Joseph and His Brothers – Part 1

“Now Israel [Jacob] 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. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.” (Genesis 37:3-4)

Jacob had twelve sons. Joseph was #11. Jacob loved Joseph more than the others. His brothers hated him for this. Jacob made Joseph a colorful coat, so he made it no secret that he loved Joseph more than the others. Joseph wore it regularly, so he made no secret of this fact, either.

Joseph was also loyal to Jacob. On one occasion he was feeding the flock with Bilhah’s and Zilpah’s sons. Genesis 37:2 says Joseph “…brought unto his father their evil report.” Apparently, Joseph had told Jacob about some misconduct on their part, which likely did not go over well with those other sons.

Joseph told his brothers about a dream he had had: “For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance [basically, bowed] to my sheaf.” (Genesis 37:7) His brothers replied, “Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?” (Genesis 37:8) They hated him even more.

One might wonder at this point, “Joseph must know his brothers can’t stand him. Why would he make things worse by telling them about this dream?” The dream was actually prophetic, as we will see later.

One day Jacob sent Joseph to check on his brothers and the flocks, which indicates that Jacob had more confidence in Joseph than in the others. The brothers saw him coming far off. They may have known him by his coat. They started talking about killing him. Reuben, the oldest, convinced them not to kill him, but to throw him into a pit. Reuben secretly hoped to rescue Joseph and bring him back to Jacob.

When Joseph came near, they took off his coat and threw him into the pit. They sat down to eat, but then they saw a company of Ishmeelite merchants. Judah asked his brothers, “What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh.” (Genesis 37:27) It was basically a case of human trafficking. They sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver. Reuben was apparently not there at the time.

When Reuben returned, Joseph was already gone. The brothers had to tell their father something, so they killed a young goat, dipped Joseph’s coat in the blood, and brought it to Jacob. Jacob thought Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. The other brothers didn’t tell him the truth. He grieved for Joseph for many days. His children tried to comfort him but to no avail.

The story of Joseph so far is one of hatred, treachery, deceit, and greed. Yet as we will see later, it is also a story of God’s provision, integrity, compassion, faith, and final triumph of good over evil. Finally, if you want to see how to have your sins forgiven and a home in heaven by receiving Jesus as Saviour, please go to, click “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”

Brian Miller 11/8/2022

Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822