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Genesis 37, Joseph's dreams

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jul 10, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Aug 29, 2001
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    The first 1 1/2 verses here indicate that, if the Tablet Hypothesis is correct, Jacob's account ends here. After this we do not have a toledot, or signature as to the author. It may well have been Joseph himself, except for the addition concerning his death at the end, or a scribe of his. It has, as does the rest of Genesis, the earmarks of an eyewitness account, and he is the major eyewitness of the rest of what happens in Genesis. However since he was promoted to Egyptian royalty (effectively), his material would also have been the subject of the court historian, which may be the reason there is no toledot connected to it. So the author, even by the Tablet Hypothesis, of Genesis from here to the end is unsure.

    Now, back to chapter 37. This is another one of those famous stories immortalized in song and play (Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat, among others), and known to just about everyone who has ever been taught Bible stories as a child.

    Israel -- Jacob -- caused an enormous problem of jealousy among the brothers by favoring Joseph. that is the first thing to recognize. If Joseph had been treated as 'one of the guys' all the way through, there is a chance his brothers would have just laughed off his dreams.

    But Joseph's dreams of 'superiority' caused his brothers to 'hate him all the more' the Bible tells us. This means they also hated him before he had those dreams.

    Verse 11 tells us that his brothers were jealous but that "his father kept the matter in mind."

    Dad sends Joseph to look for his brothers, who are herding their flocks near where? Would you believe SHECHEM? Amazing! It seems to me they had had enough trouble there to avoid it for a lifetime! A man directs him from Shechem to Dothan, though, where the brothers have moved the herds and flocks. The fact that there was a man in Shechem does indicate it has been sometime since the Dinah episode, when the men of the city were killed.

    I tried to look up the meaning of the actual word "shechem" on the net and started laughing. Depending on who you want to listen to, it means
    1. "our strength"
    2. "Spirit"
    3. "shoulder"
    4. "the neck between the shoulders"
    5. "place of strength"
    6. "false strength"

    "Dothan" means "two wells," "edicts," or "law."

    So I think I will leave the symbolism to others!

    How much did the brothers hate Joseph's dreams? When they saw him approaching, they did not say "here comes Joseph" but "here comes the dreamer."

    Reuban, as the oldest, attempts to prevent the brothers from killing Joseph by suggesting he be placed in a dry well or cistern. The Bible says his plan was to go back later and rescue him. As the oldest, he is responsible for his brothers, especially the younger ones, and he will be the one primarily in trouble if something happens to Joseph!

    Seeing the caravan in the distance, the brothers instead decide to get money for Joseph by selling him. As it turns out the people they sell him to are relatives: Ishmaelites, also known as Midianites for the area in which they were living.

    Reuban is evidently not with the brothers when they sell Joseph, because when he comes back and sees what they have done, he is VERY upset!

    A terrible comment on human nature is then shown by the brothers, as they are willing to cause their father deepest grief and sorrow by presenting him with Joseph's blood-stained and torn coat rather than tell him the truth and admit guilt.

    How often, when we are guilty of something, are we willing to cause another person pain or sorrow rather than admit our guilt?

    And so Joseph is transported to Egypt where he is sold to the captain of the guard.

    An interesting Jewish commentary on this chapter may be found here:

    And I do consider the symbolism presented by both the comparison and contrast of Joseph and Jesus.

    1. Both were sold out by those close to them.
    2. Joseph was sold for less money (although if there was inflation it may have been the same or more?)
    3. The apparent death of Joseph was marked by blood; the true death of Jesus was marked by the separation of the blood from the plasma when His side was pierced.
    4. Both 'came back to life' -- Joseph in his father's heart at the end, and to his brothers, and Christ to us all in reality.
    5. Both left their 'homeland' to go be a servant. Jesus left heaven to be a servant (see Philippians 2) and Joseph left his homeland and was sold into servitude.

    The comparisons and contrasts will continue, as Joseph's life is often used as a picture or 'type' of Christ.
  2. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    Aug 30, 2001
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    Joseph a type of Christ by Dr. John Gill...

    Joseph was a most eminent type of Christ, and there are so many things in this chapter which show an agreement between them that cannot be passed over. Joseph was the son of his father's old age, Christ the son of the Ancient of days; Joseph was in a peculiar manner beloved by his father, Christ is the dear son of his Father's love; Jacob made for Joseph a coat of many colours, God prepared a body in human nature for Christ, filled and adorned with the various gifts and graces of the Spirit without measure. Joseph was hated by his brethren, and they could not endure to think he should have the dominion over them. The Jews, of whom Christ was according to the flesh, hated him, and would not have him to reign over them; Joseph was sent by his father a long journey to visit his brethren, and know the welfare of them and their flocks, Christ was sent from heaven to earth to seek and save the lost sheep of the house of Israel; Joseph's brethren, when they saw him come to them, conspired to take away his life, the Jews, who were Christ's own, when he came to them, received him not, but said, this is the heir, let us kill him, and they consulted to take away his life; Joseph was stripped of his clothes, and sold for twenty pieces of silver at the motion of Judah, and Christ, by one of the same name, was sold for thirty pieces of silver, and was stripped of his clothes by the Roman soldiers; Joseph was delivered into the hands of foreigners, and Christ into the hands of the Gentiles; Joseph being reckoned as dead by his father, and yet alive, may be herein an emblem of Christ's death, and his resurrection from the dead... Brother Glen [​IMG]
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer Active Member
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    Oct 10, 2001
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