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Genesis 37:1-36 - Brotherly Hate - Part 1
So, after the dual genealogies of Esau in Gen. 36, we now transition to the time of Joseph, and understand that Joseph was just a remarkable human being. There are really only 2 people throughout the O.T. where there really isn't much negative spoken about them, and Joseph, along with the prophet Daniel, is one of those men.
There are several things about Joseph, but a couple that really stand out is that we never really see the man complaining, and he was just consistent, he never compromised: he was loved and hated, favored and abused, tempted and trusted, exalted and abased... This guy went through about all a person could go through, and yet he was just solid!
I think the reason for the consistency that we find in Joseph is because this guy was in private EXACTLY what he was in public. That really reveals the character of a man, does it not? Who are you when no one is looking? Adversity didn’t harden him and prosperity didn’t ruin him. And for those reasons, Joseph gives us one of THE most fascinating pictures of Jesus Christ in all of the O.T.
Joseph is also a man, that if you were to travel back in time and have the opportunity to live alongside him, there would be many times when you would say to this guy: “Brother, I don’t think this is gonna work out for you. This doesn’t look good at all. This is a real mess you’ve found yourself in.”
And yet, what we’re going to see is that as time goes on, Joseph concerns himself with Joseph. He doesn’t worry about what others are doing or saying. He never doubts whether God is doing his job. Joseph was a man that - as he simply concerned himself with keeping HIS heart right before God, he was blessed in God’s time and in God’s way.
Because he concerned himself with HIS heart and where HE needed to be - and we so often want to get our paws into where everyone else is at with God, and where THEIR falling short... but because he was concerned with HIS heart, God was able to work in just immeasurable ways with this man. So he became, really, a living example of that coffee cup vs.; and it’s a great vs., but I think we’ve become so inoculated about it; but if you want a commentary of this popular vs. by Paul in Rom. 8:28, you study the life of Joseph, because he gives us a beautiful picture just layed out over time of how God is just sovereignly orchestrating blessings for His chosen.
So, let’s dig into the text starting in vs. 1, we begin with a little family background here in vs. 1-2.
Vs. 1-2 - “Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. This is the account of Jacob’s family line.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.”
So, here’s Joseph with his half brothers watching over a certain portion of the family business. Now, 4 of these guys are with him here. Evidently these are the 4 guys Joseph is pairing up with to watch over the family business, spending a good deal of time with them.
Because we’ve been given the history, we’ve got Dan and Naftili from Bilha, and then Gad and Ashner from Zilpah. Dan was cunning, he was sort of the ruthless guy, not someone ya wanna mess with.
Naftili, he’s sort of the free spirit, he’s the guy who wants to live for today, for tomorrow we die and didn’t give a whole lot of thought for the future. Real carefree sort of guy.
We know that Gad was a bit of a gangsta, he was a really tough guy, especially when he was around his friends. When he was by himself he wasn’t that tough.
And Asher, he was sorta the connoisseur, he was the guy who was eating caviar and into the designer clothes and stuff.
So here we find Joseph with 4 characters and it’s interesting that being around 4 very different and 4 very strong personalities, never once are we going to discover that it rubs off on or affects Joseph in any way.
There are some commentaries I read who want to find fault with Joseph here in the scene, that he’s being sort of a nark, that he’s adding to the fire within his family. We have seen and will continue to see that, within this family there’s a good deal of bitterness and already just great insecurity within this home, and now you have little brother narking everyone out and making people more uptight than they already are.
At least that’s a position some will take. But not only is there a little speculation there, but it just does not align itself with what the rest of the Word of God has to say about this man. Remember, this is a family business, and what we’ll see in a bit is that Jacob, his father, had laid upon Joseph the responsibility of governing the family. This is the guy that’s going to get the birthright, and of course his brothers aren’t going to be too happy about that.
So what we’ve got here is - if we take this within the context of what the rest of the Bible says about Joseph, is nothing more than some kind of work evaluation report.
I don’t believe this is a situation where Joseph is snitching on 1 or 2 specific individuals, but rather he’s just coming back to Jacob and saying - “Look, these flocks and herds, they are not progressing as they should be, these guys aren’t doing their jobs.”
Join us next week as we continue the text and talk about the infamous “multi-colored” coat.
Blessings to you all.