Genesis 37

Envy is a canker to the soul and hates those excellencies it cannot reach.
“Hatred stirreth up strifes” (Proverbs 10:12) and left to itself, only stops at murder.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

¶ 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.

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, to deliver him to his father again.

23 ¶ And 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;

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.

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.

Genesis 37:1-11 – Joseph Loved and Hated; His Dreams

It is a mistake for parents to show favoritism; but we can hardly wonder at Jacob’s partiality for the lad, who reminded him so vividly of the beloved Rachel. Besides, there were a purity and an elevation of spirit in Joseph that stood out in welcome contrast to the coarse brutality and impurity of the others. He was separate from his brethren, Genesis 49:26. The coat of many colors was a long garment of delicate texture, with sleeves, that was the dress of the young princes or nobles, who were not called to the menial toil of the field or household. The dreams of youth are proverbial and prophetic. In this case it would have been wiser for the lad to have kept his secrets locked in his own heart, though it was a tribute to his simplicity and ingenuousness that he must needs disclose them. The suggestion of coming greatness aroused his brothers’ sharpest envy, but the hands of the Mighty One upheld the lad, Genesis 49:23. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Genesis 37:12-24 – Joseph’s Brothers Plot His Death

Throughout Joseph was a very remarkable type of our Lord. There was, first, this mission of the beloved son to inquire after the well-being of his brethren, which reminds us so vividly of the advent of God’s Beloved and Only Begotten Son, who brought us the Father’s greeting, and came to see and know by personal inquiry how we fared. Dothan was in the northern portion of the land, and the journey must have taken time and strength; but he persisted until he found them, and came where they were. Their plot against their helpless brother was as the plot of Caiaphas and the rest against our Lord. Pilate knew that for envy they had delivered him into his hands. The pit was one of those rock-hewn cisterns that abound in Palestine, and as there was no water in it Joseph’s life was not sacrificed; and there he awaited what was a kind of resurrection. The scene at the pit’s mouth was recalled by Joseph in Genesis 42:9; and was never forgotten by the others, Genesis 42:21, 22. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Genesis 37:24 – They took him, and cast him into a pit.

   It is impossible to read this inimitable story without detecting in the water-mark of the paper on which it is written the name JESUS. Indeed, we lose much of the beauty and force of these early Scriptures if we fail to observe the references to the life, character, and work of the blessed Redeemer. Notice some of these precious analogies:–
   Our Savior’s shepherd-heart (Genesis 37:2).
   The love of the Father before the worlds were made (Genesis 37:3).
   The dreams of empire, which are so certainly to be realized, when we shall see Him acknowledged as King of kings and Lord of lords (Genesis 37:7).
   Envied by his brethren, to whom he came, though they received Him not (Genesis 37:11).
   His alacrity to do his Father’s will, and to finish his work, in which will we too have been sanctified (Genesis 37:13).
   Cast into the pit of the grave, as a seed-corn into the ground to die, that He might not abide alone, but bear much fruit (Genesis 37:24).
   The thirty pieces of silver for which He was betrayed (Genesis 37:28).
   The indifference of the Jewish people to their great Brother’s fate (Genesis 37:25).
   Rejected of the Jew, and turning to the Gentile (Genesis 37:28).
   The bitter grief which his rejection has brought on the Jewish people (Genesis 37:35).
   It is as though the Holy Ghost, eager to glorify the Lord, could not wait for the slow unfolding of history, but must anticipate the story of that precious life and death which were to make the world new again. —Our Daily Homily

Genesis 37:25-36 – Joseph Sold into Egypt

It was not chance, but providence, that brought these Midianites to the pit at that hour. They had, of course, fixed their time of departure from their native land, the speed at which their camels were to travel, and the amount of time which they would spend at the fairs and markets en route, quite irrespectively of all other considerations but their own profit and convenience; yet quite unconsciously they were moving according to a divine timetable. Everything in life is directed, superintended and controlled by a divine forethought. Let us live in constant recognition of this! You may be in a pit of dark misery, but God knows that you are there, and times the moments. Only continue to trust and do not be afraid! Blessed are they that believe, to them there shall be a performance. Months ago a caravan started, which will arrive at the precise hour when intervention will best serve you. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Those birds soar the highest that have had the hardest upbringing. Even so, God usually nurses those amid difficulties and hardships who are destined to rise to eminence, and accomplish great deeds on earth. (Guthrie)