Joseph Sold Into Egypt by His Brothers

Leonardo Da Vinci, just before he commenced work on his “Last Supper” had a violent argument with a fellow painter. Leonardo was so bitter that he determined to paint the face of his enemy, the other artist, into the face of Judas, and thus take his revenge by handing t … More

Hatred

This passage is both a story of hatred  and deception. When the brothers saw Joseph coming they plotted to kill him (vv. 18-20), but Reuben wanting to protect his brother, suggested that they place him in a pit, which they did (vv, 21-22). Reuben actually planned to rescue Joseph later and take him back to his father. Soon after this a group of nomadic merchants, on their way to Egypt, came along. Judah suggested to his brothers that rather than killing Joseph they should sell him to these Ishmaelites for 20 shekels (vv. 23-28). This was equal to 8 ounces of silver, which was probably the average price in that day for a slave. All of the brothers, except Reuben who was gone at the time (who was grieved when he returned and said, “What am I going to do?”), agreed and thus Joseph’s life in the providence of God was preserved. 

The theme of deception again surfaces in the family. As an explanation, to their father Jacob, as to what happened to Joseph, they dipped his fancy coat in goat’s blood and took it to him (vv. 29-32). This was to deceive the patriarch into thinking that Joseph had been devoured by a ferocious animal. Their use of goat’s blood is ironic, for the skins of a goat were what Jacob used to deceive his father (Gen. 27:16) into thinking he was Esau. Jacob’s sin of years before had come back to haunt him. The brothers would have to learn as Jacob did that God does not give His blessing to those who do such things. Jacob recognized his son’s robe and in grief tore his clothes and put sackcloth around his waste. His children tried to comfort him but he refused to be comforted (vv. 33-35). During this time the Midianites had sold Joseph in Egypt to a man named Potiphar, who was the King’s official in charge of the palace guard (v. 36).

Application

This is certainly a vivid example of the law of the harvest. What I sow I will reap (Galatians 6:7). Sometimes it’s hard to realize that because of something I have done I’m now reaping the results.

Genesis 37:18-36 (English Standard Version)


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