Read Genesis 37


Joseph foreshadows Jesus. Both are especially loved by their fathers; hated by their brethren; rejected as rulers over their brethren; conspired against; sold for silver; condemned though innocent; and raised from humiliation to glory.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours (Gen. 37:3).

Joseph was deeply troubled about his older brothers' evil conduct while away from home, and he shared this concern with his father. As if to confirm the reports that Joseph brought to his father about the conduct of his brothers, the thirty-eighth chapter abruptly breaks into an account of another brother. It introduces the shameful behavior of Judah. Perhaps, Joseph's concern for his brothers' spiritual well-being, in addition to the fact that Joseph was the son of his old age (37:3), influenced Jacob to love Joseph more than all his children.

Now, as then, some people discourage the exposing of wrongdoing, while others say they do not want to become involved. But Joseph possessed deep spiritual integrity and was willing to face abuse from his brothers for exposing their evil ways (37:2-4). Their envy and hatred only increased when Joseph shared his prophetic dreams with them, revealing that God had a special position of leadership for him (37:4-8).

There can be little doubt Joseph's brothers perceived that his dreams were prophetic. Otherwise, they would have disregarded them as just nonsense or youthful visions.

After his brothers sold him as a slave, Joseph was sold again in Egypt. Then he was cast into prison, not for breaking the law, but for once again maintaining his high moral integrity. As a homesick prisoner, Joseph remained locked up for many years. During that time his feet were injured by the cruel treatment he received there.

Without a doubt, his faith was tested. Although innocent, he suffered as one who was a guilty criminal, having to bear shame and physical cruelty. God always tests our loyalty to Him by bringing circumstances into our lives that we may not understand or that may seem unfair and undeserved. But this is His means of testing our attitude; of perfecting our patience as well as our faith in Him.

How amazing to realize God has a role for each of us to play in order to enhance His Kingdom. His plan was to use Joseph to save His chosen people from extinction. While in prison Joseph learned the ways of the Egyptians, and when the time came, was able to run the nation.

Although we tend to seek the ways of comfort and ease, the Christian life as foreshadowed by Joseph's ordeal proves Peter's words to the Church.

He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: (Ps. 105:17-18).

Thought for Today:

The Bible teaches us that we should not be ashamed if we suffer for doing the right thing (1 Pet. 4:16).

Christ Portrayed:

By Joseph, who was rejected by his own brothers, sold for 20 pieces of silver to Gentiles, and unjustly imprisoned, but who eventually became their savior and a world ruler (Gen. 37:28; 41:39-40). Jesus came unto His own (people), and His own received Him not (John 1:11). He was sold for 30 pieces of silver, imprisoned, and crucified; and He became our Savior who soon will return to rule the world (Rev. 19:11-16; 22:3).

Word Studies:

37:9 made obeisance to, bowed or prostrated before; 37:22 rid, rescue; 38:2 took, married; 38:18 signet, ring of authority; 38:28 travailed, gave birth; 39:8 wotteth not, does not know.

Prayer Suggestion: Pray for (not against) your enemies (Luke 6:28).

Optional Reading: Matthew 13

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 100:3