖ה אֲכָלָ֑תְהוּ וְנִרְאֶ֕ה מַה ־ יִּהְי֖וּ חֲלֹמֹתָֽיו ׃ 21 וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע רְאוּבֵ֔ן וַיַּצִּלֵ֖הוּ מִיָּדָ֑ם וַיֹּ֕אמֶר לֹ֥א נַכֶּ֖נּוּ נָֽפֶשׁ ׃ 22 וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֣ם ׀ רְאוּבֵן֮ אַל ־ תִּשְׁפְּכוּ ־ דָם֒ הַשְׁלִ֣יכוּ אֹת֗וֹ אֶל ־ הַבּ֤וֹר הַזֶּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר וְיָ֖ד אַל ־ תִּשְׁלְחוּ ־ ב֑וֹ לְמַ֗עַן הַצִּ֤יל אֹתוֹ֙ מִיָּדָ֔ם לַהֲשִׁיב֖וֹ אֶל ־ אָבִֽיו ׃ 23 וַֽיְהִ֕י כַּֽאֲשֶׁר ־ בָּ֥א יוֹסֵ֖ף אֶל ־ אֶחָ֑יו וַיַּפְשִׁ֤יטוּ אֶת ־ יוֹסֵף֙ אֶת ־ כֻּתָּנְתּ֔וֹ אֶת ־ כְּתֹ֥נֶת הַפַּסִּ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָלָֽיו ׃ 24 וַיִּ֨קָּחֻ֔הוּ וַיַּשְׁלִ֥כוּ אֹת֖וֹ הַבֹּ֑רָה וְהַבּ֣וֹר רֵ֔ק אֵ֥ין בּ֖וֹ מָֽיִם ׃ 25 וַיֵּשְׁבוּ֮ לֶֽאֱכָל ־ לֶחֶם֒ וַיִּשְׂא֤וּ עֵֽינֵיהֶם֙ וַיִּרְא֔וּ וְהִנֵּה֙ אֹרְחַ֣ת יִשְׁמְעֵאלִ֔ים בָּאָ֖ה מִגִּלְעָ֑ד וּגְמַלֵּיהֶ֣ם נֹֽשְׂאִ֗ים נְכֹאת֙ וּצְרִ֣י וָלֹ֔ט הוֹלְכִ֖ים לְהוֹרִ֥יד מִצְרָֽיְמָה ׃ 26 וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהוּדָ֖ה אֶל ־ אֶחָ֑יו מַה ־ בֶּ֗צַע כִּ֤י נַהֲרֹג֙ אֶת ־ אָחִ֔ינוּ וְכִסִּ֖ינוּ אֶת ־ דָּמֽוֹ ׃ 27 לְכ֞וּ וְנִמְכְּרֶ֣נּוּ לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִ֗ים וְיָדֵ֙נוּ֙ אַל ־ תְּהִי ־ ב֔וֹ כִּֽי ־ אָחִ֥ינוּ בְשָׂרֵ֖נוּ ה֑וּא וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֖וּ אֶחָֽיו ׃ 28 וַיַּֽעַבְרוּ֩ אֲנָשִׁ֨ים מִדְיָנִ֜ים סֹֽחֲרִ֗ים וַֽיִּמְשְׁכוּ֙ וַיַּֽעֲל֤וּ אֶת ־ יוֹסֵף֙ מִן ־ הַבּ֔וֹר וַיִּמְכְּר֧וּ אֶת ־ יוֹסֵ֛ף לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִ֖ים בְּעֶשְׂרִ֣ים כָּ֑סֶף וַיָּבִ֥יאוּ אֶת ־ יוֹסֵ֖ף מִצְרָֽיְמָה ׃ 29 וַיָּ֤שָׁב רְאוּבֵן֙ אֶל ־ הַבּ֔וֹר וְהִנֵּ֥ה אֵין ־ יוֹסֵ֖ף בַּבּ֑וֹר וַיִּקְרַ֖ע אֶת ־ בְּגָדָֽיו ׃ 30 וַיָּ֥שָׁב אֶל ־ אֶחָ֖יו וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הַיֶּ֣לֶד אֵינֶ֔נּוּ וַאֲנִ֖י אָ֥נָה אֲנִי ־ בָֽא ׃ 31 וַיִּקְח֖וּ אֶת ־ כְּתֹ֣נֶת יוֹסֵ֑ף וַֽיִּשְׁחֲטוּ֙ שְׂעִ֣יר עִזִּ֔ים וַיִּטְבְּל֥וּ אֶת ־ הַכֻּתֹּ֖נֶת בַּדָּֽם ׃ 32 וַֽיְשַׁלְּח֞וּ אֶת ־ כְּתֹ֣נֶת הַפַּסִּ֗ים וַיָּבִ֙יאוּ֙ אֶל ־ אֲבִיהֶ֔ם וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ זֹ֣את מָצָ֑אנוּ הַכֶּר ־ נָ֗א הַכְּתֹ֧נֶת בִּנְךָ֛ הִ֖וא אִם ־ לֹֽא ׃ 33 וַיַּכִּירָ֤הּ וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ כְּתֹ֣נֶת בְּנִ֔י חַיָּ֥ה רָעָ֖ה אֲכָלָ֑תְהוּ טָרֹ֥ף טֹרַ֖ף יוֹסֵֽף ׃ 34 וַיִּקְרַ֤ע יַעֲקֹב֙ שִׂמְלֹתָ֔יו וַיָּ֥שֶׂם שַׂ֖ק בְּמָתְנָ֑יו וַיִּתְאַבֵּ֥ל עַל ־ בְּנ֖וֹ יָמִ֥ים רַבִּֽים ׃ 35 וַיָּקֻמוּ֩ כָל ־ בָּנָ֨יו וְכָל ־ בְּנֹתָ֜יו לְנַחֲמ֗וֹ וַיְמָאֵן֙ לְהִתְנַחֵ֔ם וַיֹּ֕אמֶר כִּֽי ־ אֵרֵ֧ד אֶל ־ בְּנִ֛י אָבֵ֖ל שְׁאֹ֑לָה וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ אֹת֖וֹ אָבִֽיו ׃ 36 וְהַ֨מְּדָנִ֔ים מָכְר֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ אֶל ־ מִצְרָ֑יִם לְפֽוֹטִיפַר֙ סְרִ֣יס פַּרְעֹ֔ה שַׂ֖ר הַטַּבָּחִֽים ׃ פ
