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Gen 37:1-28

BACKGROUND: Joseph had been born in a family that consisted of ’your children, my children and our children’. His father had four wives. His real mother had died in childbirth, when Joseph was under 10 years of age. Joseph had only one whole brother – Benjamin – who was much younger than he.

Note that pigments were expensive in those days. Joseph wore his fine robe also in working days, so that his brothers had to see it all the time (23). Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah were Joseph’s stepmothers.

- Why do you think Joseph told his father about the brothers’ doings?
- When or in which situation do you think one should tell about his/her siblings doings to their parents? (verse 2)
- Think about Jacob’s motives: why did he give such a fine robe only to Joseph and not to all of his sons?
- Do you think it is possible to love all one’s children equally or at least not to show it, if you are favoring one child in your heart over the others? (4)
- Think silently in your minds about your own family: why does hatred and quarrel between family members arise?
Joseph would have to go through a tough youth. He would not have the same kind of Bible for his use as we do. That is why God spoke to him in his dream.

- Why did God want to give the young Joseph especially that kind of dreams?
- Why didn’t Joseph keep his dreams to himself but instead told them to his family?
- What does it tell us about Joseph that he didn’t try to interpret his dreams himself?
- How can we know, if a dream we have dreamt, has a special message?
Look at the map the distances between Hebron – Shechem and Shechem – Dothan.

- Count how many days Joseph’s journey would take.
- How did Jacob dare to send his 17-year old boy alone to such a journey?
- What does this part reveal us about Joseph’s character?

The brothers recognized Joseph by his colorful robe already from far away.

- How is it possible that the brothers didn’t think or care about the pain they would inevitably cause to their old father?
- What do you think: what should the eldest brother Reuben have done or said in that situation?

The brothers ate with a good appetite the meal Joseph had brought with him while Joseph himself was sitting at the bottom of a deep, dark and cold cistern. Apparently Reuben had gone to check that the passing caravan would not steal their sheep. The brothers still remembered even after 20 years the pain of Joseph’s soul that he openly showed in this situation. (42:21*)

- What was the idea behind stripping him of his robe (23)?
- What does is tell about the brothers that they were able to eat their meal while at the same time their little brother was crying out for help at the bottom of a cistern?
- What made Judah suggest such a horrible destiny for his own brother? (26-27)
- What kind of thoughts were probably going around in Joseph’s mind when he saw his brothers bargaining with the Midianite merchants?
- In which way did this 17 years old young man perhaps show ‘his soul’s pain’ to his big brothers?

Summarizing questions

- Compare the injustice that has been done to you by your family and relatives with the injustice that was done to Joseph.
- Why does God let such things happen to His child?
- In how many cases in this chapter Joseph is Jesus’ prefigure?

IN CONCLUSION: Also Jesus was the Father’s beloved Son whom the other sons did not accept (Joh 1). Also he wore the robe of righteousness given by his Father that his brothers stripped of him. Also he was caught and sold to Gentiles. (Phil 2) He took the nature of a servant.

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