Angelic Conflict part 123: Human history – Gen 37; 39; 1Jo 2:9-11; 3:15-16; 4:19-21; Psa 56:4.
length: 60:23 - taught on Jul, 19 2013
The conflict in Jacob’s family; Joseph hated by his brothers, Gen 37.
GEN 37:1 Now Jacob lived in the land where his father had sojourned, in the land of Canaan [near Bethlehem].
GEN 37:2 These are the records of the generations of Jacob.
Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth, along with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father.
Joseph is often put down for being a tattle tale, but with what we see about his brothers, what he reported was probably true, though we are not told what it is.
GEN 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a varicolored tunic.
“son of his old age” - Benjamin was the youngest, but Joseph was the first born of Jacob’s beloved Rachel and so he loved him the most.
The sign of this love was the tunic he made for him, which was a sign that Jacob considered Joseph to have the right of the first born even though he is the eleventh born.
The Bible instructs against favoritism based on selfish reasons:
Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
“varicolored tunic” - ketonet passim = a long coat of full sleeves, a coat of royalty.
Literally it means a tunic reaching to palms and soles.
The tradition of “many colors” is based on the Septuagint, which reads “a multicolored frock” which the Latin Vulgate also used.
The Tombs of Bene Hassein in Egypt dating back to the patriarchal age have pictorials that show Semitic chiefs (and the family of Jacob was Semitic) wore coats of full sleeves and many colors as an insignia of rulership. Therefore, this was a sign that Jacob appointed Joseph the leader of the clan.
Jacob in this way showed Joseph’s preeminence who was to replace Reuben as the right of the firstborn. God had a different plan, the son of Leah, Judah, would be the firstborn.
This sets up a petty conflict in the family. Just because Jacob loves one son more, and though his reason may be wrong, that does not justify the hatred of the other brothers, but satanic influence over fallen man causes blindness to justice and injustice and only focuses on self.
Occupation with self, self love, and self worship all began satan’s fall and this is a big part of his world system.
So Leah, not Rachel is in the line of Christ and Judah and not Joseph. As we have seen so many times, when man takes a different way than God, God still gets His way, and that always.
GEN 37:4 And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms.
People under satanic influence are petty, insecure, and vindictive. They cannot stand to see another prosper, even a brother.
Jacob’s motivation is wrong just as his father Isaac’s motivation was wrong to favor Esau, but that does not excuse the hatred and lack of civility displayed by the brothers.
The believer never has an excuse to harbor mental attitude sins, no matter what anyone else does.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
GEN 37:5 Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more.
GEN 37:6 And he said to them, "Please listen to this dream which I have had;
Joseph just seems to be naïve. He is 17 years old, so yeah, one can understand his naivety.
GEN 37:7 for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf."
GEN 37:8 Then his brothers said to him, "Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?" [he’s younger than all of them; Benjamin would have been very young] So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words [his interpretation of the dream].
GEN 37:9 Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, "Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun [Jacob] and the moon [Rachel or her handmaid Bilhah] and eleven stars [brothers] were bowing down to me."
Jacob rebukes him.
GEN 37:10 And he related it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?"
GEN 37:11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.
Jacob rebukes him, but keeps the dreams in the back of his mind, for Jacob had a dream in Bethel in which all of the promises given to him did result in fulfillment.
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun [Israel - the Wife of Jehovah], and the moon [Rachel] under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.
Most likely the moon represents Rachel, the mother of Joseph, though it is not her that the line of Christ followed. The “she” is Israel, or Jacob, the wife of Jehovah, through whom the line of the Messiah would come. Outside of Eve the line of Christ is always given through the males who were given the rights of firstborn.
So why would God do this? If Joseph doesn’t have the dreams his brothers will not hate him enough to want to kill him and then resort to selling him into slavery in Egypt. From Egypt, as slaves 400 years later, the Jews will be freed from slavery and delivered to the Promised Land, which is a major type of salvation and a communication of the gospel to the world [Rahab]. Also, the children of Jacob began to intermarry with Canaanite women and it seems that God wanted them out of that place and isolated in Egypt. They will even be isolated from the Egyptians in their own land that Joseph will give them. God is also testing their humility, which they lack. God has a plan for every circumstance in history.
This was prophesied:
GEN 15:13 And God said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.
GEN 15:14 But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions.
Joseph sent to see the welfare of the other brothers who are shepherding flocks.
GEN 37:12 Then his brothers went to pasture their father's flock in Shechem.
GEN 37:13 And Israel said to Joseph, "Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them." And he said to him, "I will go."
GEN 37:14 Then he said to him, "Go now and see about the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock; and bring word back to me." So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
GEN 37:15 And a man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field; and the man asked him, "What are you looking for?"
GEN 37:16 And he said, "I am looking for my brothers; please tell me where they are pasturing the flock."
GEN 37:17 Then the man said, "They have moved from here; for I heard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.'" So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
If Joseph doesn’t run into this man he won’t find his brothers and his destiny won’t begin. God always finds a way to get the believer where He wants him.
Paul wanted to go east when God wanted him to go west. He was dragged west in chains.
GEN 37:18 When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death.
The depth of hatred in fallen man can lead him to murder, in fact, fratricide - murder of a brother. [Cain and Able]
This is applied spiritually in the CA.
1JO 2:9 The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.
1JO 2:10 The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
1JO 2:11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1JO 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
1JO 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1JO 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.
1JO 4:20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
“if someone says” - used 7 times in 1Jo in various forms to indicate someone who is pretending to be something he is not.
The unseen God knows all, things which the seen brother cannot see. If one is sure that the unseen God loves him, as is stated in the scripture quite frequently, then he will love the unseen God and then be able to love his seen brother without fear.
Fear and pretense usually go together. In fact, they were born together when the first man and woman sinned.
No sooner did Adam and Eve sense their guilt than they tried to hide from God and cover their nakedness. But neither their coverings nor their excuses could shelter them from God's all-seeing eye. Adam finally had to admit, I heard Thy voice in the Garden, and I was afraid."
But when our hearts are confident toward God, there is no need for us to pretend, either to God or to other people.
A Christian who lacks confidence with God will also lack confidence with God's people.
Part of the torment that fear generates is the constant worry, "How much do others really know about me?" But when we have confidence with God, this fear is gone and we can face both God and men without worry.
1JO 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
And that is the evidence to the believer that he loves God. Remember, God was showing Jacob his perseverance, for God in His omniscience knew all about it. God knows when you love Him, but He wants you to see it as well so that you have confidence before Him and courage before men.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?
The brothers are threatened by Joseph, but they will not show that to one another. The brothers will be threatened by Joseph again, years later in Egypt, and in their great fear they will show that fear to one another, but as Joseph is a gracious, doctrinal believer [there is not one record of God appearing to him, he runs on doctrine alone], their fear is unfounded.
Fear and pretense are partners and they will eventually result in hatred of those who truly prosper without faking and against those who may find out the pretender.
Another thing results from fear - labeling others with nasty nicknames.
GEN 37:19 And they said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer!
They had given him the nickname “dreamer.” This shows the reason why they hated him so much; the dreams that stated that the whole family would bow down to him. What they are about to do is going to lead to the fulfillment of those dreams.
GEN 37:20 "Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, 'A wild beast devoured him.' Then let us see what will become of his dreams!"
If they kill him the dreams cannot become a reality. This shows that they might have had some fear that the dreams were from God. If they think his dreams are complete nonsense and there isn’t a glimmer of doubt and that there might be something to them, then why say this and why go to the lengths of fratricide.
How are they benefited by the death of Joseph? If they think his dreams are silly and his coat is silly and their father is simply playing favorites then so be it.
But the jealousy, envy, and vindictiveness of the fallen nature knows no bounds. Be careful:
but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
GEN 37:21 But Reuben heard this and rescued him out of their hands and said, "Let us not take his life."
GEN 37:22 Reuben further said to them, "Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but do not lay hands on him" — that he might rescue him out of their hands, to restore him to his father.
Reuben’s intervention saves Joseph. God uses people to fulfill His will; even a Reuben who slept with his mother-in-law.
Reuben lacked sense when he slept with his mother-in-law, but shows good sense here. Reuben knew he was replaced as the right of firstborn by Joseph as was evidenced by the tunic, but he would not let Joseph die. This shows some integrity on the part of Reuben.
GEN 37:23 So it came about, when Joseph reached his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the varicolored tunic that was on him;
GEN 37:24 and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it.
GEN 37:25 Then they sat down to eat a meal.
They are content enough to eat while Joseph pleads with them for mercy, GEN 42:21.
GEN 42:21 Then they said to one another, "Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us."
GEN 42:22 And Reuben answered them, saying, "Did I not tell you, 'Do not sin against the boy'; and you would not listen? Now comes the reckoning for his blood."
GEN 42:23 They did not know, however, that Joseph understood, for there was an interpreter between them.
GEN 42:24 And he turned away from them and wept. But when he returned to them and spoke to them, he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.
GEN 37:25 Then they sat down to eat a meal. And as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing aromatic gum [spices] and balm and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt.
Judah, through whom would come the Messiah, comes up with a plan to get rid of Joseph and make some money. Judah will reveal personal growth in his dealings with Joseph in Egypt.
GEN 37:26 And Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood?
GEN 37:27 "Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; for he is our brother, our own flesh." And his brothers [except Reuben who is not there] listened to him.
Judah offers a half-hearted kindness - “he is our brother, our own flesh,” so let’s not kill him, but let’s sell him as a slave and make a profit.