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Let thy words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2

The Bible in fewer words

Episode 18: Joseph, the favorite son

(Genesis 35-37)

God renames Jacob (again)

35 1 God said to Jacob,

Go to Bethel and make an altar to the God who appeared to you when you were fleeing from Esau.

2 Jacob said to his household,

Put away all your strange gods, clean up, and change your clothes.

3 We're going to Bethel to build an altar to God.

4 So everyone gave Jacob all their strange gods and earrings. Jacob hid them under the oak tree near Shechem.

5 As they traveled toward Bethel, the terror of God was on the surrounding cities, so no one bothered them as they passed by.

9 God appeared to Jacob again and blessed him, saying,

10 Your name is Jacob, but it won't be Jacob anymore. Israel will be your name from now on.

11 I am God almighty. Be fruitful and multiply.

A nation, a company of nations, and kings will come out of your loins.

12 The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I'll give to you and your seed.

Rachel dies

16 As they journeyed from Bethel, Rachel entered hard labor.

17 The midwife said to her, "Don't be afraid. You will have a son."

18 As she died, Rachel named her son, Benjamin.

20 Jacob set a pillar on Rachel's grave. It's still there today.

Reuben has sex with his father's concubine

22 Jacob's oldest son, Reuben, had sex with his father's concubine, Bilhah. And Jacob heard about it.

Isaac dies

28-29 Isaac gave up the ghost at the age of 180.

He was buried by his sons Esau and Jacob.

The generations of Esau

36 8-9 Esau is Edom. He is the father of the Edomites.

Jacob loved Joseph more than his other children

37 3 Jacob loved Joseph more than his other children. He made him a multi-colored coat.

4 So the other kids in the family hated Joseph.

Joseph's first dream

5 Joseph had a dream and told it to his brothers, saying,

7 We were binding sheaves in the field, and my sheaf stood up, and your sheaves bowed down to worship me.

8 Joseph's brothers responded, "So you are going to reign over us?"

And they hated him even more for it.

Joseph's second dream

9 Joseph had another dream, and told it to his brothers, saying,

I had another dream where the sun, moon, and eleven stars worshipped me.

10 Joseph also told it to his father Jacob, who said,

Am I, your mother, and your brothers supposed to worship you?

Joseph's dreams

11 Joseph's brothers envied him, but Jacob thought the dream might come true.

Joseph's brothers get rid of Joseph

12 One day, Joseph's brothers went to Shechem to feed the flocks. 13 Jacob told Joseph to go see what his brothers were doing. 18-20 When Joseph's brothers saw him coming, they conspired to kill him, saying to one another,

Let's kill Joseph and throw his body in a pit. We'll say he was eaten by an evil beast.

Then we'll see what becomes of his dreams!

21-22 But Reuben had another idea. He said, "Let's not kill him. Let's just throw him in a pit."

23 So they stripped Joseph of his fancy coat and threw him into a pit.

25-28 Later, some Midianites (or Ishmaelites, or both) passed by. They sold Joseph to them for twenty pieces of silver. Then brought Joseph to Egypt.

Joseph Sold by His Brothers, Antonio del Castillo y Saavedra, ca. 1655-1660

31-32 The brothers killed a goat, put its blood on Joseph's multi-colored coat, brought the coat to their father, and said to him, "Look what we found. We don't know if it's Joseph's coat."

33 Jacob recognized the coat, and said,

It's my son's coat. An evil beast ate him. There is no doubt that Joseph was torn into pieces.

Joseph's Bloody Coat Brought to Jacob by Diego Velazquez, 1630

34 And Jacob tore his clothes and put sackcloth upon his loins.

36 The Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of the Pharaoh.

Notes

Don't be afraid. You will have a son. (35:17)
In the Bible, a woman is expected to die happily as long as she has a son.
Isaac died at the age of 180. (35:28)
Remember back in chapter 27, when Rebekah and Jacob conspire to rob Esau of the blessing of his dying father? Yeah, well, that was when Isaac was 100 years old - 80 years before he finally dies here in chapter 35.
Esau the father of the Edomites (37:8-9)

The Bible always finds a way to demonize entire groups of people. Here the Edomites (a group of people that David slaughtered) are said to be the descendants of Esau, whom God hates (Mal 1:3, Rom 9:13).

Jacob loved Joseph more than his other children (37:3)
See Strange Flesh: There's something about Joseph for the use of the stories about Joseph in Genesis 37-41.
The Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar (37:36)
Who brought Joseph into Egypt?