Joseph, the Dreamer - Genesis 37

Joseph, the Dreamer

Genesis 37:1-36

When we first meet Joseph, he is seventeen years old, feeding a flock of sheep with his brothers, who were the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah.  Bilhah was the maidservant of Rachel, and Zilpah was the maidservant of Leah.  Joseph was the son of Rachel, the true love of his father, Jacob. 

The teenager's brothers hated him.  He was a tattletale.  We don't know what the brothers did that was wrong, but "Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father."  Genesis 37:2.  They also hated him, because he was daddy's favorite.  "Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age."  What's more, "also he made him a tunic of many colors."  Genesis 37:3.  His brothers had nothing good to say about Joseph.

"Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more."  He dreamed that they were binding sheaves together in the field.  Suddenly his sheaf arose and stood upright.  All of the sheaves of his brothers bowed down to his sheaf.  Now his brothers were furious, and said, "Shall you indeed reign over us?  Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?"  Genesis 37:5-8.

Then he had another dream, and said to his brothers and Jacob, "Look, I have dreamed another dream.  And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me."  Now even his father was upset with him, and said, "What is this dream that you have dreamed?  Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?"  Genesis 37:9, 10.

The dreams were from God, but at the time no one understood them.  Joseph didn't.  He only saw the exaltation of himself in them. 

Later Joseph went to Dothan to see how his brothers were doing.  When they saw him coming, "they conspired against him to kill him."  Genesis 37:18.  Their hastily made plans went from killing him to starving him to selling him as a slave to Midianite traders, who were going to Egypt.  The chapter ends with Joseph sold "to Potiphar, an officer of Pharoah and captain of the guard."  Genesis 37:36.

Joseph had behaved foolishly.  His brothers were a violent bunch, who had already slaughtered all the males of the city, because their sister, Dinah, had been raped by one of them.  Genesis 34.  Among other things Jacob should not have shown favoritism toward Joseph. 

The chapter displays a horribly dysfunctional family, and ends in a terrible, disgraceful mess.  But fortunately it isn't the end of the story.  Someone has said, "When you are down to nothing, God is up to something."  That was the case with Joseph.  When life is rough and seems unfair, take heart.  There's another chapter.


Almighty God, You are in complete control in every situation.  You know our capacity to endure hardships.  We recognize that maturity is not a gift.  It cannot be rushed, bought, or inherited.  Thank You for taking Your time with us, molding us and shaping us after Your will.  In Jesus' name.  Amen! 


Joseph, the Blessed - Genesis 39


All About God

Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
Copyright ©
1979, 1980, 1982
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by Permission.
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