Genesis 37: Jealous of Joseph


Jacob/Israel moves to Canaan with his family. They are strangers there. His favorite son is Joseph, who is now 17. Jacob/Israel gives Joseph a coat of many colors (a technicolor dream coat if you will). Joseph dreams several dreams which all involve his brothers bowing down before him. His brothers are annoyed and jealous. Joseph is sent to check on how his brothers are doing with the flocks. The brothers consider killing him, but Reuben says, no, let’s just throw him in a pit and tell dad – we have no idea what happened to him, that way we won’t be technically guilty of murder.  When Joseph arrives, he is thrown into a dry well and his brothers sit down to eat.  They decide to sell him as a slave to some Ishmaelites, who paid 20 pieces of silver for Joseph. The brothers took the coat of many colors and dipped it in goat blood and gave it to their father saying, we found this and think it might be Joseph. Jacob/Israel is distraught, tears his clothes up and walks around in a sack cloth for many days. In the meantime, Joseph is taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, an office of Pharoah’s and captain of the guard.

In other words:

Out of the  myriad of sons, Jacob’s favorite is Joseph. He is given special favors, like fancy clothes. He dreams that he is going to be powerful and that his entire family will bow down before him. His brothers, don’t like him so they sell him off as a slave into Egypt and tell their dad (Jacob), that Joseph must have been killed by a beast of some sort.

Favorite bit:

That Jacob goes around with just a sack covering his loins as a sign of his deep grief. (Genesis 37: 34)

Interesting bit:

Most of this chapter is about the discussion about what to do about Joseph. they can’t agree.  Reuben at least seems to feel guilty about it, but ultimately, these brothers hate Joseph enough to get rid of him and lie to their father about it.

Moral Lesson

Jealously makes people do some really stupid and mean things (Genesis 37: 24, 28, 32)