101-137 Genesis Part 3 Chapter 37
There was rivalry between the sons of Israel, as the twelve of them were born of four different mothers. Eight of Israel’s sons were born to Leah and her handmaid Zilpah. Four of Jacob’s sons were born of Rachael and her handmaid Bilhah with only Joseph and Benjamin being born of Rachael. It was seen by the older brothers that Israel loved Joseph more than the all the others combined as Joseph was the son of his old age. Israel showed his favored love towards Joseph by providing him a multi colored coat. It is wrong for parents to make a difference between one child and another as the other will soon notice. For this reason Joseph’s brothers hated him. Joseph gave account to his father of their misconduct towards him but not as a tale teller but as a restraint against their activity towards him.
Joseph had two dreams of revelation that he related to his brothers and father. It was the dream that his sheaf would rise up and the brother’s sheaves would bow down to his. The other dream of Joseph’s was that the sun and moon and all the stars of heaven would bow down to him. The brothers interpreted the dream correctly and it made them hate Joseph even the more. Not only that they conspired to kill him to insure that any such dream would not come true. Even Josephs’ father Israel rebuked him but kept the dreams in his mind. While their plan was in order to defeat the dream from coming to truth their plan actually became an instrument for the dream to come true.
In later times the Jews reacted much the same way to the vision of Jesus and His Kingdom. The Jewish leaders determined that Jesus should not reign over them planned to kill Him and they themselves became the instruments for the work of Christ to be done by His crucifixion making way for the exaltation for what they had tried to prevent.
Joseph is sent by his father Israel to check on his brothers pasturing the flock near Shechem. Perhaps Israel was worried as this was the town that his son’s Simeon and Levi and raided and Killed Simeon and all the males of the town. They had also plundered all the wealth of the town, this they did because of the rape of their sister Dinah. Joseph was obedient to his father and went to Shechem to check on the safety of his brothers. From a distance his brothers saw Joseph coming and plotted to kill him. When we harbor hatred in our hearts Jesus said we have already committed murder in our hearts. (1 John 3:15)
God holds all hearts in His hands and Reuben, who had to most reason to hate Joseph because he was the oldest and had the birthright, proves that he is Joseph’s best friend at this moment. Reuben convinces his brothers to spare Joseph and place him in a pit until he could rescue him at a later time. God overruled their wicked plans and purposes in order to use Joseph as an instrument to save many.
There is a comparison here to Jesus who was beloved by the Father and sent into the world for His chosen people which rejected and hated him. Jesus came in great humility to seek and save that which was lost. His own not only rejected Him but also crucified Him.
They stripped Joseph of his coat and placed him in a pit. Fortunately the pit was empty and not filled with water. In their lack of concern for their brother they went and ate while listening to Joseph’s cries for help. (Amos 6:6)
Often when people fall to the temptations of Satan and commit sin Satan teaches them to cover their sins with yet another sin. In an effort to conceal their treachery towards Joseph they bloodied his coat and took it to their father and let him draw his own conclusion as to Joseph’s fate. Israel supposed Joseph was devoured by a wild animal and mourned his death. His brothers falsely comforted their father when only the truth would have been have been a comfort to their father’s grief. They kept their council to each other but their evil action has come to light and is recorded here in God’s Word for all to know. Hearts are hardened by the deceitfulness of sin in our lives and who can know the darkest corners of the heart. The greater affection we have for our loved ones causes the greater affliction at their loss.
Throughout this whole chapter we can see the marvelous workings of God’s providence. Joseph’s brothers seem to have gotten their end accomplishment. The Ishmaelite merchants, who care not what they deal in, have gotten their end by a profit in selling Joseph as a slave. Potiphar has received his end also with the purchase of a fine young slave. Through the wickedness of all these players God’s design in purpose will be fulfilled.
The family of Israel will go down to Egypt to escape the famine to come. Moses will deliver them and take them to the Promised Land. There the true religion of the world will have its birth and all nations of the earth will be blessed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus the wrath of man shall praise the Lord, and the remainder thereof will he restrain. (Psalms 76:10)