Genesis 37:18-22


Verse 18, And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.


I.    The very sight of Joseph caused the hatred in the brothers to "rise up".

A.     This is a very great hatred indeed.

B.     It is exceedingly terrible when the sight of a person will uncover our hatred for them.

1.       There may be someone that you hate even more every time you see them.

2.       Most of the time, we hate people because of what they have done against us, or because they stand against some of the things we stand for.

3.       Hating somebody is wrong, but hating the things they stand for is not wrong.

4.       Let us make sure our hatred is rightly directed.

C.     Jesus was hated and attempts were made on his life at the very beginning of his ministry.

1.       John 5:16 - The Jews began to persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him because He had disobeyed "their" laws by healing an impotent man on the Sabbath day and telling him to carry his bed.

2.       The Jews want to kill the one who will spiritually save them, and these brothers want to kill the one who will physically save them.


II.    Conspired.

A.     The word means to defraud, or to act treacherously against.

1.       It's meaning shows that the brothers began to treat Joseph wrong, when they knew he was innocent.

2.       The word "defraud" means a person has tricked another person into a certain thing when they know they are tricking them.

B.     The word "conspired" most commonly means to tie, to join together, to knit.

1.       So the word usually means to join together.

2.       Most of the time, the implication is for evil, but there are times when people would conspire together for good.


Verse 19, And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.


I.    Talking to one another about things mutually hated only intensifies that hatred.

A.     It does nothing to stop the hatred from growing.

B.     A while back, leading "experts" decided it was good for people to express their anger.

1.       This lead to a lot of other people getting angry because somebody had mistreated them.

2.       The "experts" opinion is usually wrong.

3.       God said to love our enemies, and to pray for those that hate us and despitefully use us.

4.       This not only helps us, but confuses our enemies, and forces them to take another look at Christianity.


II.    They couldn't forget Joseph's dreams.

A.     The progression of hate for Joseph.

1.       Joseph "tattled" on his brothers, thus they began to hate him.

2.       Jacob made Joseph a coat of many colors, a public display of his love for him, thus the hate became so intense, the brothers couldn't speak peaceable unto him.

3.       When Joseph told his brothers about his dreams, that made them hate him the more.

4.       They might have been able to hear the dreams if they hadn't hated Joseph already, but their hatred made them also despise the dreams.


Verse 20, Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.


I.    The only thing they knew to do to stop Joseph's dreams from coming true was to kill him.

A.     There is no doubt they believed his dreams would come true.

1.       They didn't want to believe it, but they couldn't help but believe it, for God put it in their hearts.

2.       If they didn't believe the dreams would come true, they should have done nothing at all.

B.     Sinful mankind does believe the truth of God's Word.

1.       This is why they fight so hard against God's people.

2.       Their only hope of stopping the judgment of God against them is to destroy the people of God.

3.       This won't work, for God will cause the very people they are fighting against to rise up for their salvation.

4.       The Apostle Paul fought God's people, but they won him to the Lord anyway.


II.    They think of something to tell their father.

A.     It is obvious they are thinking of their father, but they are not thinking very much.

1.       They are totally unprepared of the shock their father will have when he believes Joseph is dead.

2.       Gen. 37:34,35 - Jacob declared that he would go to his grave mourning for his son.

a.       Nobody could give him any comfort, although they all tried.

B.     They hate Joseph so very much, they know they won't miss him, but they don't understand the love of Jacob for Joseph, or the extent of his grieving.

C.     The brothers do understand later.

1.       Gen. 44:18-34 - Judah comes before Joseph, declaring that Benjamin must not stay in Egypt for Jacob will grieve so much that Judah couldn't stand it.

2.       Judah was one of the brothers that conspired to do wickedness to Joseph, and he was one of the brothers who was bothered the most by the hurt they caused their father.

3.       Reuben also caused hurt to Jacob, but he was at least reconciled in his own mind, that he purposed to save Joseph from his brothers, and deliver him to Jacob again.


III.    They decide to throw Joseph's dead body into a pit.

A.     There is no thought of burying the body.

B.     Their hatred for Joseph is so great, they will feel good if wild animals eat his body.

1.       Actually, that is what they would do.

2.       Their being "civilized" is the only thing that hinders them.

3.       Many people would enjoy somebody else killing their enemies because they are too "religious", or "civilized" to do it themselves.  This is vain.


IV.    It is very interesting to note that these twelve brothers are what God is using to make up the nation of Israel!

A.     Total Depravity must be true.

B.     If God can take twelve evil men like these and use them for His glory, He surely can take us (who are likewise evil) and use us for His glory.

C.     I Cor. 1:26-29 - God has chosen the foolish, weak, base, hated, and things that are not, to bring glory to Himself.


Verse 21,22 - And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.  {22} And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.

I.    The character of men.

A.     Reuben.

1.       Did a good thing by delivering Joseph from death at the hands of his brothers.

2.       Gen. 49:3,4 - Did a bad thing by going into his father's couch.

B.     Judah.

1.       Gen. 44:18-34 - Did a good thing by offering to stay in Egypt.

2.       Gen. 38 - Did a bad thing by going into a prostitute, which turned out to be his daughter in law.

C.     James 3:10-12.

1.       Out of the same mouth we bless God and curse men.

2.       A fountain giving both sweet water and bitter water.

3.       A fig tree bearing both figs and olive berries.

4.       These things ought not to be.


II.    Reuben realized there was no need to try to reason with his brothers.

A.     It is seldom good to try to reason with people who are bent on doing evil.

B.     He did give them an alternative to killing Joseph, putting him into a dry pit.  That suited the brothers desire to hurt Joseph, and also gave Reuben the opportunity to return him to his father.