Genesis 37 – The Coat of Many Colors
I may not get many chances to link to songs during this read through but this is one. It doesn’t tell the same story but the story it tells is a good one. Click Here.
This is one of those chapters or stories that everyone knows; similar to the creation, the ark, and the tower of Babel.
Jacob (not Israel) has moved away from Esau and the land of his father to Canaan. Joseph is 17 and is the most loved son of Jacob because of this his 11 brothers grew angry with him especially after their father made a coat for Joseph.
The coat of many colors made his brothers sure that their father loved Joseph more than any of them.
One night Joseph had a dream and told his brothers but it only made them more angry. The dream visioned them all in a field working when Joseph’s sheaf rose above the others.
The brothers were mad when they interpreted this to mean that Joseph was to rule over them.
Joseph didn’t learn from the first time; he had another dream and told his brothers about this one too. This dream visioned the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars (?) would me subservient to him as well.
When Joseph told his father of this dream even Jacob was startled and asked if he meant to rule over his own father and mother.
v.11 says his brothers were envious but his father observed the saying. I think this is meaning to say that his brothers were mad and didn’t give any credence to the dream but Jacob at least listened and allowed the possibility to exist that the dream was a vision.
Annoyingly it states that Israel told Joseph to go and help his brothers feeding the flocks. When he gets to the field he can not find his brothers or the flocks, a man in the field offers that the flocks and the brothers had gone on to Dothan so Joseph went to find them.
His brothers saw him coming from a ways off and mocked him calling him ‘The Dreamer’ and conspired to kill him. They said lets kill him and toss him in a pit and tell everyone an animal attacked him.
Reuben asked for them to not kill him but throw him in the pit and let nature do it.
Joseph came to his brothers and they attacked, they stripped him of his coat and tossed him in an empty pit.
While they were eating, a band of traveling traders came by and Judah got a great idea. He said instead of simply killing their brother they could make a little money by selling him to the traders. Apparently they didn’t want to kill him and have the blood on their hands so they were ok to sell him as a slave. I wonder where this idea of morality was when they killed every male after Dinah was ‘defiled’.
So, Joseph was sold to the merchants and taken to Egypt.
v.29 says Reuben came to the pit and Jacob wasn’t there and he rent his clothes. Was Reuben gone somewhere when the other brothers sold Joseph or did he come to the pit to get the clothes to tear them to make it look like he was attacked. Also, was Jacob sold naked?
The brothers took some blood from a goat to smear on the coat of many colors to make evidence for the loss of their brother. They bring the coat to their father and ask him if it really is Joseph’s coat or not.
Jacob says without a doubt that it is his son’s coat. He bought the story completely that Joseph had been mauled by a beast.
Jacob takes the news pretty hard I’d say. He tears up his clothes and mourned for many days. All of his children tried to comfort him but he wouldn’t allow them to.
v.36 says the Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar an officer of the court of the Pharaoh and the captain of the guard. This is a strange statement because in just v.28 it said the Midianites sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites who then took him to Egypt.
Its very strange that within the very same chapter there can be any changing of the information. The author switches back and forth between Jacob and Israel and then explains the selling of Joseph two ways. Sometimes less is more, less details can make a more believable story; if you add too many details that don’t exactly coincide it actually harms the story as a whole.