He was born to the favorite wife of his father. However, he was not born until an undesired wife (also the sister of the favorite wife) had 6 sons and a daughter-and this woman's handmaid had 2 more sons by his father. It was okay that he was the 11th son (his mother's handmaid also had 2 sons by his father) because he was the favorite son.

He did nothing to endear himself to his older brothers. When he was 17, he informed his father of his older brothers' mistakes (Genesis 37:2). He dreamed 2 dreams in which he saw his brothers being subservient to him (Genesis 37:5-10). The dreams filled his older brothers with jealousy (Genesis 37:11)! The thoughts of his ruling them and their bowing to him filled the brothers with rage!

It was just too much to endure-the father's favoritism, Joseph's bad reports, and Joseph's dreams. When the father sent Joseph to check on his older brothers as they tended the flocks, the brothers saw him coming in the distance. The brothers plotted his death. They would kill him and make his dreams meaningless! When he arrived, they captured him, stripped him of his special clothing, and placed him in a dry hole. While the oldest brother was away (he secretly intended to rescue Joseph), the other brothers sold him to a caravan headed to Egypt.

How bad can it get? Already he had been captured by his brothers, stripped, imprisoned, and sold as a slave. Ahead of him were attempts at adultery, lies, imprisonment, and people forgetting him and his kindness-all when he did nothing wrong! It went from bad to worse!

When he was the favorite son living at home, all looked wonderful and promising. When he was captured, life turned completely around-everything kept getting worse!

Years later he would tell his older brothers, "... You meant it for evil against me, but God meant it for good ..." (Genesis 50:20). Always remember, what at the moment looks good may produce terrible events. God's blessings may involve suffering! Suffering always feels awful--even when God is at work!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 31 July 2011

 Link to next article

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell