Who Joseph In The Bible

Who was Joseph in the Bible? According to the book of Genesis, Joseph was the son of Jacob and Rachel who sold his brothers into slavery. He ended up in Egypt where he ultimately saved his family from starvation. Joseph was a talented person. By working hard and putting his mind to something, he achieved great things.

Joseph is one of the most beloved and celebrated figures in the Bible. He was a counselor to his brothers, a peacemaker who exercised much wisdom and faith, and God blessed him for it. Take a look at the this story about Joe’s coat, dreams, brothers sold him into slavery, prison, Pharaoh’s dreams, and finally his ultimate rise to power as Pharaoh’s second-in-command.

Joseph is regarded as one of the most influential men in the Bible. He was a Hebrew, who lived in Egypt and had his own hand in an Egyptian famine, as well as being a slave, but managed to become Pharaoh’s second-in-command. What’s more, he foresaw the day of Israel’s captivity by Assyria as well as Moses’ leading them out of Egypt. Let’s take a closer look at this special son of Jacob.

When Joseph was born, the Book of Genesis gives this description: “When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” (Genesis 30:1). This was not said in bitterness but as a threat if she did not get what she wanted.

Who Joseph In The Bible

Joseph had a lot of things going his way in life at first. He was handsome. He was the first son born to Jacob through Rachel, and therefore, he was his father’s favorite son. He had great dreams that made him feel good about himself. But then one day his entire life changed. Can you imagine how it must have felt to know your brothers hated you so much that they would sell you out of their lives? He was forced to leave the comfortable life he had known, full of love from his parents, and go forth into the unknown. How frightening that must have been for a boy of 17. Yet, God had His hand on Joseph. God had a divine purpose for this young man. Joseph didn’t know why God had chosen this path for his life until the very end, yet he never seemed to waver. God was always in control. Joseph kept his eyes on God, and He used Joseph greatly. What an encouragement to us. Let God use you where you are. Let Him use you in the hard times, as well as the good times.

The story of Joseph spans many chapters, Genesis 37-50. We could actually do an entire study just on the life of Joseph, but because of time limitation, we will just focus on the key events in his life.

“Lord, thank you for the lessons you teach me through Joseph’s life. Encourage me through his life to seek you more intimately and to trust you for every situation that comes into my life. Keep me mindful that you are always in control.”

Who Joseph In The Bible

(8-2) Genesis 37:3. What Was the Coat of Many Colors?

There is some question as to what Joseph’s coat actually was. The Hebrew word denotes “a long coat with sleeves … i.e. an upper coat reaching to the wrists and ankles, such as noblemen and kings’ daughters wore” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:1:335; note also 2 Samuel 13:18, which says that the daughters of King David wore similar coats). The coat may have been of different colors, but its significance seems to have been far more than its brightness and beauty. One noted scholar suggested that it was “a tunic reaching to the palms of the hands and soles of the feet; the long tunic with sleeves worn by young men and maidens of the better class; in the case of Joseph, supposed by Bush … to have been the badge of the birthright which has been forfeited by Reuben and transferred to Joseph” (Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies, s.v. “colour,” p. 82).

If indeed this coat signaled that Joseph held the birthright, which may have been in question among the brothers because there were four firstborn sons in Jacob’s family, this fact would explain the intense hostility and jealousy the coat provoked among the other sons of Jacob. The following brothers could easily have thought that they should have had the birthright.

Reuben. He was the firstborn of all the sons. Although he had lost the right (see Reading 7-28), he may not have accepted that fact.

Simeon. Since he was the second son of Leah and next in line following Reuben, he could have assumed the birthright would come to him after Reuben lost his right to it.

Judah. He could have argued that not only Reuben had lost the right, but so had Simeon and Levi, through the massacre of the Shechemites (see Genesis 34). The disqualification of these sons would make him the rightful legal heir.

Dan. Because his mother, Bilhah, was considered Rachel’s property, he could argue that he was Rachel’s firstborn, not Joseph, and therefore should have received the birthright when Reuben lost it.

Gad. He was the firstborn son of Zilpah and therefore could easily have thought he should have taken the birthright after Reuben forfeited it.

Joseph’s dreams (see Genesis 37:5–11), which clearly signified future leadership, only added to the resentment among the brothers.

(8-3) Genesis 37:28

The price received for Joseph, twenty pieces of silver, is the same price specified later in the Mosaic law for a slave between the ages of five and twenty (see Leviticus 27:5). Typically, the price for a slave was thirty pieces of silver (see Exodus 21:32).

(8-4) Genesis 37:32

Mormon recorded in the Book of Mormon that when Jacob saw that a remnant of the “coat of many colours” (v. 32) had been preserved, he prophesied that so also would a remnant of Joseph’s seed be preserved (see Alma 46:24).

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