Genesis 37:23-28


Verse 23, And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;

I.    The coat of many colors.

A.     This coat was very hated because it symbolized:

1.       That Jacob loved Joseph more than all the other children.

2.       It is not a garment a person would perform hard work in, but is the garment of a supervisor, or overseer.  Therefore, it was a constant reminder that Joseph would one day rule over the entire family of Israel.

B.     Jesus was also stripped of his clothing as He suffered on Calvary for our sinfulness.

1.       Joseph had a special coat which his brothers took from him.

2.       John 19:23,24, Jesus had a special seamless coat which the four soldiers took from Him.  They cast lots for it instead of ripping it into pieces and dividing the pieces among themselves.

3.       Heb. 11:38 - (of whom the world was not worthy).  Saved people are degraded from their position as the preserver of this world to a place of mockery.


Verse 24, And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

I.    No water in the pit.

A.     There was no help for Joseph in the pit.

B.     There was no help for Christ on the cross.

1.       Jesus wasn't given water on the cross, but vinegar.


Verse 25, And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

I.    The brothers were very hard hearted to sit down to eat while Joseph was in the pit crying for help.

A.     Gen. 42:21-23 - 22 years later, the brothers can still hear Joseph crying for help from the pit.

B.     They thought his cries wouldn't bother them, but they were wrong.

1.       We think the sins of our youth won't bother us when we get older, but we are wrong.

2.       If you don't want your sins to bother you, the only remedy is to not sin in the first place.


II.    Providence so ordered this particular company of traders.

A.     Joseph must go to Egypt in order to fulfill God's plans for him and Israel.


Verse 26, And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?

I.    It is amazing how God works in the minds of evil men to bring His will to pass.


II.    I Cor. 3:6 - God uses many people to bring forth the fruit of one soul.

A.     God used the words of Reuben to soften the hearts of the brothers, so they would be willing to listen to Judah.

B.     We sometimes think that our words have no bearing on the hearts of sinful men, but they do.

1.       When we obey God in speaking to people, we may not see immediate results, but God will use those words anyway.

2.       If we would be concerned with doing God's will instead of seeing results or with getting credit for the results, we would probably have more results.


Verse 27, 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. And his brethren were content.

I.    Reuben at first made them content by convincing them to put Joseph into the pit and not harm him.


II.    Now Judah makes them content by convincing them not to hurt Joseph, but to sell him into slavery.


Verse 28, Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

I.    There is no difference in the Midianites merchantmen and the Ishmeelites.

A.     In the early part of verse 27, Judah suggests they sell Joseph to the Ishmeelites.

1.       In verse 28, the Midianites comes alone.

2.       Then in the latter part of verse 28, it is stated that Joseph was sold to the Ishmeelites.

B.     Similarities of the two groups.

1.       They have the same ancestor, Abraham.

a.       Gen. 16:15 - Ishmael is the descendent of Abraham through Hagar, the handmaid of Sarah.

b.       Gen. 25:2 - Midian is the descendant of Abraham through Keturah, another wife of Abraham.

2.       Judges 8:24 - Gideon had lead Israel to a victory over the Midianites (verse 22).  Israel then requested that Gideon rule over them, but he refused, desiring instead for the people to let God rule over them.  Gideon made a golden ephod from the earrings of the prey of Midianites, who were called Ishmaelites.


II.    Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver, and Joseph (a type of Christ) was sold for 20 pieces of silver).

A.     The word "pieces" is in italics.

1.       There was not really 20 "pieces" of silver change hands.

2.       Lev. 27:5 - The law of vows places the value of a male from 5 years old to 20 years old at 20 shekels.

B.     The significance of the shekels.

1.       Lev. 27 explains the laws concerning vows.  The process works like this:  Suppose a member of the Tribe of Judah became very encouraged or excited about God's service.  So excited that they wanted to perform the services of the priest in the tabernacle.  Since only the Levites were to go into the Tabernacle, (anyone else would be killed) the Lord devised this method of payment, as a means of satisfying the person.

2.       Joseph was sold, supposedly into a life of slavery, but actually into a lifetime of service.

3.       Jesus was sold, supposedly to keep Him from a lifetime of service, for the price of a slave.

a.       Matt. 26:14-16 - Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver.  (The silver is usually a shekel.  A shekel is valued at about 50 cents, therefore, Jesus was sold for about $15.00.

b.       Exodus 31:32 - The value of a physically mature slave was 30 shekels.