Yesterday’s post ended with Joseph telling his brothers and Jacob about the second dream he had. This dream was quite disturbing to his brothers and yet Jacob, after listening to the entire dream and “rebuking” Joseph… he kept these things in his mind. Here is the scripture – 11 And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind. So, Jacob, more or less, pondered them and kept thinking about them.
So the story goes that the brothers went off to feed the flock of sheep to one area and then ended up in another area. They seemed to be doing things “their way” while they were away from their father Jacob. A little rebellious and selfish in their way of doing things. Here is the scripture.
12 Then his brothers went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. 13 And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.”
So he said to him, “Here I am.”
14 Then he said to him, “Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks, and bring back word to me.” So he sent him out of the Valley of Hebron, and he went to Shechem. ….
18 Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. 19 Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! 20 Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams!”
21 But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, “Let us not kill him.” 22 And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him”—that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father.
23 So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. 24 Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it.
OK, what a mess Joseph has found himself in. He was just doing what his father had asked him to do, but was he a little haughty while looking for his brothers? He was wearing the flashy “coat of many colors” that his brothers hated. I am not absolutely certain but I believe the area he was traveling was all kinds of terrain. It has hills and valleys and rocks and craggy areas too, probably. I guess you would wear your favorite coat on this journey…? The pictures you see here are of the valley of Dothan (Bible Photos). The distance from Hebron to Shechem was about 50 miles. Shechem sits in a lush valley pass between two small mountains: Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. The distance from Shechem to Dothan was about 15 miles. So this was no easy journey for Joseph. It took him quite a while. We have no record of him riding a camel, donkey or horse so he may very well have been on foot. It just simply doesn’t say. So if it was on foot, a 65 mile trip was quite the trip for this 17 year old. Nonetheless, he travels to Shechem to find his brothers and finds out they have moved 15 miles on further North. He continues on and they see him in the distance and conspire to kill him then.
How many times have you found yourself on a long journey (life journey) and all of a sudden someone takes you and throws you down a well… (maybe not literally but figuratively), that is, you have been lied to, lied about, or cheated on or any number of other betrayals. It is a very disturbing and hurtful thing to realize this about someone you thought was a “friend” or it can even happen with family as it did with Joseph.
These brothers of Joseph not only betrayed him but they conspired to kill him! Most of us probably have never experienced that depth of betrayal before, however, it is all relative! Betrayal is betrayal. The worst was planned but God had other plans. And God is ALWAYS IN CONTROL whether we want to admit and recognize it or not. Let’s look at the next part of the scripture.
25 And they sat down to eat a meal. Then they lifted their eyes and looked, and there was a company of Ishmaelites, coming from Gilead with their camels, bearing spices, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry them down to Egypt. 26 So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come and 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 brothers listened. 28 Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
29 Then Reuben returned to the pit, and indeed Joseph was not in the pit; and he tore his clothes. 30 And he returned to his brothers and said, “The lad is no more; and I, where shall I go?”
31 So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32 Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, “We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son’s tunic or not?”
33 And he recognized it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. 35 And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, “For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.
36 Now the Midianites[a] had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard.
Not only have the brother’s thought about murder of their own flesh and blood, but they top it off with a lie to their father! Oh what a tangled web we weave! Poor Jacob. This old man that loved this young son so much had to go through all this mourning and heartbreak all because these selfish sons hated their younger brother and wanted him dead. Jacob mourned for a long, long time and could not be consoled!
Meanwhile, young Joseph is being sold into Potiphar’s house, in Egypt. Potiphar is an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. A very good place for him to land. The scripture says that the Lord was with Joseph and he was very successful. Let’s look at this scripture.
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. 2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. 5 So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. 6 Thus he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate.
As you can see, Joseph was very successful and very handsome. This created a new problem for this young man. However, we will look at that tomorrow. We will see the long, hard journey that Joseph must go through before he comes out on the other side victorious! There are lessons to be learned over and over in life, and Joseph is learning them at every turn!
Sometimes in life, just when things look their best, life can happen and cause everything to turn upside down and look like the end of the world – at least the end of your world. Just remember, if the Lord is with you, no matter how dim and dark things seem to get, the outcome must be left up to the Lord. We must have faith and trust that God’s plan for our lives is the absolute best that it could be. God loves you and wants you to know you are His beloved!
The Song – Always – Charles Billingsley