Genesis Chapters 46-50


Joseph and His Brothers Carry Jacob Back into ...

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English: Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by P...
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Genesis 46

1And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.

2And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.

3And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:

4I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.

5And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.

6And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him:

7His sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt.

8And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn.

9And the sons of Reuben; Hanoch, and Phallu, and Hezron, and Carmi.

10And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman.

11And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

12And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul.

13And the sons of Issachar; Tola, and Phuvah, and Job, and Shimron.

14And the sons of Zebulun; Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel.

15These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.

16And the sons of Gad; Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli.

17And the sons of Asher; Jimnah, and Ishuah, and Isui, and Beriah, and Serah their sister: and the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel.

18These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls.

19The sons of Rachel Jacob’s wife; Joseph, and Benjamin.

20And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.

21And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard.

22These are the sons of Rachel, which were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen.

23And the sons of Dan; Hushim.

24And the sons of Naphtali; Jahzeel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem.

25These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the souls were seven.

26All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six;

27And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.

28And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen.

29And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.

30And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.

31And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father’s house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father’s house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me;

32And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.

33And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?

34That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
Genesis 47

1Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen.

2And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh.

3And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers.

4They said morever unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.

5And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee:

6The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.

7And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.

8And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou?

9And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.

10And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.

11And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.

12And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread, according to their families.

13And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.

14And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.

15And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.

16And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.

17And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.

18When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:

19Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.

20And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s.

21And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.

22Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.

23Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

24And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.

25And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.

26And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part, except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.

27And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.

28And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.

29And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt:

30But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said.

31And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.
Genesis 48

1And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

2And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.

3And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,

4And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.

5And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.

6And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.

7And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem.

8And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these?

9And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.

10Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.

11And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.

12And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.

13And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him.

14And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

15And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,

16The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

17And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head.

18And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.

19And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

20And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

21And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.

22Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.
Genesis 49

1And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

2Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

3Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

4Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.

5Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.

6O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

7Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

8Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.

9Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

10The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

11Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:

12His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

13Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.

14Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:

15And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.

16Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.

17Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

18I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.

19Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

20Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.

21Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.

22Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:

23The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:

24But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)

25Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:

26The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

27Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.

28All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.

29And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,

30In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.

31There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.

32The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.

33And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.
Genesis 50

1And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him.

2And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.

3And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days.

4And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,

5My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again.

6And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear.

7And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,

8And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen.

9And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.

10And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days.

11And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan.

12And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them:

13For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.

14And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.

15And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.

16And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,

17So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

18And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.

19And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?

20But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

21Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

22And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.

23And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees.

24And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

25And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.

26So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

Genesis

The word “genesis” signifies “generation” or “origin” and comes from the Greek translation of Genesis 2:4. It is an appropriate title for the first book of the Bible, which contains the record of the origin of the universe, the human race, family life, nations, sin, redemption, etc. The first 11 chapters, which deal with primeval or pre-Patriarchal times, present the antecedents of Hebrew history from Adam to Abraham. The remaining chapters (12-50) are concerned with God’s dealings with the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Jacob’s son Joseph, all “fathers” of the people whom God has chosen to carry out His plan for the redemption of mankind. The book closes with these “Chosen People” in Egypt.

 

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Genesis 37:1-36


Joseph recognized by his brothers, by Léon Pie...

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Jacob recognizes Joseph's clothing // Иаков уз...

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Joseph's Coat Brought to Jacob

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Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph by Rembrandt...
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Joseph and His Brothers Carry Jacob Back into ...

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Genesis 37

1And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.

2These 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.

3Now 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.

4And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

5And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.

6And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:

7For, 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.

8And 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.

9And 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.

10And 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?

11And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.

12And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem.

13And 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.

14And 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.

15And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou?

16And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.

17And 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.

18And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.

19And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.

20Come 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.

21And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.

22And 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, to deliver him to his father again.

23And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;

24And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

25And 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.

26And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?

27Come, 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.

28Then 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.

29And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.

30And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?

31And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;

32And 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.

33And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.

34And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

35And 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.

36And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard.

Genesis 37 – Joseph Is Sold Into Slavery

 

A. Joseph’s dreams.

1. (1-4) Jacob favors Joseph.

Now Jacob dwelt in the land where his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. This is the history of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.

a. Joseph, being seventeen years old: Thus begins one the remarkable life stories of the Bible and all literature. “He was loved and hated, favored and abused, tempted and trusted, exalted and abased. Yet at no point in the one-hundred-and-ten-year life of Joseph did he ever seem to get his eyes off God or cease to trust him. Adversity did not harden his character. Prosperity did not ruin him. He was the same in private as in public. He was a truly great man.” (Boice)

i. Enoch shows the walk of faith, Noah shows the perseverance of faith, Abraham shows the obedience of faith, Isaac shows the power of faith, and Jacob shows the discipline of faith. Along these lines we could say that Joseph shows the triumph of faith. Joseph never complained and he never compromised.

ii. Joseph is also a remarkably powerful picture of Jesus.

b. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children: These chapters stand out for the insight they give us into an obviously troubled family. From the beginning, we get the impression Joseph is sort of a pampered favorite of Jacob, who doesn’t mind tattling on his older brothers at all.

c. Also he made him a tunic of many colors: Jacob’s favoritism of Joseph was plain to all, including Joseph and his brothers. As an outward display of this, he gave Jospeh a tunic of many colors. This signified a position of favor, princely standing, and birthright. It was a dramatic way of saying he was the son to receive the birthright.

i. The real idea behind the ancient Hebrew phrase for “tunic of many colors” is that it was a tunic extending all the way down to the wrists and ankles, as opposed to a shorter one. This was not what a working man wore. It was a garment of privilege and status.

d. They hated him and could not speak peaceably to him: Jacob’s favoritism of Joseph was an obvious source of conflict in the family. The brothers naturally hated him because the father favored him.

2. (5-8) Joseph’s first dream.

Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. So he said to them, “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.” And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

a. Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more: At best, Joseph showed a great lack of tact. Surely he knew how much his brothers hated to hear this dream, which set him above his brothers.

b. Shall you indeed reign over us? The brothers understand perfectly the meaning of the dream: one day Joseph would reign over them and have dominion over them.

i. Also relevant to this dream is the fact that it involves sheaves of wheat. Joseph’s ultimate position of status over his brethren will have much to do with food.

3. (9-11) Joseph’s second dream.

Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.” So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?” And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

a. Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers: If Joseph was unwise in telling the first dream (knowing how irritating it was to his brothers) he was even more wrong sharing this second dream, especially because it set him not only above his brothers, but also set him above his father and mother.

i. Joseph seems to be afflicted with the sort of pride often apparent among the favored and blessed. He is so focused on how great his dreams are for him, he doesn’t begin to consider how the dreams will sound in the ears of others.

ii. At this point, Joseph is a contrast to Jesus. Jesus wants us to be as He was on this earth: an “others-centered” person. Joseph seems to fall short in this area.

iii. Though Joseph was wrong to tell these dreams, they certainly did come true. One may receive a wonderful message from God that He does not intend them to publish to others. Joseph showed a proud lack of wisdom here.

b. Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you? This portion of Genesis possibly isn’t in strict chronological order. Back in Genesis 35:16-20, Joseph’s mother Rachel died. This portion of Genesis seems to backtrack somewhat.

i. Probably, the transition point is in Genesis 37:2: This is the genealogy of Jacob. This likely ends the record preserved by Jacob himself (who recounted the death of Rachel), and the next line begins the record preserved by Joseph himself. These same kinds of transitions are found in Genesis 5:1, 6:9, and 25:19.

c. The sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me: The idea of the stars, moon, and sun representing the family of Israel is repeated in Revelation 12:1. That passage speaks of Jesus coming from the nation of Israel.

B. Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery.

1. (12-17) Jacob sends Joseph to find his brothers keeping the sheep.

Then his brothers went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” So he said to him, “Here I am.” Then he said to him, “Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks, and bring back word to me.” So he sent him out of the Valley of Hebron, and he went to Shechem. Now a certain man found him, and there he was, wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying, “What are you seeking?” So he said, “I am seeking my brothers. Please tell me where they are feeding their flocks.” And the man said, “They have departed from here, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’ “ So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.

a. To feed their father’s flock in Shechem: There seems nothing strange about this errand, except Joseph’s brothers are in Shechem, a place where this family was influenced and harmed by worldly influences.

2. (18-22) Joseph’s brothers plot to kill him.

Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams!” But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, “Let us not kill him.” And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him”; that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father.

a. Look, this dreamer is coming! It isn’t hard to see how unwise it was for Joseph to tell his dreams in the way he did. It only made his brothers hate him. They derisively call him this dreamer.

b. We shall see what will become of his dreams! They decide to defeat Joseph’s offending dreams by attacking him. Without intending to, they put Joseph’s dreams to the ultimate test. If the dreams really were from God, they cannot be defeated by the hatred of the brothers.

c. But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands: Reuben – who at another time committed incest with his father’s concubine – took a small measure of leadership as the eldest, figuring he could save Joseph from death and rescue him later.

i. Reuben could have simply rose up and said, “This is wrong! We can’t do this!” He didn’t because he wanted to do right by Joseph without alienating his brothers. His desire to be nice to everyone will fail to prevent a great evil. The good Reuben wanted to do (bring him back to his father) will not happen.

3. (23-28) Joseph is cast into an empty cistern and sold into slavery.

