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Wednesday, November 14 2012

A Biography Of Jacob: A Coat Of Many Colors

Studies in this complete series of A Biography Of Jacob:
1. The Second Twin 2. The Birthright 3. The Blessing 4. Stairway To Heaven
5. The Jacobites Of Syria 6. Speckled And Spotted 7. The Flight To Canaan 8. When Jacob Became Israel
9. Peace With Esau 10. The Return To Canaan 11. A Coat Of Many Colors 12. Israel In Egypt
13. Blessings And Prophecies 14. Homeward Bound


The Exodus is one of the most famous events recorded in the Holy Bible (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Exodus). It was not however merely a happenstance event, or something that the LORD decided to do after the Israelites moved to Egypt. The LORD told Abraham that the Exodus would happen, before the LORD renamed his grandson Jacob as Israel (see A Biography Of Jacob: When Jacob Became Israel), and moreover before the Israelites entered Egypt to begin their four centuries' stay there. To Abraham, the Exodus was a prophecy.

"15:13 And he said unto Abram [see Who Is The LORD? and What Did Jesus Christ Say About Abraham?], Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs [see Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates], and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 15:14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance." (Genesis 15:13-14 KJV)

Why did the Israelites go to Egypt?

Egypt Jacob had been the "favorite" of their mother Rebekah, while his twin brother Esau had been the "favorite" of their father Isaac ("25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob" Genesis 25:28 KJV; see also A Biography Of Jacob: The Birthright), with disastrous results. Nevertheless, Jacob blatantly "loved Joseph more than all his children," making for him a constant reminder of the discrimination in the eyes of his brothers - "a coat of many colours." The inevitable result? "When his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him."

"37:1 And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan [see A Biography Of Jacob: The Return To Canaan].

37:2 These are the generations of Jacob.

Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren [see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria]; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.

37:3 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. 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him." (Genesis 37:1-4 KJV)

Joseph then began having dreams of supremacy. He may have already been inclined to have such a dream over his less-favored brothers, but when his dreams included having his parents bowing before him too, Jacob "rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?"

"37:5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. 37:6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 37:7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.

37:8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

37:9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

37:10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? 37:11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying." (Genesis 37:5-11 KJV)

One day, Joseph's brothers conspired to do away with their brother Joseph, at first by murder, but then, at the behest of Judah who reasoned "What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 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."

Joseph's Coat

"37:23 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; 37:24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

37:25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites [see A Biography Of Abraham: Hagar And Ishmael] came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

37:26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 37:27 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.

37:28 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.

37:29 And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. 37:30 And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?" (Genesis 37:23-30 KJV)

The brothers then had Joseph's "coat of many colors" dipped in goat blood and inflicted the false story that Joseph had been killed, and eaten, since all that was left of him was his coat, upon their father Jacob, who "rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days." The grief almost killed Jacob: "I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning."

"37:31 And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; 37:32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no.

37:33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. 37:34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

37:35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.

37:36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard." (Genesis 37:1-36 KJV)

As it happened, Jews began their specific ancestry from a separate incident during that time. The sons of Jacob / Israel had no Israelites to marry. Judah married a Canaanite woman, who gave birth to the first sons of Judah, abbreviated as "Jews" (see Who Were The First Jews?).

"38:1 And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 38:2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her. 38:3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er. 38:4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan. 38:5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him." (Genesis 38:1-5 KJV)

In the meantime, Joseph, with the help of the LORD, had risen from a slave and dungeon prisoner (see Was Her Name Zuleikha?) to the Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh himself (see Joseph, Prime Minister Of Egypt).

Prime Minister Joseph

"41:41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. 41:42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 41:43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.

41:44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. 41:45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.

41:46 And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. 41:47 And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. 41:48 And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. 41:49 And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number." (Genesis 41:41-49 KJV)

A great famine then struck the land, as a result of drought. The rich Nile Delta region of "Goshen" was able to prosper during the first years of the drought because of the flow of the Nile and the water retention of the delta area (as can still be seen today, as shown in the satellite photograph below). While the lack of rain did eventually affect the Nile River too, as written in the verses above, the LORD told Joseph to prepare for the hard years in the plenteous years.

"41:50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. 41:51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. 41:52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction [see Jacob's Blessing Of Ephraim And Manasseh].

41:53 And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. 41:54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 41:55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do.

41:56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. 41:57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands." (Genesis 41:50-57 KJV)

When Jacob heard that there was food for sale in Egypt, he sent ten of his sons there to buy food - unknown to him, the sons who sold their brother Joseph away to Egypt.

The Nile River

"42:1 Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? 42:2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.

42:3 And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. 42:4 But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him. 42:5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

42:6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. 42:7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye?

And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.

42:8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him. 42:9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come." (Genesis 42:1-9 KJV)

Joseph was able to recognize his brothers, while they didn't recognize him. After giving them a brief treatment of what they had done to him, Joseph revealed himself to them. They were terrified when they found out that it was the brother that they had brutally betrayed, but Joseph told them that it was the LORD's doing, "God did send me before you to preserve life."

"45:4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 45:5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 45:6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest." (Genesis 45:4-6 KJV)

The brothers then returned to Jacob in the land of Canaan, with the news that Joseph was not only alive, but he was the Prime Minister of Egypt. "And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die."

"45:25 And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, 45:26 And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not. 45:27 And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: 45:28 And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die." (Genesis 45:25-28 KJV)

Fact Finder: Was the Sinai part of Egypt, or was it part of Arabia?
See Paul's Geography Lesson


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This Day In History, November 14

565: Roman emperor Justinian died at age 81. The "Imperial Restoration" temporarily occurred during his reign, but it was too late; the "Roman" empire had already moved north, into Germany (see The Holy Roman Empire and Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Euro!).

1501: Arthur Tudor and Katherine of Aragon were married.

1533: Spanish "Conquistadors" under the leadership of Francisco Pizarro arrived in Cajamarca of the Incas.

1666: Samuel Pepys reported on the first blood transfusion (between dogs).

1792: Captain George Vancouver and his crew became the first Englishmen to enter San Francisco Bay.

1851: Moby Dick by Herman Melville was published.

1908: Albert Einstein published the quantum theory of light (see also Parabolic Prophecies).

1922: The BBC began daily radio broadcasts from Marconi House.

1940: During the Second World War, Coventry, England was severely damaged by German bombers in the "blitz." It was the worst single-day bombing of Britain of the war; over 1,000 were killed (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars; see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1951: French paratroopers captured Hoabinh, Vietnam, thereby involving France in the Vietnam civil war for most of the 1950s. The U.S. replaced France in that intervention for most of the 1960s and early 1970s. When the U.S. withdrew, the Vietnamese of the north defeated the Vietnamese of the south and made Vietnam into a single country again, as it had been before foreigners divided Vietnam into north and south.

1964: The U.S. Army entered the Vietnam civil war.

1969: 250,000 people marched in Washington to protest the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam civil war.

1980: Germany had its first papal visit in 200 years (see Emperors and Popes and The Holy Roman Empire).

1983: The first U.S. cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads arrived at Greenham Common airbase in England amid protests from British people who didn't want foreign weapons of mass destruction in Britain (Britain itself has a large nuclear arsenal of doomsday weapons; see also 'Weapons Of Mass Destruction' Found!).

1994: The first fare-paying passengers on the new rail service traveled through the Channel Tunnel linking England and France.





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