This week we turn to the book of Genesis, Chapter 37 as we continue to look at some of the great chapters of the Bible. It is important to note that I have identified the authors and other varied sources used in this blog. My thoughts are included and yours are welcomed. We return this week to the writings of PAMELA ROSE WILLIAMS.
Genesis 37 – Joseph and the Coat of Many Colours
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. (Genesis 37:3)
In Genesis 37 we read the account of a man named Jacob (also known as Israel) who had more than 13 children (Genesis29; 30; 35:16-25). His favorite son was the one who was born later in his life. Because he was favored, Jacob made Joseph a “coat of many colours”.
It is recorded that because Jacob loved Joseph more than his brothers that they became jealous and sought to kill him. As the brothers conspired to kill Joseph they had second thoughts and instead threw him into a pit and left him there but before they did, they took his coat of many colours. Later one brother returned to the pit to find it empty. What they did not know is that some merchantmen had found him and sold him to some Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they took Joseph to Egypt.
To hide their dirty deed from their father the brothers took animal blood and put it on the coat of many colours and returned to Jacob with it. Jacob was very distressed over the incident and mourned for Joseph many days.
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We are introduced to two main players here whose actions brought to light the dysfunction of this family and Gods’ use of it for a greater purpose, the first player being Jacob.
“What was there to like about Jacob? He was an opportunist, co-conspirator, shifty, untrustworthy, negligent, and a father who picked favorites. Yet God said, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated” (Romans 9:13). God blessed him with many children, a productive lifestyle, and a long life. Jacob’s story reminds believers that God is in the business of transforming our struggles for His purposes and our good.”
Joseph was a young man, a shepherd and an interpreter. One of his first acts as an interpreter, a role he plays in the story, was to bring criticism of his brothers back to Jacob, forging a relationship with his father that the other brothers did not have. This relationship suggests that Joseph has become the “chosen son” of the promise. Jacob does nothing to suggest otherwise and even adds to the perception by gifting Joseph publicly with the gift of a costly robe, “a coat of many colors”.
I suppose that in some way the story here is also about relationships. Our relationship with family, friends and God; Jacob made a few mistakes but God loved him, forgave him and blessed him. In Joseph we see how important it is to use the gifts given to us by God in a way that glorifies God and serves his people. We also learn that God speaks to us in many ways as with Joseph it was through his dreams. We often say that our conscience, that little voice that sometimes seeks to correct or stop us from doing something, can be responsible for stopping us from a wrong path or action. Could it be, maybe just possible that that little voice is God speaking to us? It is often said that conscience is one’s moral sensitivity or personal scruples; to the believer it just could be God’s will and direction for their life.
No one in this story emerges innocent. The primary victim of course is Joseph but he furnishes the fuel for his own troubles. Everyone in their own way contributes to the mess this family finds itself in. We could try to spread the blame about evenly but something more powerful hides within this chapter. God is the all determining power that forgives the responsible for their sins and wins out over our human weakness for sin. God is in control even when we seek to allow human will and weakness to rule our lives.
*Additional information in this blog from NIB commentary