Joseph Goes to See His Brothers Who Hate Him

When F. B. Meyer was the pastor of Christ Church in London, Charles Spurgeon was preaching at Metropolitan Tabernacle, and G. Campbell Morgan was at Westminster Chapel. Meyer said, “I find in my own ministry that supposing I pray for my own little flock, ‘God bless me, … More


The events of this chapter took place a few years before Isaac’s death, while Jacob and his family were living near Hebron (v. 1). The story begins with Joseph, the 17 year old son of Jacob, bringing a bad report to his father about his half brothers (v. 2). Naturally his brothers Envy him for this. We find that Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children (v. 3). He made a special robe for him which cased his bothers to envy him even more (v. 4). This shows that he had not learned his lesson from a previous experience as it had separ­ated him from his mother (Gen. 27:1-28:5),and it would separate Joseph from Jacob. This shows what parental favoritism will do to a family. It would seem that Joseph was a spoiled child and didn’t even know it. Instead he appeared to  enjoy this special treatment. It was evident that his brothers really envy him and sooner or later their anger was going to cause a serious problem.

Then Joseph had two dreams which he shared with his bothers that caused even deeper envy (vv. 5-6). These dreams which had to do with sheaves of grain (v.7) and the sun, moon and stars (vv. 8-9) symbolically pointed out that Joseph would one day rule over his whole family. Rather than recognizing this as God’s choice, his brothers set out to destroy him (vv. 10-11)). One day the opportunity came while the brothers were shepherding the family flocks in Dothan (v. 12). Jacob asked Joseph to go and see how they were getting along (vv. 13-14). In spite of the envy Joseph knew his bothers had for him, he complied with his father’s wishes.

When Joseph was near Shechem he met a man who told him that he heard someone say his brothers were going to Dothan (vv. 15-17). Immediately he left and found them in Dothan. Knowing that his brothers were angry at him you would think Joseph would have questioned his father about going to find his brothers. It appears that Joseph was enjoying the favoritism so much that he didn’t care what his brothers thought about him.


Joseph did what his father asked him to do even though he knew his brothers envied him. The question is, am I willing to do what my Father asks me to do no matter what other people think?    

Genesis 37:1-17 (English Standard Version)

Jacob lived in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, "Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf." His brothers said to him, "Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, "Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me." But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?" And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind. Now his brothers went to pasture their father's flock near Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, "Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them." And he said to him, "Here I am." So he said to him, "Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word." So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. And a man found him wandering in the fields. And the man asked him, "What are you seeking?" "I am seeking my brothers," he said. "Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock." And the man said, "They have gone away, for I heard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.'" So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

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