The Dreams of Joseph

Reading: Genesis 37

Jacob and his family were back safely in Canaan and, by now, Jacob had 12 sons. His youngest son was Benjamin but his favourite was Joseph. He loved him more than all his other children and, as a result, Jacob's other sons grew to hate Joseph.

One day Jacob gave Joseph a fine coat. It was a long coat made of many pieces with long sleeves. It was the kind of coat that a lord or master would wear so you can imagine how angry this made his brothers, especially when Joseph was so much younger than they were. They would go off, muttering and grumbling, to look after Jacob's flocks, their hatred of Joseph growing all the time.

One day, when he was 17 years old, Joseph told his brothers of two dreams that he had dreamt. In his first dream he and his brothers were binding sheaves of corn in a field. Joseph's sheaf stood straight up and the sheaves of his brothers came and bowed down to it, almost as if they were paying homage to it.

In his second dream, which Joseph also told to his father, he saw the sun, moon and eleven stars all bowing down to his star.

In Eastern lands dreams are often seen as signs of what is going to happen in the future so, if Joseph thought his brothers would be interested to hear of his dreams, he was wrong. Joseph's brothers could not mistake what was meant by the dreams. They were to bow down to Joseph? They hated him even more.

It was some time later when Jacob asked Joseph to find out how his brothers were getting on. They were busy looking after the sheep at a place called Shechem and Jacob asked Joseph to bring him news of them. Joseph set off but by the time he reached Shechem his brothers had moved on to a place called Dothan.

As Joseph approached them, his brothers espied him coming and immediately thought of plans to be rid of him. The oldest brother, Reuben, tried to stop the others killing him and suggested they put Joseph into a pit after they had taken hold of him in the hope that he would be able to rescue Joseph later. When Joseph approached his brothers, instead of being met with friendly greetings, he was caught, his fine coat was ripped off, and he was pushed down into a pit in the ground.

Joseph was a prisoner.

Some time later his brothers were sitting enjoying a meal when they noticed a company of traders with their camels going by. They were on their way to Egypt carrying spices and other goods and the sight of them gave one of the brothers, Judah, an idea. Instead of killing Joseph, they could sell him. The brothers agreed and Joseph was quickly brought up from the pit and sold to the traders for 20 pieces of silver.

The brothers then killed a goat and dipped the coat of Joseph into its blood - the same coat his father had given him as a special gift. When Jacob saw the coat he was distraught. He was sure a wild animal had killed his favourite son and he wept bitterly.

Joseph meanwhile, securely bound, was led as a slave into Egypt, but he was not alone. God was with him and, later on, Joseph would see that everything that happened to him was all part of God's great plan and purpose.


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