So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat a meal. Then they lifted their eyes and looked, and there was a company of Ishmaelites, coming from Gilead with their camels, bearing spices, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry them down to Egypt. So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.” And his brothers listened. Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.

a. They stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him: The tunic of many colors was the sign of the father’s special favor. The brothers must have had a perverse pleasure as they ripped it off Joseph, and it must have been particularly painful for Joseph to have it torn off him.

i. Each believer in Jesus Christ is given special assurance of the Father’s favor. Certainly, many spiritual enemies want to rip from the believer the assurance of the Father’s favor.

b. And they sat down to eat a meal: The heartless character of these brothers is clear – they could eat a meal with Joseph nearby in the pit. They could sit down and enjoy food while their hearts were bent on murdering their brother.

i. Later, Genesis 42:21 describes the conviction of sin they ignored at that moment. In that passage the brothers said: We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us. When Joseph was cast into the pit, he plead with his brothers, and the ignored his cries as they ate their meal.

ii. “A physicist could compute the exact time required for his cries to go twenty-five yards to the eardrums of the brothers. But it took twenty-two years for that cry to go from the eardrums to their hearts.” (Barnhouse)

iii. This is a shocking demonstration of the depravity of the human heart – but it isn’t the last demonstration. For example, in 1995 Susan Smith deliberately drowned her own children and lied to the country about the children being kidnapped. We usually think someone who committed such an act would be overwhelmed by remorse, but her ability to put on a false face about such a horrific crime shows how deceitful our hearts are.

c. The brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver: The account is so shocking as to be numbing. We don’t know if we should think more highly of Joseph’s brothers because they decided to spare his life or less highly of them because they figured they could get rid of him and make a few bucks at the same time. Apparently they considered that their brother was only worth twenty shekels of silver.

i. It was Judah who said, “After all, he’s our brother, so let’s only sell him into slavery instead of killing him.” And this was the son of Jacob who would become the ancestor of the Messiah.

4. (29-35) They cover their sin and lie to Jacob concerning Joseph’s fate.

Then Reuben returned to the pit, and indeed Joseph was not in the pit; and he tore his clothes. And he returned to his brothers and said, “The lad is no more; and I, where shall I go?” So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, “We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son’s tunic or not?” And he recognized it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.” Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, “For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.

a. Then Reuben returned to the pit, and indeed Joseph was not in the pit; and he tore his clothes: Reuben tore his clothes as an expression of utter horror and mourning because his weak stand for righteousness accomplished nothing. Joseph may as well be dead, because his father who loved him so would never see him again.

b. We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son’s tunic or not? This shows the cruelty of the sons of Israel was not directed only towards the favored son, but also towards the father who favored him. This was both a heartless way to bring the news and an unconscionable lie.

c. Jacob tore his clothes: This was an expression of utter horror and mourning because his loved son is gone. His grief is understandable, but his failure to see the truth of eternal life is not.

i. This is also a powerful illustration of the principle that if we believe something to be so, it may as well be. Joseph was not dead, but as long as Jacob believed he was, as far as Jacob was concerned, Joseph was dead. In the same way, the Christian has in truth been set free from sin, but if Satan can persuade us we are under the tyranny of sin, we may as well be.

5. (36) Joseph ends up in the court of a high Egyptian official.

Now the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard.

a. Now the Midianites had sold him in Egypt: Egypt was a large and thriving kingdom for at least a thousand years before Joseph came. The Egyptians were wealthy and had massive natural resources. They were educated and had no real enemies at the time. When Joseph came to Egypt, some of the pyramids already looked old and the Sphinx was already carved. But in God’s eyes, the most impressive thing about Egypt was that Joseph was now there. “Though stripped of his coat, he had not been stripped of his character.” (Meyer)

b. Sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard: Even in the midst of this horror, God did not depart from Joseph. In some ways the story will get worse – and when it does, God will still be with Joseph. God is working not only for Joseph himself, but also for the larger purposes of God’s redemptive plan.

i. We can thank God for His great plan.

  • If Joseph’s brothers never sell him to the Midianites, then Joseph never goes to Egypt.
  • If Joseph never goes to Egypt, he never is sold to Potiphar.
  • If he is never sold to Potiphar, Potiphar’s wife never falsely accuses him of rape.
  • If Potiphar’s wife never falsely accuses him of rape, then he is never put in prison.
  • If he is never put in prison, he never meets the baker and butler of Pharaoh.
  • If he never meets the baker and butler of Pharaoh, he never interprets their dreams.
  • If he never interprets their dreams, he never gets to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.
  • If he never gets to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, he never is made prime minister.
  • If he is never made prime minister, he never wisely administrates for the severe famine coming upon the region.
  • If he never wisely administrates for the severe famine coming upon the region, then his family back in Canaan perishes from the famine.
  • If his family back in Canaan perishes from the famine, the Messiah can’t come forth from a dead family.
  • If the Messiah can’t come forth, then Jesus never came.
  • If Jesus never came, you are dead in your sins and without hope in this world.

Genesis:

The word “genesis” signifies “generation” or “origin” and comes from the Greek translation of Genesis 2:4. It is an appropriate title for the first book of the Bible, which contains the record of the origin of the universe, the human race, family life, nations, sin, redemption, etc. The first 11 chapters, which deal with primeval or pre-Patriarchal times, present the antecedents of Hebrew history from Adam to Abraham. The remaining chapters (12-50) are concerned with God’s dealings with the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Jacob’s son Joseph, all “fathers” of the people whom God has chosen to carry out His plan for the redemption of mankind. The book closes with these “Chosen People” in Egypt.