By Pastor Shana Wise
How it All Began
The Origin of the Conflict
Genesis 37 NIV
Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
2 This is the account of Jacob’s family line.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
1. What could Jacob have done to prevent the discord going on among his sons?
2. Have you ever been hated to the point that people could not stand your presence or be nice to you? How did it make you feel? Or have you experienced sibling rivalry similar to Joseph and his brothers?
3. What do you think the symbolization of Joseph’s coat meant?
4. Why do you think Joseph shared his dreams with his family?
5. It states twice in the text that Joseph’s brothers hated him and once that they were jealous of him. How can hated and jealously affect your actions?
12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 And Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”
“Very well,” he replied.
14 So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.
When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?”
17 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”
So, Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
1. Hatred and jealousy left unchecked will lead to murderous intentions. Do you see these spirits running ramped in our country? What can we do to help others who have a problem with hatred?
2. Joseph was a prophetic dreamer. His brother’s hatred towards him caused them not to understand or see the gift or calling on his life. Have you ever been hated or have others dislike you because of the gifts, calling, and favor in your life? How did it make you feel?
3. Even among the brothers plotting to kill and take Joseph’s life, he had one brother speak up and say it is not right to kill him. Reuben wanted to spare his life and take him back to their father. Praise God for the one! Who is the one in your life that you know no matter what they still got your back?
25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm , and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.
28 So when the Midianite merchants came by his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
29 When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?”
31 Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.”
33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.”
34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So, his father wept for him.
36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.
1. Judah did not want to kill Joseph, but he still wanted to get rid of him, so he and his brother sold Joseph. Have you ever been in a situation where there was an option to do the right thing, but because of your feelings, you still chose to do the wrong thing and justify it? That’s what hatred and jealously will do, those spirits will cause you to justify wrong actions.
2. The only one who was upset about Joseph being sold into slavery was Reuben, however, he still went along with his brothers with covering up Joseph’s disappearance. He still had the option to do the right thing and tell the truth to his father, but he did not. These brothers’ actions cause heartache beyond measure to Jacob, Joseph, Rachel, and others in the household. Have you ever experienced heartache or betrayal caused by your family members or by people you trusted or loved? How did it make you feel? How did you recover from it?
3. Verse 36 signifies the road to restoration, recovery, and reconciliation for this family. Rom. 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. How is this verse connected to the story of Joseph and his brothers?
About the Author
Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor and CEO of Wise Choice Ministries (est. 2016). She is the founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network formally known as Christian Women Preachers United. Dr. Wise is the author of women’s devotional, Acts of Intercession, and The Impact of Your Election (available on Amazon). She received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives, and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets and television. Shana is married to Ron Wise and is the mother of four children.
Books available on Amazon at:
Acts of Intercession
The Impact of Your Election
LIKE Facebook page www.facebook.com/mrsshanawise
Follow on Instagram at www.instagram.com/wise1too
Subscribe to YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCorVUiH02KsXi08T4UJMl_A
Join W.C.M. Interactive Facebook group page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/723507005051862 to watch and participate with bible study. Interact with our online global community.