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Sunday, September 23 2018

A Bible Journey, 37: Israel's Favorite Son

"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"

Jacob's return, as Israel (see A Bible Journey, 32: Thy Name Shall Be Called No More Jacob, But Israel) to the land of Canaan (see A Bible Journey, 35: Bethel's Stairway Altar) punctuated a sojourn that had been begun by Abraham when he arrived from Iraq (see A Bible Journey, 12: The Haran Connection).


"37:1 And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan." (Genesis 37:1 KJV)

The other sons of both Abraham (see A Bible Journey, 17: A Father Of Many Nations) and Isaac (see A Bible Journey, 36: The Kingdoms of Esau) had received their territories in, or from, their own lifetimes (see Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates).

For Abraham, Isaac and Jacob / Israel however, they understood that they would only arrive home when the Messiah had established the Kingdom of God on Earth, "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."

"11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10 KJV)

Jacob was born in the land of Canaan (see Hometowns: Hebron). As a young man, he fled to Syria, where he remained for a little over twenty years. Jacob's return to the land of Canaan was not yet the final stop of Jacob's physical life however. Jacob would yet move to Egypt, where he remained until the day of his death (see also Jacob's Mummy).

The long sojourn in Egypt was facilitated by one of Jacob's sons, Joseph, who was taken to Egypt, first, after being sold by his jealous brothers. Their spiteful envy was the result of more blatant favoritism, not because of any special qualities or abilities, but simply because "Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age."

This naturally caused the alienation of Joseph from Jacob's other sons, and Joseph seemed to have little brotherly behavior toward them. While many people today fear that "big brother is watching," their fear was that little brother was watching: "Joseph brought unto his father their evil report" ("he brought a bad report about them to their father" CJB).

Coat Of Many Colours

"37:2 These are the generations of Jacob.

Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; 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 37:2-4 KJV)

Their tolerance for Joseph ran out when Joseph revealed his dream that his brothers would one day bow before him. The dream was true, and would one day happen, but for his brothers it was the final straw.

"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)

The abduction began when Jacob sent Joseph after his brothers to gather information about how they were doing and return with a report. While it was reasonable to stay in communication and know how everyone was doing, the other sons of Jacob, from experience, by then viewed Joseph as more of a "snitch" than a messenger. "And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him."

"37:12 And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem. 37:13 And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them.

And he said to him, Here am I.

37:14 And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again.

So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 37:15 And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou?

37:16 And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.

37:17 And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan.

And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.

37:18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him." (Genesis 37:12-18 KJV)

Joseph's dream prophecy was also a deep resentment for them, "Behold, this dreamer cometh." The oldest brother, Reuben, although likely having as much resentment, no longer had the adolescent personality that was about to turn jealousy into murder (whether Reuben realized it or not, they were of the same mind that Cain was just before he murdered his brother Abel).

Joseph's Coat

"37:19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. 37:20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

37:21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. 37:22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again." (Genesis 37:19-22 KJV)

Joseph was thrown into a pit and held there while his brothers decided what to do with him. When Midianite (the Midianites originated from Midian, a son of Abraham's later wife Keturah) merchantmen happened to pass by, "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" (the "Ishmeelites" were descendants of Isaac's brother Ishmael).

"37:23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript 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 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." (Genesis 37:23-28 KJV)

Once again, Jacob's family was torn apart by deception. They would all be reunited eventually, but for then "Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days."

"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?

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." (Genesis 37:29-35 KJV)

So it was that Joseph entered Egypt where he would rise from a dungeon prisoner to the Prime Minister of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh.

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

Fact Finder: Did Abraham know about the Israelite Exodus from Egypt, centuries before it happened, before any Israelites even existed?
See Genesis 15: The Exodus Prophecy


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This Day In History

This Day In History, September 23

63 BC: Gaius Octavius, commonly known today as Octavian, was born. A grand-nephew of Julius Caesar (see The Roman Emperors: Julius Caesar), Octavian, with the official name Caesar Augustus, was the first imperial emperor of the Roman empire (see The Roman Emperors: Augustus). He reigned from 31 B.C. to 14 A.D., which covered the birth and early life of Jesus Christ. Augustus is mentioned in the Bible (see Does Rome Have Christ's Birth Certificate?).


1122: The Concordat of Worms ("Worms" is the English rendering of the name of the German city Vorms) was signed between Roman Catholic Pope Callistus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V (a German king). The agreement ended the Investiture Controversy - a centuries-long (and not-yet-done) power struggle between the German emperor and Catholic pope (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation and Emperors and Popes).

1338: The Battle of Arnemuiden became the first naval battle of the Hundred Years' War and the first naval battle using artillery. The English ship Christofer was armed with three cannons.

1459: The Battle of Blore Heath, the first major battle of the English Wars of the Roses.

1553: The Sadians became the rulers of Morocco in opposition to the Ottomans (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).

1578: English explorer Sir Humphrey Gilbert sailed from Plymouth, England, in search of the Northwest Passage. The passage was not actually found until 3 centuries later. Sir Humphrey Gilbert did however make a greater discovery, as shown below.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert

1723: The site of present-day Toronto was purchased from the Mississauga Indians.


1817: Britain and Spain signed a treaty to end the slave trade (see also When An Israelite Made Slaves Of The Egyptians).

1846: The 8th planet from the sun was discovered by astronomers at Berlin University. A British astronomer had earlier calculated the presence of the planet, but it was not searched for at Cambridge until after the German discovery. We know the planet today by the pagan name Neptune.

1905: Norway and Sweden signed the Karlstad treaty, thereby ending their national political union.

1913: Roland Garros of France became the first to fly in an airplane across the Mediterranean Sea (see also Who Was The First To Fly?).

1939: The famous Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud died at age 83 (see also The First Narcissist: Satan's Psychiatric Disorder).

1941: During the Second World War (1939-1945; see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars), the first Nazi gas chamber experiments were conducted at the Auschwitz concentration camp (the gas chamber was not a Nazi invention; the U.S. began using it as a means of execution in 1924).

1972: Martial law was declared in the Philippines by Ferdinand Marcos.

1973: Juan Peron was re-elected as President of Argentina (he was overthrown in 1955). His wife, Evita, became the Vice President.

2004: Hurricane Jeanne killed over 1,000 people in Haiti (see also The Origin Of Hurricanes, Cyclones and Typhoons).




Copyright © Wayne Blank