Joseph-Character despite circumstances

Character in spite of circumstance, that is what I saw in this next phase of Joseph's life. I don't really think Joseph had a clue what was about to happen to him. Everything he knew and everyone he thought he knew were about to be pulled out from right underneath him. My mind immediately went to Joseph being stuck in the bottom of a well in the desert somewhere, but this portion of Joseph's life started a little before his brothers sought to kill their brother. This gave me yet more insight into the minds of Joseph's brothers. As a side note I find it fascinating that God chose to reveal so much about the family of Joseph, especially his brothers. Seeing inside the minds of his brothers gives us a different perspective on the whole story, but I can't be too sympathetic with them, for what they are about to do. Shortly after Israel or Jacob, declares that Joseph is his "favorite" son, Joseph has a dream. Actaully two dreams. There is a reason for this. Dreams in Genesis typically refer to divine revelations (see Gen. 20:3, 28:12, 31:10-11, 40:5-8 and 41:1). It is also significant to note that there are two dreams here, both with very similiar if not identical interpretations. Joseph tells his brothers of the first dream that he had, keep in mind that they already spurned him for being the favorite son. When they heard this dream, scripture says they hated their brother. After being constantly reminded by their father that Joseph is the favorite son then Joseph comes to them and tells them this:  

Genesis 37:6-7

English Standard Version (ESV)

6He said to them, "Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf."


I think that I might have been outraged myself! Not only is Joseph the favorite son of the family now he is having divine revelations about me, as a brother, bowing down to him! Enough is enough! Before I let myself become too outraged I reminded myself that Joseph wasn't necessarily doing anything wrong. To have a dream like that, which is obviously being given to you by God, wouldn't I tell someone? Wouldn't I tell my family? My answer is yes. Then soon after he has another dream, notice the similarities:


Genesis 37:9

English Standard Version (ESV)

 9Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, "Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me."

Now that is too much of a coincidence. And that is exactly what God meant to do. Repetition is a common method used throughout Scripture. Authors use it to drive into the readers certain points they don't want the reader to forget. Here the same principle is used but in order to show us that these dreams are not some crazy dreams of a hormonal teenager. These are in fact, God given revelations and prophetic dreams that Joseph does not even know the extent of! Even after he tells his family of the dreams he had, he offers no interpretation of his own. It is almost comical to see the brothers reaction to what Joseph says. Jospeh doesn't even seem to have all the words out of his mouth yet and his brothers start right in:

Genesis 37:8

English Standard Version (ESV)

8His brothers said to him, "Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.


This is not Joseph's interpretation. As I already saw, it's as if Joseph isn't even finished speaking and his brothers interrupt and say, well you think you're so great, we are not bowing down to you! Joseph never told them to! Though we will see this happen eventually. Joseph is never the instigator in any of his conflicts. That is significant to note, and a significant mark of character. Joseph here is not out of line, nor is he "in the faces" of his brothers. These dreams however do add fuel to the fire of the brothers hatred of Joseph. This will be the tipping point of perhaps the brothers most outrageous act so far.

Joseph is asked by his father, perhaps being the favorite son to do him a favor. He is asked to go and check on the flocks that his brothers are tending. This made me think. Joseph is sitting at home doing none of the hard work, and then his father does give him a job to do and it is to go check up on his brothers. This must have rubbed them the wrong way, so to speak. Poor Joseph here proceeds to get lost on the way to finding his brothers (37:15) and finds out that his brothers have moved their flocks. Through a little investigation Joseph finds where his brothers are. While he is still a way off from them his brothers spot Joseph. This was their reaction:


Genesis 37:18-19

English Standard Version (ESV)

 18 They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer.

Immediately the brothers sought to kill Joseph. This is not something the brothers had not been thinking about previous to this event. They saw this as their "golden opportunity" and even devised a story to tell their father in order to never be caught. God knows the plan of the brothers and never lets Joseph out of his hand. He upholds him and saves his life, and as I saw next blessed him beyond measure.