Genesis 37

* Joseph is loved of Jacob, but hated by his brethren. (1-4)

Joseph's dreams. (5-11) Jacob sends Joseph to visit his

brethren, They conspire his death. (12-22) Joseph's brethren

sell him. (23-10) Jacob deceived, Joseph sold to Potiphar.


1-4 In Joseph's history we see something of Christ, who was

first humbled and then exalted. It also shows the lot of

Christians, who must through many tribulations enter into the

kingdom. It is a history that has none like it, for displaying

the various workings of the human mind, both good and bad, and

the singular providence of God in making use of them for

fulfilling his purposes. Though Joseph was his father's darling,

yet he was not bred up in idleness. Those do not truly love

their children, who do not use them to business, and labour, and

hardships. The fondling of children is with good reason called

the spoiling of them. Those who are trained up to do nothing,

are likely to be good for nothing. But Jacob made known his

love, by dressing Joseph finer than the rest of his children. It

is wrong for parents to make a difference between one child and

another, unless there is great cause for it, by the children's

dutifulness, or undutifulness. When parents make a difference,

children soon notice it, and it leads to quarrels in families.

Jacob's sons did that, when they were from under his eye, which

they durst not have done at home with him; but Joseph gave his

father an account of their ill conduct, that he might restrain

them. Not as a tale-bearer, to sow discord, but as a faithful

5-11 God gave Joseph betimes the prospect of his advancement,

to support and comfort him under his long and grievous troubles.

Observe, Joseph dreamed of his preferment, but he did not dream

of his imprisonment. Thus many young people, when setting out in

the world, think of nothing but prosperity and pleasure, and

never dream of trouble. His brethren rightly interpreted the

dream, though they abhorred the interpretation of it. While they

committed crimes in order to defeat it, they were themselves the

instruments of accomplishing it. Thus the Jews understood what

Christ said of his kingdom. Determined that he should not reign

over them, they consulted to put him to death; and by his

crucifixion, made way for the exaltation they designed to

12-22 How readily does Joseph wait his father's orders! Those

children who are best beloved by their parents, should be the

most ready to obey them. See how deliberate Joseph's brethren

were against him. They thought to slay him from malice

aforethought, and in cold blood. Whosoever hateth his brother is

a murderer, #1Jo 3:15|. The sons of Jacob hated their brother

because their father loved him. New occasions, as his dreams and

the like, drew them on further; but this laid rankling in their

hearts, till they resolved on his death. God has all hearts in

his hands. Reuben had most reason to be jealous of Joseph, for

he was the first-born; yet he proves his best friend. God

overruled all to serve his own purpose, of making Joseph an

instrument to save much people alive. Joseph was a type of

Christ; for though he was the beloved Son of his Father, and

hated by a wicked world, yet the Father sent him out of his

bosom to visit us in great humility and love. He came from

heaven to earth to seek and save us; yet then malicious plots

were laid against him. His own not only received him not, but

crucified him. This he submitted to, as a part of his design to

redeem and save us.
23-30 They threw Joseph into a pit, to perish there with hunger

and cold; so cruel were their tender mercies. They slighted him

when he was in distress, and were not grieved for the affliction

of Joseph, see #Am 6:6|; for when he was pining in the pit, they

sat down to eat bread. They felt no remorse of conscience for

the sin. But the wrath of man shall praise God, and the

remainder of wrath he will restrain, #Ps 76:10|. Joseph's

brethren were wonderfully restrained from murdering him, and

their selling him as wonderfully turned to God's praise.
31-36 When Satan has taught men to commit one sin, he teaches

them to try to conceal it with another; to hide theft and

murder, with lying and false oaths: but he that covers his sin

shall not prosper long. Joseph's brethren kept their own and one

another's counsel for some time; but their villany came to light

at last, and it is here published to the world. To grieve their

father, they sent him Joseph's coat of colours; and he hastily

thought, on seeing the bloody coat, that Joseph was rent in

pieces. Let those that know the heart of a parent, suppose the

agony of poor Jacob. His sons basely pretended to comfort him,

but miserable, hypocritical comforters were they all. Had they

really desired to comfort him, they might at once have done it,

by telling the truth. The heart is strangely hardened by the

deceitfulness of sin. Jacob refused to be comforted. Great

affection to any creature prepares for so much the greater

affliction, when it is taken from us, or made bitter to us:

undue love commonly ends in undue grief. It is the wisdom of

parents not to bring up children delicately, they know not to

what hardships they may be brought before they die. From the

whole of this chapter we see with wonder the ways of Providence.

The malignant brothers seem to have gotten their ends; the

merchants, who care not what they deal in so that they gain,

have also obtained theirs; and Potiphar, having got a fine young

slave, has obtained his! But God's designs are, by these means,

in train for execution. This event shall end in Israel's going

down to Egypt; that ends in their deliverance by Moses; that in

setting up the true religion in the world; and that in the

spread of it among all nations by the gospel. Thus the wrath of

man shall praise the Lord, and the remainder thereof will he

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