Joseph's brothers sell him as a slave Introduction 37.2 - the generations of Jacob. A 'doorway' that leads to the story of his sons. cf the very next sentence, 'Joseph'. Up to the end of chapter 50 . The final seam of Genesis. Joseph and Judah are prominent in this big section. Joseph blesses the nations very obviously. Jacob returned and buried in the land, after 'exiling' in Egypt (as did Abraham, as will the descendants). Two seams are linked like this: family conflict from parental favoritism leads to a separation of one brother who prospers in a foreign land for 20 years, and an eventual sibling reunion to bury their father. Search for a stolen item in both stories. Skin of goat provides both deceptions. Joseph's later lineage not so great - Ephraim and Manasseh were the apostate tribes of the north ( Psalm 78.67 ; Amos 5.6 , 15 ; 6.6 ) 1. Joseph's brothers hate him (v1-11) v4,5,8 - hated. v11 his father kept it in mind. Application : Dangers of favouritism; how history is repeating here. What are you normalising to your children? Favouritism? Passivity? Emotional shut down-ness? eg Lazy parenting. 'Superstitious' use of scripture or principles; form but not function. Hiding behind things, deluding ourselves. The grief and loss of v35 illustrates in part the sorry end for those who will not address things which need addressing (cf later for David and Absalom). All dysfunctionality comes from mis-trust of God. And is shaped by our upbringings and experiences. We've already been 'discipled' in a particular way before we become Christians. E.g., our attitude to men/women, to other racial groups, to how we do relationships. We come with baggage to Jesus. And then it's mis-trust of his goodness that keeps us from turning away from these things. Away from what is familiar and 'safe', however dysfunctional. You can go on and on playing the victim card. Judah could blame Jacob, who could blame Laban and his mum, who could blame Isaac's passivity, who could blame his dad's cowardice, who could blame his years of childlessness, and on and on. But the grace of Jesus invites us to step out of our old identities into true humanity, sharing in his new life. 2. Joseph's brothers sell him and deceive their father (v12-36) Map. Joseph travels very far from home in his search for his brothers. Realistic ambiguity of Joseph; a proud tell tale? Or an honest and diligent son, cf v16? This time it's Judah who leads the self-interested pack. What profit is it...purely driven by selfish gain Shechem - a place with evil connotations (Genesis 34). Genesis 37 is 'another Shechem' Reuben takes responsibility, whereas before he was an irresponsible man. He's grown up. v21, and then 29. Yet he illustrates the darkness of this scene. A bit like Lot, protesting against the evil but to no avail. v25 sitting down to eat! Picture of awful seared conscience. As if this is all normal, nothing unusual or wrong. Followed by the appeal to wealth. Irony - sale of Joseph brings about the dreams that the brothers meant to suppress. Joseph's cloak is seized by the brothers; his later cloak is seized by Potiphar's wife. In both cases the snatched garments are used to make false claims about Joseph, and in both cases his status gets worse. From beloved son to slave; from slave to prisoner. But then pharaoh clothes him in superior clothing. And Joseph clothes Benjamin. Goat, scapegoat; lies and deception; now Jacob becomes the tricked