Joseph Study #2 (2020) (Click here for full reading)
Read Gen 37:19-36
19"Here comes that dreamer!" they said to each other. 20"Come now, let's kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we'll see what comes of his dreams."
21When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. "Let's not take his life," he said. 22"Don't shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don't lay a hand on him." Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe — the richly ornamented robe he was wearing — 24and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
25As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
26Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood." His brothers agreed.
28So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
29When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, "The boy isn't there! Where can I turn now?"
31Then they got Joseph's robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, "We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son's robe."
33He recognized it and said, "It is my son's robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces."
34Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said, "in mourning will I go down to the grave to my son." So his father wept for him.
36Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard. (NIV)
In this passage, we see how hatred can rise up in people and they will do things they would not ordinarily do. We sort of see what happens when a group think takes over. Reuben appears to be the only one to disagree with the plan, but Reuben is afraid to do what is right. This is a problem many of us face when doing right might bring harm to ourselves. We do something, but not enough. We end up worrying more about ourselves than others. Christ teaches us to have life, there will be times when we must die to self so that others might live. Reuben could not do that in this moment.
As for Joseph, we see the first glimpse of a Christ comparison. When Joseph is pulled from the cistern, he appears to make no defense of his situation. Peter reminds us of this attribute of Christ in 1 Peter 2:23 where he writes: “When they heaped abuse on Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats, but entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” This is also what Isaiah would later write about the Messiah in Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.” Joseph shared this trait with Christ before Christ came.
And then we see what our sin does to our Father. When the sons brought back Joseph’s coat and showed it to their father, he could not be consoled. The firstborn of his first love was gone. Jacob could not take this. And God weeps when we sin. He his hurt by this, but there is a plan in place to remove our sin. And Jacob did not know at the time there was a plan in place to remove his pain and grief.
Have you ever stayed silent when you knew you should speak up? Was it difficult to stay silent for fear of being attacked? This is something that I think all wrestle with at one time or another. When terrible things happen to you as did to Jacob on thinking he had lost his only son, do you think that God has a plan for this pain? It is hard to go there.
What do you think about this section of Scripture?
Blessings and Peace
I am finally getting around to doing this study and find it very interesting. I’m thinking about Reuben and the question comes to mind, “what would we have him do in this situation?” He stood against the crowd which seems the right thing to do. Could he have overpowered his brothers to rescue Joseph? The comparison between Joseph and Christ is a new thought to me. Scripture constantly amazes me! Thanks for the study.