Joseph and his Brothers

Genesis 37:1-24

The narrative focus of the Torah shifts from Jacob to his sons, and to Joseph in particular. We are told that at age 17, he serves as a shepherd with his brothers, and grows up with the children of the maidservants. Joseph is prone to carrying harsh tales of his brothers’ antics to their father.

 

Joseph, having been born late in Jacob’s life, is his father’s favorite, and Jacob makes him a coat of many colors. His brothers, understanding Joseph’s special status, grow to hate him.

 

Joseph is prone to dreams, as well. He tells his brothers of two dreams. In the first, the brothers’ sheaves all rise and bow to Joseph’s, and in the second, the sun, moon and eleven stars all bow before him. The brothers ask, incredulous, whether Joseph really believes they will serve him, and Jacob, too, scorns his dreams.

 

One day, Jacob sends Joseph to seek his brothers who are tending sheep. When he finally encounters them, having been directed by a stranger on the road, they fall upon him, take his special coat and throw him in a pit. Reuben, however, makes a secret plan to rescue Joseph and bring him back to their father.

 

Virtual Classroom Discussion

If the Torah does not include superfluous details, why do you think the story of the stranger redirecting Joseph towards his brothers is included in the Torah?

Comments ( 11 )

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  • Shlomenu muendo

    maybe the stranger was a saintly canaanite convert to Avrahamic faith, whose name was something Yaakov which if included in the Tanach would divert our faith or maybe it was a canaanite name like Baal,and so had not to be in the Torah lest we reading it would come to think of actual Baal as a helper.

  • Shlomenu Muendo

    The stranger was maybe a canaanite convert to Yaakov's faith having abandoned idolatry but his personal name a one that if included in the Tanach would change its meaning,maybe he was called Yaakov which if written would divert our faith,or maybe he was called Azazel which if included would think of Satan as a good person

  • Herman Arentsen

    For every wandering soul there might be a man to redirect him/her. Joseph probably met “the Angel”. It is often so in life that first you think you are lost and then G’d is leading into the right direction. This happened to prevent Joseph walking back and avoiding an unpleasant meeting with his brothers.It pleads for Joseph that he didn ‘t take an (unvalid) excuse but was loyal to his father.

  • DannyLee ben Israel

    There is no superfluous or redundant statements in Torah (words, letters, jots, or tittles). EVERYTHING written has meaning, to the deepest sense. The main purpose of Torah and Tanakh is to reveal Elohim in all His glory to His people. In these same Scriptures, we find YHVH's personal testimony as to Himself AND His nature. Whether or not "the certain man" in this portion is the Messiah, we clearly see a personal, hands-on revealing of His will to Yosef, and an extension to us.

  • DannyLee ben Israel

    Chapter 37 is laced with the "Aleph/Tav" symbol. Everything from clothing to flocks to people have the symbol associated with them. However, as with other places in Scripture, the symbol sometimes stands "in place of" the English word/s in the text. When I see this, it makes me sit up and take notice. For, this adds very special meaning, even to actually being a person. Such in the case with 37: 12.
    *
    The Israel Bible says, "And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem". The words, "their father's", is NOT in the Hebrew text. This text actually says, "And his brethren went to feed (Aleph/Tav) flock in Shechem".
    *
    This actually makes me jump with joy in my spirit. This placement puts into perspective Gen. 1: 1 where the word/letter meanings say, "I will build a house for my Son". I brings into perspective the promise give to Avraham when YHVH said, "I will make you a father of nations", and "your seed will be as the stars…" Jacob was a shepherd. His sons after him were shepherds, even to Yosef being a "shepherd of shepherds". The "stand alone" placement of the symbol here clearly and succinctly describes the "mixed multitude" flock of the faithful children (seed) of Avraham/Ya'acov that will inhabit the future Promised Land from Nile to Euphrates, even to the whole world. This IS NOT Ya'acov's flock. It's Aleph/Tav's flock.

    • DannyLee ben Israel

      Among all the instances where the "Aleph/Tav" symbol stands alone, there is this verse from the prophet Zachariah in 12: 10. The Israel Bible says, " And I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Yerushalayim the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through; and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his first-born".
      *
      Specifically in regard to the phrase, "they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through…", the English version, and every other version I read, skews the true message. The Hebrew actually renders this phrase, "they shall look unto (Aleph/Tav) they have thrust through (pierced)". The words, "unto Me because" and the subsequent "him" IS NOT in the Hebrew. This clearly and succinctly identifies the symbol in this case to be the Person of Messiah, whose name is Yeshua ben Yosef of Nazereth, the Salvation of His people. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear.

  • DannyLee ben Israel

    The placement of the "Aleph/Tav" symbols in 37: 2 are interestingly curious. It is natural to find the symbol placed in conjunction with Joseph, his brothers, and the wives of Ya'acov mentioned. However, the symbol is also placed in conjunction with the brother's "evil report" about Yosef. How could our loving Elohim associate Himself with, or otherwise allow evil to come upon His children? The report from his brothers certainly was evil, even to the evil act AND lie to cover it up. However, it was necessary to affect the future Salvation of his people.
    *
    Just as Yosef (a foreshadow of Messiah) was to be a future salvation to his people, along with many Egyptians, there is a future judgment to come upon all men (Jew and gentile alike). The life of Joseph very curiously parallels (mirrors) the life and death of Messiah Yeshua.

  • DannyLee ben Israel

    Great comment. I will speak of the "Aleph/Tav" symbol. However, I'll add a bit to your comment here, where the symbol IS NOT. The account says, "a certain man". Moshe doesn't say just "a man". He says "a certain (special or specific) man". I believe the description of events in the text indicates this "certain man" was not one of human kind. He was able to get close enough to the brothers without being detected. Only a divine being could get that close.
    *
    Some say the man in this verse is the Messiah. Of course, it is possible they could be right. Without the symbol in place, I think it unlikely this man was the person of Messiah. However, I think it more likely he was one of the angels–a guardian angel, maybe?

  • SueJean Heinz

    We have been taught that the mysterious Stranger is a clear case of "Divine Intervention". If Yoseph wasn't able to find his brothers in their new location near Dothan, the rest of Elohim's plan to bring him to Mitzraim to make a way for Ya'acov's family to survive the famine would have been in peril.
    *
    When we combine this thought with Ya'acov's instruction to Yoseph to seek his brothers in the "valley of Hebron", when Hebron is clearly a mountain, we can see that there's a lot more going on here than is given to us in the "plain text" level.
    Baruch Hashem.

    • Doreen Poole

      Suejean I agree with your comment. This had to happen for the tribes to be safe during the famine and the rest of the story all had to be. HaShem is in control even during our hardships. His plan will never change, it will come to pass.

    • Angela B

      I think so too, and probably Dothan was near a trade route than Hebron where the brothers were originally feeding the sheep.

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