‘Joseph is attacked by his brothers’
Passage: Genesis 37:12-36
Visual Aids (powerpoint)
How many brothers do you have? [Stand up if you have no brothers, 1 brother, 2 brothers, 3 brothers, more than 4 brothers]. Do you get on well with your brothers?
Joseph had 11 brothers and he did not get on particularly well with them. In fact, Joseph’s brothers hated him. Why? Well not only was he his father Jacob’s favourite, he also told tales on his older brothers to his dad. Then to make matters worse, he also had those two dreams that predicted that one day his brothers would bow down to him.
The anger and jealousy that Joseph’s brothers had towards him led them to do something terrible. One day Jacob sent Joseph to visit his brothers who were looking after their flocks. When they saw Joseph coming, they devised a plan to kill him.
“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “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.” (Genesis 37:19-20)
However, Reuben the eldest of the brothers wasn’t so sure about killing him, so he said to his brothers that instead they should just throw him into a pit, which is what they did. This was because Reuben secretly planned to come and rescue Joseph later when his brothers were not around.
Later in the day, some of the brothers were sitting down to eat a meal when they saw some Ishmaelite traders passing by on their way to Egypt. Judah saw this an opportunity to make some money and said that they should sell Joseph to them as a slave.
When Reuben returned to rescue Joseph, he was shocked to see Joseph was gone. After finding out what had happened, he agreed with his brothers to hide what had happened from their father by killing a goat and dipping Joseph’s fancy coat in the blood to make it look like he had been attacked. They then showed the coat to Jacob who believed their story.
While Jacob mourned the loss of his son, Joseph arrived in Egypt and was sold as a slave to Potiphar, who worked for Pharaoh as the captain of the guard.
Through all these events, what Joseph and his brothers did not realise, was that all of this was part of God’s plan. In the future Jacob’s family would need to be rescued, and Joseph going to Egypt was part of God’s rescue plan. It was also the way that God was going to make sure that the promise He made to Abraham of a great family including a son who would be the Saviour of the world would be kept.
God made sure that instead of being killed, Joseph was sold as a slave, and as the story continues we’ll see why this had to happen.