Gen 37: Joseph the youth: Joseph, as a type of Christ -- to
Jews -- see list of parallels, Index Rerum 7,8; WExp 92. Joseph = "he takes
away" (ie, reproach) and "God will increase" (him...): cp Gen 30:23,24; Isa
THIS IS THE ACCOUNT OF JACOB: (1) "The generations of
Jacob". The last of the 10 "generations" in Genesis. This will be the arena of
all the OT, until the formula is repeated in Christ (Mat 1:1). (2) Or,
alternatively, "the generations of Jacob... Joseph": Joseph, the one true hope
of God's family at this time. All life was vested in this one man: The man sent
before to preserve life! The Saviour of the world!
TENDING THE FLOCKS: Like the "Good Shepherd" (Joh
SONS OF BILHAH... AND ZILPAH: Dan, Asher, Gad, Naphtali
A BAD REPORT: Poss their resentments or insinuations.
Or other activities, as Reuben (Gen 35:22) and Simeon and Levi (Gen
ISRAEL LOVED JOSEPH MORE...: "My beloved son" (Mat
3:17; Col 1:13 mg).
A RICHLY ORNAMENTED ROBE (AV "COAT OF MANY COLORS"): Cp
Exo 39:1. Sig a princely garment -- the birthright. RV mg: "a long garment with
sleeves" -- reserved for sheik and his heir (Str Scr 44). Reuben had forfeited
birthright (Gen 35:22). Joseph was the other firstborn.
ROBE: Heb "kethoneth": a ceremonial, priestly coat --
used only of Adam's coat (Gen 3:21), Joseph's coat, priestly linen garment (Exo
28:4), and the symbol of chastity for a king's daughter (2Sa 13:18,19; Song
Joseph was no doubt hated as much for his different outlook
and habits, as for the love of Jacob. Envy, the root of all evil: Psa 69:8;
THEY HATED HIM: "Despised and rejected" (Isa 53:3).
"They hated me without a cause" (Joh 15:25).
COULD NOT SPEAK A KIND WORD ("peaceably": KJV) TO HIM: In ct,
Jesus will one day speak "Peace" to the nations: Zec 9:10.
Did he not know what they might do?
Unlike the old Jacob, Joseph openly tells all, and does not
scheme to secure any preeminence for himself. He assumes his brethren will be
pleased to listen to him (cp Moses in Exo 19:23).
SHEAVES: Cp the waved sheaf offering (Lev 23:10-14),
Christ speaks parables of kingdom, and is hated for it: "We
don't want this man to rule over us" (Luk 19:14).
Joseph was represented by Taurus the bull (Deu 33:17), while
his brothers were the 11 other constellations (WJos 8). Cp application to
Christ: "Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars" (Psa
YOUR MOTHER: Rachel had died. So this refers to: (1)
national Israel -- the "mother", or (2) Rachel bowing to Christ in the
AND I: Did Jacob bow down before Joseph? No, not
literally. (In fact, the opposite is implied -- that even the mighty Joseph in
Egypt still pays respect, homage to his elderly father Jacob -- as does even
Pharaoh!: Gen 47:10; cp Heb 7:7.) Is this a prophetic type, of all his bre
bowing down before Christ, the antitypical "Joseph'?
The trials of Joseph: Joseph, as type of Jesus, needed to
suffer chastisement: "Joseph was innocent and excellent, but Joseph was young
and untried, and God had a great purpose with him that required that he should
be matured and perfected in character as men only can be perfected -- in the
school of adversity. Joseph had to be fitted for exaltation and the exercise of
power, and therefore Joseph had to suffer for Joseph's own good and for the
bringing about of a great result to the whole house of Israel. Joseph was
allowed to become the object of his brethren's successful hatred. Therefore, if
sympathy sheds a tear, the understanding admires, while Joseph is bound by
unfeeling brethren, and in spite of his frantic entreaties, lowered into a pit
where death appears inevitable, both in his own estimation and that of his
brothers. No greater evil short of death could befall a human being than that
which thus came to Joseph. A spectator on the spot would have said it was evil
in which it was not possible to imagine any good purpose. There was no
explanation of it. Joseph was not permitted the know the meaning. He could not
have understood if told. It would have frustrated the object for him to know.
Let us recollect this when in any matter similarly situated. Circumstances may
be dark; calamity unmixed; the situation such that enemies may say, 'There is no
help for him in God'; yet God may be at the bottom of all the trouble for
purposes of goodness which the future alone will reveal. The only policy is, in
all circumstances, to commit ourselves to the keeping of our Creator in faith
and well-doing: 'Commit thy way unto the Lord; and trust also in Him, and He
shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light,
and thy judgment as the noonday' " (WP 87).
Joseph was sent by father, to lost sheep of the house of
Israel (Mat 15:24).
VERY WELL: Given their past history, did Joseph not
know it might be dangerous?! Of course he did. Typ willing sacrifice of the
"greater than Joseph".
