OceanSide church of Christ

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Genesis 37

Victor M. Eskew


I.           The Title of Genesis 37


A.   From Loved Son to Lowly Slave

B.    Joseph’s Road to Egypt

C.   Providence Turns against Joseph

D.   The End of Wrath:  Sorrow

E.    The Innocent Suffer

F.     Joseph Gets A Bad Rap


II.         The Key Verse of Genesis 37:  Genesis 37:19-20


And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.  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.


Why this verse?  This verse reveals the anger that Joseph’s brothers had toward him, especially because of his dreams.  It also shows the end of anger:  death and deception.  (NOTE:  Fortunately, this anger was ultimately tempered).


III.       The Outline of Genesis 37


i.               Joseph’s Troubles at Home (Gen. 37:1-11)

ii.              Joseph Traded to the Ishmaelites (Gen. 37:12-36).


IV.        The Lessons of Genesis 37


A.   Genesis 37:1 sets forth a clear distinction between the land of Esau, Edom, and the land in which Jacob dwelled, Canaan.


And Jacob dwet in the land wherein his father was a stranger in the land of Canaan.


B.    Many see Joseph’s actions of Genesis 37:2 as involving tattling.  Where these actions by Joseph wrong?


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 (Dan and Naphtali) and with the sons of Zilpah (Gad and Ashur), his father’s wives:  and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.


C.   By 17, Joseph knew what it was to work and share the burdens of the household (Gen. 37:2).


…Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren…


D.   Parental favoritism can cause conflict within the home (Gen. 37:3-4).


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 colors.  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.


E.    Joseph’s brethren had what some refer to as “misplaced anger.”  Their father was the one who played favorites, but Joseph was the one they hated (Gen. 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.


F.     Joseph dreamed two dreams (Gen. 37:6-10).  The results of his telling the dreams were two-fold:  1) …and they hated him yet the more (Gen. 37:5), and 2) …his brothers envied him (Gen. 37:11).  Question:  Should Joseph have revealed these dreams to his family?


And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told his brethren:  and they hated him yet the more.


1.     These dreams came from God.

2.     Had Joseph not revealed the dreams, his brothers would not have recognized their fulfillment at a later date.


G.   Shepherding often took the men away from the household (Gen. 37:12).


And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem.


H.   Joseph was an obedient son to his father (Gen. 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.


I.     Man always has a problem asking for directions (Gen. 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?


J.    Sometimes the things that we search for we may wish we had never found (Gen. 37:17).


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






K.   The Bible says that hating your brother is comparable to murder (I John 3:15).  Why?  Hate can lead to murder (Gen. 37:18).


And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him…Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer:  and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.


L.    Name-calling is often involved in envy and hatred (Gen. 37:19).


And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.


M.  Who can stand before envy (Gen. 37:20; See Prov. 27:4).


Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?...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.


N.   One sin often leads to another sin that leads to another sin:  hatred, envy, evil speaking, name-calling, plotting evil, murder, and deceit.


O.   Responsibility often makes one more rational in his decision-making abilities (Gen. 37:21-22).


And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, Let us not kill him.  And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilder-ness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.


1.     Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn (Gen. 29:32).

2.     The firstborn was responsible for caring for the younger when the siblings were away from their parents.


P.    Difficult and trying experiences can often happen at the hands of our own family members (Gen. 37:23-24).


And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into a pit:  and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.


1.     In this text, we do not read of Joseph’s reaction.

2.     The brothers reveal his reaction later in the book of Genesis (Gen. 42:21).


And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.



Q.   It is interesting that committing “lesser” sins can bring us contentment (Gen. 37:26-27).


And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?  Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh.  And his brethren were content.


R.    Men often value human life very cheaply (Gen. 37:28).


Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver:  and they brought Jospeh into Egypt.


1.     Judas betrayed the Lord for 30 pieces of silver (Matt. 26:14-16).

2.     Men and women will kill their babies for the price of a low-cost abortion (first trimester costs between $350 and $550).


S.    The best of intentions cannot always stop evil from progressing (Gen. 37:29-30).


And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.  And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?


T.    Evil deeds are often covered up through the deception of others (Gen. 37:32).


And they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father; and said, This we have found:  know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.


1.     David (II Sam. 11:6-16)

2.     Gehazi (II King 5:21-27)


U.   False information can produce false beliefs (Gen. 37:33-34).


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.  And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.


1.     The coat covered in blood convinced Jacob that his son was dead.

2.     In reality, Joseph was a live in Egypt.

3.     NOTE: 

a.     The evidence produced negative emotions.  Some people can believe false evidence that can produce positive emotions that are wrong also.  This often happens in the realm of salvation.

b.    Scripture pulled from its context can be used as “false evidence.”

1)     Satan used Scripture in his temptation of Jesus (Matt. 4:5-6).

2)     Wrong uses of Scripture:

a)     John 3:16 for all one needs to do to be saved.

b)     Matthew 18:20 for permission to worship away from the local congregation.


V.    Jacob was the third innocent victim.  He refused to be comforted.  Some hurts hardly ever heal (Gen. 37:35).


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


W.  When Jacob said:  For I will do down into the grave unto my son mourning, was he merely speaking of his death, or, did he anticipate going to his son in the hereafter? (See II Sam. 12:23).


But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast?  Can I bring him back again?  I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.


X.    God providence can turn bad experiences in a positive direction without our knowledge of it (Gen. 37:36).


And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard.