Friday, October 06, 2006

Why were Joseph's brothers so angry?

I have to admit, I've never understood why a group of GUYS would get so bent out of shape because their brother got a new coat. I just couldn't understand that.

As of a few days ago, the children and I are working through a kids Precept study together, and it's called "Joseph, God's Superhero".

It's a wonderful study, and I am blown away at how much the children are learning (and me too! )!

I'm so excited, because what this will do is teach them the tools that I've learned as an adult, to help them learn to "Discover Truth for Themselves" from God's Word.

They are catching on so fast! Already they know how to investigate the Scriptures by asking the 5ws and an H questions, and they're using their colored pencils to identify key words!


Brennan is only 4, and she has truly amazed me by how much she is "getting" already. She is the 1st to give me the answers! I love it!'s what I learned from Genesis 37 the original language, "varicolored tunic" meant a coat that had long sleeves that reached to one's palms. It was customary in the day for working men to wear sleeveless tunics. So, the fact that Joseph's father gave him one that had long sleeves represented that Joseph wasn't expected to work like his brothers were.

In the 2nd part of Genesis 37, this is further shown when we read that Joseph's father asked him to go to the field where his brothers were tending the flock....evidently, he wasn't working with them...and when he got there, he didn't go to work. He was sent just to check on them and then take word back to his father of how they were doing.

Now, I'm starting to get it. They were jealous of him because he had preferential treatment from their father, and then he tells them about his dreams...dreams which indicate that they'll one day bow before him.

Whew! They were not thrilled about this, to say the least.

And, as the kids and I have studied the text, we find that first his brothers were jealous of him...then they hated him...then they wanted him dead.

It's been such a great application lesson to share with the children...when we find ourselves tempted by sin ( in this case jealousy)...we need to surrender it immediately to God. For when we don't, it won't sit will grow into deeper sin ( in this case hatred )...and when it's allowed to flourish it turns to death.

Death? Maybe not physical death...but most definitely the death of relationships. I've just seen that happen in my own life, sadly enough. People who will not bow their knee before God and confess their sin to him, and allow Him to be glorified as they walk in obedience to a result, our relationship is dead.

And everyone loses when that happens...until, that is, God redeems the He will end up doing through Joseph, for his entire family. ( stay tuned )

If you feel so led, I'd cherish your prayers that God will redeem this relationship in my life.

Maybe sometimes it is physical death. In Joseph's case it was going to be, but his brother Reuben stepped in as protection for him.

That's the other thing I learned...I always thought that ALL of Joseph's brothers wanted him dead, but as we observed the text, we found that Reuben was actually used by God to save Joseph's life.

As we read further in Genesis 37, it seems clear that Reuben didn't know that his brothers had sold Joseph into slavery, for when he went back to the pit to find Joseph and return him to his father, he found the pit empty. And the Scripture says that Reuben tore his clothes.

I am loving this study! I've heard this story in Sunday school classes since I was a child, but the SIGNIFICANCE of the Truth of this story is now coming to light for me.

That's why I love studying the Bible inductively! I truly am "Discovering Truth For Myself".

If you're in Anthem, and interested in learning how to study the Bible for yourself...please e-mail me. I'd love to tell you about the opportunities available to you here in our community!

If you're anywhere else, go to and search for a Precept study in your own area. If you'll let Him, God will change your life through the Truth of His Word.

"God's Word is a Gift...Open it up and see what's inside for YOU!"

In His Love,


Stephanie said...

I love reading your notes! Hey, you should add your blog to the Christian Women Online blog list:

It's so awesome that Brennan is learning to study the bible so young. Both of your kids are going to turn into amazing adults! :) XOXO

Janan Kash said...

Can I add a few interesting things about this story that crossed my mind? Remember,this is from the perspective of a 52-year old who has raised 2 sons!

Genesis 35:22 tells of how Reuben slept with his father's concubine Bilhah. My study Bible refers to this act by Rueben as "an arrogant and premature claim to the rights of the firstborn -- here the right to inherit his father's concubine. For this he would lose his legal status as firstborn (see 49:3-4; 1 CH 5:1)." I was trying to imagine what must have happened in his home when his father found out about that! I can remember back when our boys (now ages 26 and 20) would do something very, very wrong and they would get into trouble. They would be upset when I got disappointed or mad or when they got into trouble, but if they ever disappointed their father, it "just killed them." I wonder if it just "killed" Reuben when his father was disappointed in him. I have heard it said that boys love their mothers, but they LIVE for their dads! I can see that in both of my sons' lives.

We know that Jacob loved Rachel and I would think the kids would know that as well - that they would feel it - the same way Jacob showed Rachel favortism he would show Rachel's children favortism also. I always tend to think Jacob loved Joseph more because he was Rachel's son, but actually my KJV says in 37:3 that "Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age." I am thinking the 17 years that Joseph was growing up in that household, his brothers were having just about enough of this favorite child - and then the robe.

In my Zondervan Handbook to the Bible, it says, "Reuben, the eldest - with most to lose if his father favoured Joseph - dissents from the violence, taking responsibility for his young brother."


Anonymous said...

What do you think, please, of Obadiah Shoher's interpretation of the story? (here: ) He takes the text literally to prove that the brothers played a practical joke on Yosef rather than intended to murder him or sell him into slavery. His argument seems fairly strong to me, but I'd like to hear other opinions.

Jes said...

Hi Alex,

Welcome to my blog, and thank you for your comment.

I want to be able to give you an answer based upon Scripture, and give you the references for each comment that I make.

That being said, this is going to take me a little time.

In a nutshell, I don't believe at all that it was a practical joke. The bible says that Yosef's brothers hated him and could not speak with him on friendly terms.

Later in Scripture, he tells them that what they meant for evil, God meant for good. (I'm paraphrasing a bit, may not be word for word as written in the Scriptures...but I'm going from memory right now.)

I will read the blog entry that you left, and will spend a little time on this...then will post here again.

Thank you again. I respect the fact that you want to know the Truth of God's Word, and want to encourage you to ask Him to reveal truth to you through His Holy Spirit.

He is faithful to do so, for He does not want us to be deceived.

In Him,

Liz said...

Thank you for your post. I felt God leading me to re-read the story of Joseph this week (which is exciting, because I don't usually feel God leading me to read any specific passage). I really didn't get the significance of the "varicolored tunic" thing either, so I turned to Google and your post was the first hit. Thanks for clearing things up!

PMI said...

Welcome, Liz!

I love it when God does that! He's led me to some passages in Scripture at times in my life when I so needed to hear from Him.

That's precious, isn't it?

I'm glad the post helped you, and hope you'll return often.

In Jesus,