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Joseph Sold Into Slavery

Scripture Passage: 
Genesis 37:1-36

INTRODUCTION:  Joseph’s story takes up the remainder of the book of Genesis and, as such, is one of the more detailed lives in the Bible.  The story is of one who does right and yet seems to be hurt all the more for it.  Yet, in the end, God exalts His beloved one and he stands as second in all the land of Egypt and is the instrument for the deliverance of the people of God.  The practical message of his life is to do right and God will take care of the rest.  But, for now and for several chapters to come, the outlook looks gloomy.  We will have to wait to see the blessings of his righteous life.

  1. THE BELOVED SON (Genesis 37:1-4)
    1. His Birth (Genesis 30:22-24)
    2. His Boldness (Genesis 37:1-2)
      1. The family of Jacob dwells in Canaan (Genesis 37:1).
        1. In the land wherein his father was a stranger
        2. The last known place of Jacob’s dwelling is Mamre which is Hebron (Genesis 35:27; Genesis 37:14).
      2. The lad’s labor with his brethren (Genesis 37:2)
        1. Joseph is seventeen years old and is called a lad.
        2. Ishmael was at least fourteen years old when he was called a lad (Genesis 16:16; Genesis 21:5; Genesis 21:12).
        3. A lad was old and big enough to carry a grown child (2 Kings 4:18-20).
        4. This could give light on the age of the boy at the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:8-13).
      3. Joseph informs Jacob of his brethren’s evil report (Genesis 37:2).
    3. His Favor (Genesis 37:3)
      1. The elevated love for Joseph – ”more than all his children”
      2. The reason for the elevated love – “because he was the son of his old age”
      3. The demonstration of his elevated love – “he made him a coat of many colours”
    4. His Rejection (Genesis 37:4)
      1. The reason for his rejection – “his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren”
    5. The effects of the brethren’s jealousy
      1. They hated him.
      2. They could not speak peaceably unto him.
  2. THE BOASTFUL DREAMER (Genesis 37:5-11)
    1. The Dream of the Sheaves (Genesis 37:5-8)
      1. Joseph tells the dream (Genesis 37:5-8).
        1. Joseph and his brothers were binding sheaves in the field.
        2. Joseph’s sheaf arose and stood upright.
        3. The sheaves of the brothers stood round about Joseph’s sheaf and made obeisance to his.
        4. Note:  In this case a sheaf is a bundle of cut stalks of grain.
      2. Joseph’s brothers hate him more (Genesis 37:5, 8).
    2. The Dream of the Sun, Moon and Stars (Genesis 37:9-11)
      1. The dream (Genesis 37:9)
        1. Joseph dreams yet another dream.
        2. The sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to Joseph.
      2. The reaction of Jacob (Genesis 37:10-11)
        1. He rebukes Joseph for the dream (Genesis 37:10).
        2. He questions Joseph concerning the dream (Genesis 37:10).
        3. He observed the words of Joseph (Genesis 37:11).
      3. The interpretation of the dream (Genesis 37:10)
        1. Understood by Jacob (Genesis 37:10)
        2. The sun – Jacob
        3. The moon – Rachel (This is interesting especially considering that Rachel died in Genesis 35:18-19.)
        4. The eleven stars – Joseph’s brethren
  3. THE OBEDIENT MESSENGER (Genesis 37:12-17)
    1. Sent to Shechem (Genesis 37:12-14)
      1. The brethren went to feed the flock in Shechem (Genesis 37:12).
      2. Jacob asks Joseph to go check on his brethren and the flocks (Genesis 37:13-14).
      3. Joseph went out of the vale of Hebron and came to Shechem (Genesis 37:14).
    2. Continued to Dothan (Genesis 37:15-17)
      1. Joseph was found by a certain man wandering in the field (Genesis 37:15).
      2. The man asked Joseph what he was seeking (Genesis 37:15).
      3. Joseph asked of the location of his brethren (Genesis 37:16).
      4. The man told Joseph that his brethren had moved into Dothan (Genesis 37:17).
      5. Joseph went to Dothan and found his brethren (Genesis 37:17).