father Joseph's later testing of his brothers later: 'to reproduce the past, I [Joseph] will put the life of one of them [brothers] into the hands of the rest and plant temptation in their bags to equal or exceed the profit they hoped to make by selling me into slavery. Will they now opt for the brother or for the money?' These are family ! Brothers on several levels (Ishmael, Midian - from Abraham). Shouldn't be doing this! Glory of God. Like chapter 34, God bears with people like this. People who don't just wobble, but outright act like God does not even exist (cf Cain and Abel, or chapter 34). People who carry his name and promise but act for themselves. He is patient, and faithful to his promise. And he actually works all things for good. While they starve Joseph and eat, God is laying the plan for how Joseph will feed them when they starve. FCF. Selfish gain, hatred and jealousy. The brothers want status and a share of their father's affection. They want revenge on Joseph. They want money and so trade him. Trickery and the fear of man again; leads to tricks and deception. Joseph spoils their lives, so they do away with him. Like their dad again. With goat skins. Person of Jesus. He is the greater Joseph. Hated and rejected by his brothers. Stripping of royal robe, thrown down to death by his brothers. The one sold into death. The one to whom the nations will come and bow. He is the one who clothes his people with royal robes (as he later does for Benjamin). Jesus knows suffering and betrayal, he knows it even better than Joseph did. He invites the afflicted ones to come to him and find acceptance and comfort and healing. Jesus holds out forgiveness and royal robes to those who have betrayed, who have mistreated, who know that they carry the guilt and shame of rejecting God and harming others. Work of Jesus. Jesus suffers the rejection on our behalf. Sold for silver, mistreated out of jealousy. He, unlike Joseph, actually dies. The soldiers sit around and barter his garments. God raises him, the Christ, and seats him in glory. Gives him the inheritance of nations, people from far off coming to bow and find life. What was intended for evil, God intended for good (Acts 4). Union with Jesus. I have died to jealousy and the desire for selfish gain, since God has given me everything in Jesus. Everything is mine, applied in real-time by the Spirit. Grace after grace is served to me from his throne. Not so much to make me think I'm the king, but enough to serve him in the power he gives (often incremental yet 'tectonic' power). Specific repentance. I have died to selfish jealousy. Specific faith. I live to faith in King Jesus to give me what is right for today, and to enjoy who I am as his child (rather than stress about who I'm not). I come again and again to his throne for grace. Wrap-up : Joseph's brothers sell him as a slave. This points us forward to the rejection, humiliation, suffering and death of Jesus. Yet it also reminds us of the good hand of God, working for good what had been planned as evil. Once again, it is only the grace of God which will triumph.