Genesis 37:1-4



Studies about Joseph




I.    Joseph was:

A.     born in one place (Haran);

B.     raised in another place (The land of Canaan) without a mother, for Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin (Gen. 35:16-20);

C.     and grew into adulthood and died and another place (Egypt).


II.    Gen. 30:22-24 - Joseph's name means "Let Him add", or simply "adding".  He received the name because Rachel was expecting to bear more children.


III.    Gen. 30:1 - Rachel was angry at Jacob because she was barren.

A.     Jacob's reply, "Am I in God's stead?" seemed to startle her and she began to pray that she might have children, 30:22.

B.     This might seem to be an unrealistic response by both Rachel and Jacob until we read Gen. 29:31.

1.       The reason Rachel was barren was Jacob's fault.

2.       His great love for Rachel and not so great love for Leah had caused God to open the womb of Leah and close Rachel's womb!

3.       Therefore, Rachel wasn't far from the truth when she demanded a child from Jacob!


IV.    Rachel was not a worshipper of God as revealed in 31:32 since she stole her fathers gods.

A.     Here is a very strange thing.

1.       Christians spend their entire lives trying to get people to accept what Jesus did for them on Calvary, trying to "give their God away".

2.       Laban, on the other hand, wanted his gods back when they were stolen!

3.       It's also very interesting to note that Laban's gods didn't have the ability to keep from being stolen!

B.     Rachel didn't worship God before Joseph was born, nor did she worship God after he was born.

1.       She only prayed to God for a son, not for salvation.

2.       She was the kind of "Christian" many people are today.

3.       She wasn't thinking or praying to God when things were going along fairly smoothly.

4.       When she wanted a baby, she first complained to her husband, then prayed to God (Gen. 30:22), God heard her prayer and opened her womb.

5.       After she received her request of God, she immediately quit trusting God as shown by her stealing her father's gods.


V.    Gen. 33:1,2 - The next time Joseph is mentioned, he is still a very small child, and probably wouldn't remember.  Jacob protected him from Esau by placing Rachel and Joseph in the very last company.


Section # 1

Verse 1-4


I.    Verse 1.  And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.

A.     Heb. 11:9 - Stranger in a strange land.  (Talking about the time between the promise given to Abram and Israel possessing the promised land.)

B.     Gen. 23:4 - Abram bought a field to bury in.

1.       Gen. 49:31, 50:13 - Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah, buried there.

2.       Gen. 50:26, Joshua 24:32 - Joseph buried in a purchased land, which became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

C.     Gen. 28:4 - Isaac confessing he and his son, Jacob, are strangers in the promised land.

D.     Gen. 37:1 - Jacob is a stranger in a strange land.

E.      Gen. 37-50 - Joseph was never accepted in the land of Canaan or Egypt (by his brothers).  He was buried in Shechem - a purchased land.

F.      Ex. 5:4 - the land of their pilgrimage (Canaan) where they were strangers.

G.     Ps. 105:11,12 - The writer says Israel was a stranger in the land of Canaan.

H.     I Peter 1:1 - Peter writes to strangers.  These are not people he did not necessarily know, but people the world didn't know.


II.    Verse 2. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.

A.     The generations of Jacob.

1.       Note how God continues the life story of Jacob by telling the life story of Joseph.

2.       The genealogy of Jesus Christ does not contain Joseph, but goes through his older brother, Judah.

3.       The story of Joseph is given so we will understand that there are some people that don't do like we think they ought to do that are being used by God.

4.       For example:  God uses people not in the local church to bring to pass blessings upon that same local church.  I am thinking of some people that have helped me financially so I could preach and pastor, but who were not members of any church at all.

5.       This is not an encouragement to faithlessness, but an encouragement to remember that God is in control, and that He will work everything out, even if there are people that don't do like we think they ought to do.

B.     Compare the space given to the life of Joseph, and the space given to the life of Judah.

1.       Genesis contains some 24 chapters about the life of Joseph, and only contains one chapter concerning Judah.

2.       Joseph is shown exactly like he is, a faithful man, obedient to God's commands.

3.       Judah is shown exactly like he is, a man not so faithful to God's commands.

4.       God used Joseph, and God used Judah.

5.       So it is today, God uses whomsoever He will.  There are even cases in the Bible where God used a wicked person to further His will!

C.     Joseph was working as a 17 year old.

1.       This is so very much better than many young people today who have nothing to do.

2.       Note that Jacob loved Joseph more than his other sons, but still required him to work.

3.       It is a very sorry father who does not expect his children to carry their own weight when it comes to working.

D.     Why wasn't the sons of Leah mentioned?

1.       It is probably because of the jealously between Leah and Rachel over Jacob.

2.       Joseph didn't have a mother and Leah certainly didn't become a mother to Joseph or Benjamin.

3.       The phrase indicates that Joseph made his home with the sons of the handmaids, not with Leah.

E.      Joseph didn't know how to keep his mouth shut.

1.       It was not bad that Joseph told on his brothers, but he hadn't learned how to tell of their evil report.

2.       There is good indication that Joseph's telling on his brothers was the first of at least three events that caused his brother to hate him.

a.       The first is this incident.

b.       The second is the coat of many colors.

c.       The third is when Joseph told of the prophetic events of his ruling his family.


III.    Verse 3,4, 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. {4} 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.

A.     There is a real problem in families because a parent prefers one child above another.

1.       Note: Jacob love Joseph him more than the other children only because he was the child of his old age.

2.       Benjamin is not mentioned.

B.     It is uncanny how Jacob's exceeding great love for Joseph above all the other brothers actually played a part in the salvation of Israel.

1.       Joseph had to go to Egypt in order to save Egypt, so Egypt could save Israel.

2.       God used Jacob's great love, and the brother's great hate to accomplish His will.

a.       Ps 76:10 - "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, the remainder of wrath shall thou restrain."

b.       Gen. 37:20, the brothers had planned to kill Joseph, but the providence of God kept him alive, and got him into Egypt where Joseph could save the lives of the brothers who tried to kill him.

C.     The coat of many colors.

1.       This is not really a coat of "many" colors.

a.       Gen. 37:3 - The word "many" is in italics.

b.       Gen. 37:23 - The word "many" is in italics.

c.       Gen. 37:32 - The word "many" is in italics.

d.       A word in italics means the translators added the word to make the meaning clearer.  Sometimes this doesn't make the meaning clearer!

2.       This garment is not the coat Loretta Lynn sings about in the "Coat of Many Colors".

a.       It is a sleeved ankle length garment worn on the outside.  It is not a garment a person would perform hard work in, but is the garment of a supervisor, or overseer.

b.       It seems Jacob unwittingly made a garment which would lead the brothers to think Jacob had put the idea of ruling into Joseph's head!

D.     The brothers couldn't speak peaceably to Joseph.

1.       This is always a grief to parents.

a.       Parents should take warning about children who can't get along.

b.       If they can't get along in the presence of the parents, what will they do when the parents aren't there?

c.       Joseph's brothers sold him into bondage (instead of killing him) when the parents weren't present.

d.       Many children have lots of trouble dividing up the estate of the parents because the parents aren't there to settle disputes.