Joseph being seventeen pastured sheep together with four of his half-brothers, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. Dan and Naphtali were the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid and Gad and Asher were sons of Zilpah. Bilhah and Zilpah were slaves and now Israel’s concubines, they were treated as inferior and so were their children. Now Rachel had died, and the concubines felt higher in status and their sons too.
Israel lacked authority, but he demanded the camp to live by the rules of God. Moses writes that Joseph brought bad reports about the four concubine children; this seems like Joseph, in spite of being the younger had the leader role when out in the field and he probably tried to rebuke his half-brothers, but they hated Joseph and didn’t respect him as leader and Joseph brought back to his father bad report about them.
Joseph had two dreams, and became so excited, that he could not keep them to himself; he had to share them with his brothers, his father and the concubine wives. Israel had told his family about the dreams from God he had, and Joseph most certainly believed those dreams of his were from God.
Hate makes murderes
Israel treated Joseph differently from his brothers; Israel loved Joseph more than the rest. Joseph’s brothers hated him and when he told them about his dreams, they hated him even more, the hate affected them to the point that they wished him dead. Of this, we can learn that hate makes murderers.
Persecution, blessing and glory
God gave Joseph two dreams about his future; he could have kept them to himself and the future events would probably not have taken place. When we receive from God, spoken words will make what God tells us come true, but also persecution, mockery and slander. There is a price to pay here on earth, however God’s blessing will follow and later, glory in heaven.
The Bible is not always chronological, in verse 10 Israel says, “Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow down to the ground before you” it is possible that Joseph’s dreams occurred before Rachel’s death. But must likely Rachel had died and What Israel is saying in his rebuke to Joseph is that this dream is impossible to be fulfilled, because your mother is dead, shall she raise from the dead and bow down to you?
- Do we respect people differently?
- What makes us respect people?
- Is the context in the Bible important?
- What does produce hate?