Reading For Monday Genesis 37:1-36


From this point forward in the book of Genesis, the story is primarily focused on the life of Joseph. God has made a covenant with a family that he will use to bless everyone on earth. It started with Abraham, miraculously included Isaac, and mercifully moved to Jacob. If you have been following the story so far, then you are aware that the unprecedented blessing that God has pronounced over this family has nothing to do with their amazing character and exemplary relationships. Abraham put his wife in danger and compromise twice. Isaac did the same and his favoritism transmogrified his family. Now, the greedy and dishonest con man is the living patriarch and we will see what will become of these family traits. Our introduction to Joseph is that he is a spoiled, arrogant, know-it-all teenager. 

Joseph is probably Jacob's favorite because his mother Rachel was his favored wife and Joseph was her firstborn. Israel's favoritism was not discreet, tactful, or judicious. It was flaunted before everyone with no shame. Joseph has two dreams, both of which seemed to indicate that one day he would be the patriarch and head of his father’s family. One day he would be the one to whom they all would look. These dreams seem to have only fed his pride rather than encouraging him to prepare for future leadership. The relationship between Joseph and his brothers had disintegrated to the point that they hated each other. Jacob's favoritism undoubtedly fueled the brother's hostility toward Joseph, but it was reinforced by Joseph's behavior. The second dream was shared with his father who was moved to reprimand him. The rebuke is well deserved. This dysfunctional family with estranged brothers will teach us a lot about the God who is merciful and keeps his covenant.  

Jacob dispatches Joseph to see about the well-being of his brothers. As Joseph approached, the brothers recognized him and plotted to kill him. They reached a place of anger and malice and crossed a line. Their vindictiveness was even more despicable than Joseph's conceit. Even after they dumped their brother in a pit and thought about killing him, they had the callousness of heart to be able to sit down and eat. God had offered them a way out through the protestations of Reuben. This episode could have ended as nothing more than mischief against their little brother, but they indulged in their bitterness and things got out of control. This sin would haunt them for the rest of their lives. 

During the meal, they spotted a caravan of Midianite merchants making their way toward Egypt. Judah suggests that rather than kill their brother, they should sell him to the caravan and thus gain some profit for themselves. They pulled Joseph from the cistern and sold him for twenty pieces of silver. Joseph was on his way to Egypt. Reuben was distraught when he returned to find Joseph missing. The brothers devise a scheme to conceal their crime. They slew a goat, dipped Joseph’s robe in the blood, and took the bloody robe to Jacob. Jacob jumped to the conclusion that Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. The brothers never told him any differently. Jacob went into sustained mourning and refused to be comforted. The Midianites sold Joseph to one of Pharaoh’s officials, a man named Potiphar. Providence had spared Joseph from sure death and placed him in a strategic position in Egypt.

Thing To Consider:

  • What does this family teach us about God's mercy?
  • How does God use dreams?
  • What are some ways that God has provided a way of escape from sin for you?
  • How does God use the sin of the brothers for his purpose?
  • What can we learn about anger and pride?