Apparently the brethren were suffering a lengthy drought (note
greater distance traveled -- v 17. Dryness of pit -- v 22). Note the spiritual
JOSEPH ARRIVED AT SHECHEM: Joseph took his priestly
coat (vv 31,32), perhaps intending to offer sacrifice for his brethren on
Jacob's altar at Shechem (Gen 33:20).
A MAN: Or is it an angel?
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?: Was Joseph seeking "buried
treasure"? -- the jewels and figurines buried by Jacob (Gen 34:27-29; 35:4).
This field was the extra "portion" given by Jacob to Joseph (Gen 48:22) (Tes
51:281). Consider parable of treasure buried in field: Mat 13:44.
DOTHAN: 12 miles north of Samaria, near plain of
Esdraelon, and the n-s trading routes (v 25). In area of Gentile traffic, as was
Jerusalem in Roman times.
They had indicated that they were taking their father's flocks
to Shechem. Instead they went twice as far, all the way to Dothan. Is it too
much to think that they wanted to put as much distance between themselves and
their father's house as they could? These were men who seemed to enjoy mischief
and went out of their way to find it. Joseph's reports of their evil conduct had
already been told their father. And the Scriptures record much of that
despicable and ungodly conduct.
Sometimes we can find that our proximity to OUR Father's House
has become remote out of neglect, preoccupation, or poor priorities. When we
find that, the old adage works, "If God seems far away, guess who moved!" But
let us be sure that our conduct NEVER imitates that of Joseph's brethren.
Deliberately moving a long way away from godly influences, ecclesial fellowship,
and those who seek after God's righteousness, just like Joseph's brethren, will
inevitably cause our downfall and grief and may, if we persist, eternally damage
SO JOSEPH WENT AFTER HIS BROTHERS: "Going the extra
mile" (Mat 5:41) -- more than might reasonably be expected (as would
"But the tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come,
let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours' " (Mar 12:7). They judged him
before they fairly heard him.
"And then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his
head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked
him. 'Hail, king of the Jews!' they said" (Mat 27:29).
CISTERNS: This was a dry country where shepherds often
dug fruitlessly for water.
THEN WE'LL SEE WHAT COMES OF HIS DREAMS: "If he be king
of Israel..." (Mat 27:42,43; Psa 22:7).
Reuben was the displaced one; he had lost his standing because
"They said to one another, 'Surely we are being punished
because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for
his life, but we would not listen; that's why this distress has come upon us' "
(Gen 42:21). They also bound him with iron fetters: Psa 105:18.
THEY STRIPPED HIM: Psa 22:18; Mat 27:28!
"Empty, where never man was laid" (Luk 23:53). Cp Psa
NO WATER IN IT: "As for you, because of the blood of my
covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit" (Zec
"You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but
you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph" (Amo 6:6). Cp also 1Co 10:7; Psa
14:4; Pro 30:20.
MYRRH: Mar 15:23; Joh 19:39!
As with Jesus, Jews use Gentiles to get rid of a
20 SHEKELS: The standard price of a slave (Lev 27:5;
Exo 21:32,16) (WJos 17). Cp 30 pieces of silver: the price of Christ (Mat
26:15). Prof Kenneth Kitchen, an Egyptologist at the University of Liverpool
(retired) points out that the sale of Joseph to a caravan of Midianites (for 20
silver pieces) could have been an example of anachronism in the Bible, since
1,000 years later the price for a slave was much higher (ancient inflation).
However, the price reported in the Bible matches precisely the going price of
slaves in the region from Joseph's time period. This is just one example that
demonstrates, according to Kitchen, that "it's more reasonable to assume that
the Biblical data reflect reality."
TO EGYPT: "A distant country" (Luk 19:12).
Perplexity, at death of Jesus, and the empty tomb.
The bros' treachery brings unintentional blessings later (Gen
45:5; 50:20). So it was with Christ's death, sacrifice. (Coat dipped in
"Joseph's" blood brought by his bre to F(f)ather.)
A GOAT: "The rabbis used to say that the reason why the
sacrifice of a goat was appointed for the day of Atonement (Lev 16:5,8) was that
it might be a special reminder to the people of Israel of the grievous sin of
their fathers" (WJos 19).
YOUR SON'S: Not "our brother's"! Cp Luk
The story was circulated, that Jesus' body had been stolen:
Mat 27:12,13. But did Jacob suspect "foul play"? (cp Gen 42:36-38).
IT IS MY SON'S ROBE: The one who, many years before,
had used a priestly garment and a kid to deceive his aged father (Gen 27:16,17)
was now himself deceived by the same means.
Cp Jer 31:15: Rachel weeping for her children.
Jacob's sons associate too closely with the Canaanites, and
thus the need to remove them to Egypt -- where God would, in time, make of them
a great nation... thru Joseph and later Moses.