Who is Joseph?

Joseph’s story is one of trust: how he trusted God in the face
of great adversity and great success, and how God trusted him with great responsibility.
It’s a drama filled with incredible passion and tension, and it is played out
on the stage of Genesis 37-50. From the time of his birth, Joseph was his
father’s favorite. He was the firstborn of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel.
Joseph was also unlike his brothers in character and attitude. Perhaps Jacob
favored Joseph for all those reasons. Not only did Jacob love Joseph the most,
he unwisely showed him great favoritism. Joseph’s brothers had come to despise
him so bad that they could not say a kind word about him.[1]

One day, for whatever reason,
Joseph announced to his brothers that he had dreamed that they were all working
together in a field when the sheaves of corn started to bow down to each other.
Their interest and anger were piqued when he suggested that their sheaves were
bowing to his, and they bluntly asked, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or
shall you indeed have dominion over us?”
(v. 8). They already disliked him
intensely. The result of this further revelation was “they hated him even more
for his dreams and for his words”
(v. 8). Subsequently he had another dream
on a similar theme and he said “this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven
stars bowed down to me”
(v. 9). Having already offended his brothers, he
now managed through this announcement to offend his father who 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?”
(v. 10). The young man
may have been short on tact but he was no stranger to truth.[2]

1. What can we learn about Joseph?

Joseph was seventeen years old and he was a shepherd. Joseph
did not participate in his brother’s misconducts. In fact, he brought reports
of their mischief to his father.

2. Why did his brothers hate him?

They hated him because he was the favorite son of their
father Jacob. They hated him for this reason and could not speak a kind word of
him. His dreams only intensified the hatred they felt for him. [3]

3. Should Joseph have told his brothers about his dreams?

Joseph was rather naïve to tell his dreams to his brothers
about his future supremacy and his brother’s submission to him. This just
intensified their hatred towards him. [4]

4. What did Joseph’s brother do to him after they heard
about his dreams?

When the opportunity came at Dothan, they planned to kill him. But Reuben
tried to rescue him by persuading them not to kill him. His brothers would then
sell him to a caravan of Ishmaelite going to Egypt were he would become a slave.

[1] Swindoll,
Charles R.: Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness, Nashville, Tennessee
: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1998

[2]Briscoe, D. Stuart ; Ogilvie, Lloyd J.: The
Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 1 : Genesis
. Nashville, Tennessee
: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1987 (The Preacher’s Commentary Series 1), S. 294

[3] Arnold,
Bill T. Encountering the Book of Genesis.Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003.

[4] bibleseo.com/old-testament/joseph-bible-character-study/

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