A. Esau's Descendants, Gen. 36.
B. Joseph the Dreamer Sold into Slavery, Gen. 37.
37:2–4 Joseph the Favorite who reports bad behavior
37:5–11 Joseph Tells his Dreams
37:12–24 His Brothers Get Even
37:18–20 The Brothers Conspire to Kill Joseph
37:21-24 Joseph not killed but sold to a traveling merchant band
37:25–36 Reuben Frustrated, Jacob Deceived
37:25–27 Judah's advice
37:29–31 Reuben frustrated and terrified
37:32–35 Jacob deceived into believing Joseph killed by animal
ApplicationsJoseph is one of very few characters in the OT about whom a lengthy story is told, who have no sin or failure of faith attributed to him. Let's begin looking for ways in which Joseph's experiences and his character foreshadow Christ.
- (1) What role do you think Jacob's favoritism to Joseph plays in this story? God used it to send Joseph to Egypt. But that God uses something bad to eventually accomplish his purpose never justifies the bad act itself. All favoritism is bad, and especially within families. Jacob should have known better.
- (2) What role does Joseph's reporting mission, his privileged attire, and his dreams play? Perhaps Joseph had to report to Jacob what he saw; perhaps it was his job that Jacob required of him. And the special garment was not his own idea. But the whole situation was an incitement to his brothers, one which Jacob should have foreseen.
- (3) What role does Reuben's futile attempt to rescure Joseph play? How does this anticipate the role Peter played on the night of Jesus' betrayal. How do you view Reuben as a result of reading this episode? What do you think he learned from this half-success, half-failed attempt to rescue Joseph?
- (4) What lesson do you draw personally from any of the experiences of these characters? Reuben was not completely honest with his younger brothers. He should have rebuked them at the start and not tried to trick them and sneak Joseph away. Honesty in such situations requires courage and faith, which all too often I lack.