  4. THE HATED BROTHER (Genesis 37:18-24)
    1. The Conspiracy of the Brothers (Genesis 37:18-20)
      1. The timing of their conspiracy (Genesis 37:18)
        1. The brethren saw Joseph afar off.
        2. Before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
      2. The cooperation of their conspiracy (Genesis 37:19)
        1. Their unity – “they said one to another”
        2. Their mockery – “Behold, this dreamer cometh”
      3. The plans for Joseph’s demise (Genesis 37:20)
        1. Let us slay him.
        2. We will cast him into some pit.
      4. The cover up for their conspiracy (Genesis 37:20)
        1. We will say some evil beast hath devoured him.
        2. This cover up worked without them saying a word (Genesis 37:31-33).
    2. The Stalling of Reuben (Genesis 37:21-22)
      1. Reuben spares Joseph’s life (Genesis 37:21).
      2. Reuben’s plan for Joseph (Genesis 37:22).
        1. The appearance of his plan
          1. Cast him into a pit.
          2. Leave him for dead.
        2. The reality of his plan
          1. Reuben would return later to get Joseph out of the pit.
          2. Reuben would safely deliver Joseph into the hands of his father.
    3. Joseph Cast into a Pit (Genesis 37:23-24)
      1. When Joseph came unto his brethren, they stript him of his coat (Genesis 37:23).
      2. Joseph’s brethren cast him into a pit with no water (Genesis 37:24).
  5. THE BARTERED SLAVE (Genesis 37:25-36)
    1. Joseph Sold to the Ishmeelites (Genesis 37:25-28)
      1. The passing of the Ishmeelites (Genesis 37:25)
        1. They passed at the time the brothers sat down to eat a meal.
        2. They were coming from Gilead and were taking materials to Egypt.
      2. The plan offered by Judah (Genesis 37:26-27)
        1. Judah shows concern for slaying Joseph (Genesis 37:26).
        2. Judah instructs his brethren to sell Joseph to the Ishmeelites (Genesis 37:27).
        3. The brethren were content with Judah’s plan (Genesis 37:27).
      3. The sale of Joseph (Genesis 37:28)
        1. A second group of people now pass.
          1. These people are called Midianite merchantmen in one place and Ishmeelites in another place.
          2. In Judges 8, Gideon had been fighting against the Midianites, yet when he divided up the spoil he said they had received some golden earrings from certain Midianites who were Ishmaelites (Judges 8:24).
        2. Joseph was lifted out of the pit.
        3. Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver.
          1. The price for a slave between 5 and 20 years old (Leviticus 27:5)
          2. This is only five pieces of silver more than what Hosea purchased a harlot for (Hosea 3:1-2).
          3. This is ten pieces of silver less than what Christ was sold for (Matthew 26:15)
    2. Reuben Disappointed in His Purpose (Genesis 37:29-30)
      1. He returns to the pit to find Joseph missing (Genesis 37:29).
      2. He rent his clothes (Genesis 37:29).
      3. He returns to his brothers in fear (Genesis 37:30).
    3. Jacob Deceived by Goat’s Blood (Genesis 37:31-35)
      1. The deception of Joseph’s brothers (Genesis 37:31-32)
        1. Deceptive evidence presented (Genesis 37:31)
          1. They killed a kid of the goats.
          2. They dipped Joseph’s coat in the blood of the animal.
        2. Deceptive story told (Genesis 37:32)
          1. They pretend to have found the coat.
          2. They pretend they do not know that it is Joseph’s coat.
      2. The reaction of Jacob (Genesis 37:33-35)
        1. He assumes the worst (Genesis 37:33).
        2. He mourns for Joseph many days (Genesis 37:34).
        3. He refused to be comforted (Genesis 37:35).
    4. Joseph Sold to Potiphar (Genesis 37:36)

CONCLUSION:  This outline tells the basic story.  However, the lesson of Joseph contains much more than the bare story.  Joseph may be the best type of Christ in the entire Bible.  Point after point of his life fits into story of Jesus Christ.

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 24:34

So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.