Joseph Is Sold into Slavery
January 27 - Nº 27 Genesis 37:1-35
It had been a long, twisting journey, but Jacob was finally settled in the land God had promised first to Abraham, then to Isaac, and now had passed on to him (Genesis 35:12). It was in this land called Canaan that Jacob raised his twelve sons. Joseph was the older son of Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel, and it became obvious that he was Jacob’s favorite child. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he reported to his father that his ten older half-brothers were not tending the flocks well. Jacob seemed to accept the news gratefully. Soon afterward, he had a special coat made for Joseph. The Hebrew words used to describe the garment indicate that it was not only colorful and ornate—it also had long sleeves. Most coats in those days were sleeveless tunics, since sleeves made it difficult to do the work required of a farmer or shepherd. Joseph’s new coat was the type worn by an overseer or prince who did not have to do manual labor. It was significant because it indicated that Jacob was intending to give Joseph “the Blessing.” He was preparing him to take over as the family leader. The tattling and the tunic did not go over well with Joseph’s brothers. As a matter of fact, they despised him. So, when Joseph told his brothers about a recent dream, he had in which all his family members bowed down to him, they hated him even more. A second dream was similar, and he chose to share that one, too. This was not a wise move on his part. His dad even chimed in to say that he had gone a little too far. It wasn’t long before Jacob gave Joseph a task in his new role as family overseer. Jacob asked Joseph to once again check on his brothers who were out in the fields and to report back to him. This was probably not a wise parenting decision given the recent family dynamics, but Joseph complicated it even more by choosing to wear his new, long-sleeved coat. His brothers recognized the robe from far away and plotted to kill their brother and toss his body into a nearby cistern. Reuben intervened and convinced them to throw Joseph into the well alive so they would not be directly responsible for his death. (Reuben planned to return later and secretly rescue his younger brother.) As soon as Joseph arrived, they stripped off his coat and threw him into the empty cistern. They refused to respond as he pleaded for his life. When they spotted a caravan of Arab traders heading to Egypt, the brothers decided to sell Joseph as a slave. Then they dipped his coat in goat’s blood and took it back to Jacob. He recognized the robe immediately and assumed that a wild animal had killed Joseph. Nothing anyone did could comfort Jacob as he mourned the loss of his favorite son. But Joseph was not dead, and God was still in control.
Do you ever feel rejected or mistreated because of something you believe or stand up for? If so, examine the ways you choose to share truth. Ask God how to do it wisely and lovingly. Then trust Him to use you and your circumstances—no matter how bad they seem—to accomplish His plans.