Genesis 37:1-11  Joseph's Dream

            Gen. 37:1 “And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. 2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. 3 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 colours. 4 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.

            5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. 6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. 8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. 9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? 11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.”

            Beginning with this chapter, the focus changes from Jacob to his next to youngest son Joseph.  Joseph is different from his brethren.  We read of the many evil deeds of Joseph’s brethren, but we read of the faithfulness and righteous walk of Joseph.  Joseph is a very strong type of Christ.  He is perhaps the strongest type of Christ in the Old Testament.  There are more than one hundred parallels between the life of Joseph and the life of Christ.  Joseph, however, is not Christ and therefore Joseph is not perfect.  Christ said in John 5:39 “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”  One of the ways the scriptures testify of Jesus in the Old Testament is thru types.  That is, one person will be a figure or type of Christ.  In the next several chapters we will point out many of the parallels between the life of Joseph and the life of Christ.

            One of the works of Jesus when he came into the world is that he fed the flock of God (children of God) with the word of God.  We also see where Peter instructed the elders: 1 Pet 5:2 “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;” Just as Joseph fed the flock with his brethren, Jesus fed the flock with his brethren.

            “And Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.”  Matt. 12:34 “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

            “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 colours.”  Just like Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, so the Father loves Jesus more than all his children: Matt. 3:17 “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  Nine times in the New Testament Christ is referred to as the beloved Son of the Father.  Moreover, as Joseph was the son of Israel’s old age, Jesus is the Son of the Ancient of Days.  Israel also made Joseph a coat of many colours.  Likewise, the Father gave Christ a people of every nation, people, tongue, and kindred which parallels Joseph’s coat of many colours.

            “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.”  Luke 19:14 “But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.”  Also, John 15:22 “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. 23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.”

            “And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.”  Luke 20:19 “And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them. 20 And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.”

            “And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. 8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. 9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? 11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.”

            There are at least three parallels between Joseph and Christ in the above passage of scripture:

                        1.  Joseph’s brethren rejected the idea of Joseph reigning over them.  Likewise we read in Luke 19:14 concerning Christ: “But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.”

                        2.  It ultimately came to pass that Jospeh’s brethren, his father and mother all came to bow down to him.  Similarly and more extensively we read of bowing down to Christ: Rom. 14:11 “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

                        3.  Joseph’s brethren were envious of him.  Mat 27:18 “For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.”  Jesus was delivered to Pilate because of envy.


Genesis 37:12-22  Brothers Plot Against Joseph

            Gen. 37:12 “And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem. 13 And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. 14 And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.

            15 And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? 16 And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks. 17 And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.

            18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. 19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. 20 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. 21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. 22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands,”

            In the above passage we see three more parallels between the life of Joseph and the life of Jesus Christ.  First, Joseph was sent of his father to find his brethren.  Jesus said in Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” 

            Second, the brethren of Joseph sought to slay Joseph.  Likewise we read in Matt. 26:4 “And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him.” 

            Third, Reuben sought to deliver Joseph out of the hands of his brethren.  Similarly, we find that Pilate sought to deliver Jesus out of the hands of the Jews: Matt. 27:17 “Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. 19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

            22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. 24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. 26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified."


Genesis 37:23-28  Joseph Sold for a Price

            Gen. 37:23 “And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; 24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. 25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. 26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 27 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. 28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.”

            In this passage we find five more parallels between the life of Joseph and the life of Christ:

                        1.  Joseph was stripped out of his coat of many colours.  Concerning Jesus we read in Matt. 27:35 “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.”

                        2.  They cast Joseph into a pit.  Jesus was cast into Joseph’s new tomb.

                        3.  They raised Joseph up out of the pit.  Jesus was raised from the dead and out of the tomb.

                        4.   Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver.  Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver.

                        5.  Joseph was taken into Egypt.  Jesus as a young child was carried by Joseph and Mary into Egypt. 

            Some have wondered why Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver, whereas Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver.  Joseph was sold for the price of a 17 year old lad.  Jesus was sold for the price of an adult woman: Lev. 27:1 “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the LORD by thy estimation. 3 And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. 4 And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels. 5 And if it be from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. 6 And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. 7 And if it be from sixty years old and above; if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels.”

            Joseph was sold for his own value, whereas, Jesus was sold for the value of his bride, the church.


Genesis 37:29-36 Reuben seeks Joseph

            Gen. 37:29 “And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. 30 And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go? 31 And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; 32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no. 33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. 34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. 35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. 36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.”

            It appears from the above that Reuben’s brethren did not tell Reuben that they had sold him to the Ishmaelites but rather left him to believe that Joseph was dead.  One may wonder why they would not tell Reuben of the sale.  The answer could be that 20 pieces of silver is easier to divide into ten parts than into eleven parts.  Greed can be a strong motivation for those living wicked lives. 

            The sons of Jacob fabricated a lie to their father, making him to believe that Joseph was dead.  This parallels the lie that the Jews told about Jesus: Matt. 28:13 “Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.”  This lie was told to make people think that Jesus is still dead in the tomb, when in fact he is alive forever more.