- Joseph is Jacob’s eleventh son, but the first with his beloved wife, Rachel.
- At the age of 17, while tending sheep Joseph brings Jacob a bad report about his brothers.
- He and his brothers do not get along.
- Perhaps one reason is that Jacob “loves Joseph more than any of his other sons.” To that end he makes a richly ornamented robe for Joseph to wear.
- That coat is the physical reality of his love. Though often referred to as “the coat of many colors,” it could be a coat with long sleeves – long sleeves that would hamper doing much work!
- When his brothers see that their father loves Joseph more than any of them, they hate him and cannot speak kindly to him. The “him” could refer to either Joseph or Jacob.
- The word “hate” is very strong. This isn’t just jealousy. In Hebrew, it means wishing him ill. It’s an active word requiring effort.
- On top of that Joseph has two dreams and can’t wait to share them with his brothers.
- In his dream they are all binding sheaves of grain when suddenly his sheave stands upright and all their sheaves gather around and bow down to his.
- The narrator says twice that they hate him even more.
- In his second dream the sun, the moon, and eleven stars are bowing down to him.
- This time his father rebukes him.
- Later, his brothers go off to graze the flocks near Shechem.
- Jacob sends Joseph to find them. They see him coming and plan to kill him.
- They argue and eventually, they agree to throw him into a pit.
- Before Reuben has a chance to rescue him, the brothers see a caravan in the distance, and Judah suggests they sell him for 20 shekels of silver.
- Then the brothers slaughter a goat and cover the coat with blood. They take the bloodied robe back to their father.
- In the meantime, the Midianites take Joseph to Egypt and sell him to Potifar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.
- And “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered in everything he did.”
- Soon, Joseph is in charge of Potifar’s household.
- But after a while Potifar’s wife invites him to go to bed with her. Joseph refuses because of his master’s trust.
- Undeterred, she accuses him of forcing himself upon her.
- Potiphar has Joseph thrown into prison. Yet, “the Lord was with him and gave him success in everything he did.”
- Later, Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker are in prison. They are assigned to Joseph who correctly interprets their dreams.
- The cupbearer will be restored to his post; the baker will not be.
- He asks the cupbearer to remember him when he is back with Pharaoh.
- Two full years go by before Pharaoh has a dream about seven plump and seven lean cows standing by the Nile.
- Joseph says God has revealed to Pharaoh what he intends to do. There will be seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine.
- Pharaoh knows that God has made all this known to Joseph; he puts him in charge and seals the arrangement by giving Joseph his signet ring and dressing him in robes of splendor.
- Pharaoh also gives him Asenath, the daughter of a priest, to be his wife. Asenath means, “she who belongs to the goddess.”
- At this point Joseph is 30 years old. So if he came when he was 17, he’s been in Egypt for 13 years.
- He and his wife, Asenath, have two sons – Manasseh and Ephraim.
- Everything Joseph predicts happens.
- During the years of famine his brothers come before him wanting to buy grain.
- They do not recognize him, but he recognizes them.
- He accuses them of being spies, saying they have only come to the city to espy out where the land is unprotected.
- They reassure him that their only purpose is to buy food. “We are all the sons of one man.”
- They say they were really 12 brothers, but one stayed home and “one is no more.”
- Joseph sends them home with the grain but keeps Simeon until they return with their youngest brother. (He also slips all the money back into their sacks.)
- Jacob refuses to send Benjamin – until the grain runs out.
- The brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin.
- They are given more grain, but Joseph slips his cup into Benjamin’s sack.
- His guards stop them on their way home, find the cup, and return all of them to Egypt.
- The brothers prostrate themselves before Joseph, beg for Benjamin’s life, and tell him the whole story.
- Then Joseph tells them that he is the one they sold to Egypt.
- Joseph takes care of his family and all that they own.
- Joseph lives to be 110 years old.