20 skekels of gold www.atozmomm.com

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 23, Day 3: Genesis 37:12-36

Summary of Genesis 37:12-36:

Joseph’s brothers were sent to graze the flocks near Shechem. Jacob asks Joseph to go and check on his brothers. When Joseph arrived in Shechem, his brothers were no where to be found, so he asked about them. He was told they went to Dothan.

Joseph went to Dothan to find them. As he approached his brothers, they recognized him and plotted to kill him and throw him in a cistern and leave him to die. Reuben, the oldest, said not to kill him, but just throw him in the cistern, probably planning to come and get him once he learned his lesson.

When Joseph arrived, he was stripped of his coat and thrown into the empty cistern. Ironically, they casually sat and ate lunch when a caravan of Ishmaelites strode by on their way to Egypt. Judah suggested not to kill Joseph so they would not have blood on their hands, but to sell him to these approaching Ishmaelities. So they sold Joseph for 20 shekels of silver who took Joseph to Egypt.

Reuben who apparently was not with his brothers returned to rescue Joseph who was not there. Upon not finding him, he tore his clothes. Instead, they killed a goat and dipped Joseph’s coat into the blood. They took this robe back to Jacob who assumed an animal had tore him to pieces.

Jacob tore his clothes and mourned for many days. Jacob refused to be comforted and said he would mourn till the day he died. Joseph was sold to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, who was the captain of the guard.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 23, Day 3: Genesis 37:12-36

6) I’m assuming Jacob did not trust his sons. Or, because of what happened to Dinah in (Genesis 34), Jacob may still be worried about the neighboring tribes taking their revenge against him and his family.

7) They immediately started to plot against him. I’m assuming anger had been boiling up inside them for quite some time.

8a) They planned to say a wild animal tore him to pieces.

b) God had both Reuben and Judah have a twinge of guilt and not want to kill Joseph.

c) Man is evil through and through to plot to kill your own brother and sell him into slavery for a mere 20 shekels of silver.

9a) Unsure. Most definitely nothing like this.

b) Romans 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.”

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 23, Day 3: Genesis 37:12-36

I noticed how they used one of Jacob’s animals, a goat, and killed it to cover their crime. This was not even their animal to kill.

I’m unsure how Joseph’s brothers can sit and eat before they kill him. Joseph had to be screaming and begging for mercy. This shows just how evil man can be.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 23, Day 3: Genesis 37:12-36

map of joseph sold into slavery www.atozmomm.com

Tending sheep and goats is not exactly easy. You are outside in the hot sun all day, every day. You have to defend the animals against wild predators, sleep outside in the elements and on the hard ground, and hardly get any time off. Joseph, on the other hand, stayed at camp, slept in his own bed, and probably did not do much work at all.

Joseph was seen by his brothers probably a mile away due to his multi-colored coat. Here we also see Joseph is a supervisory role, not unlike his sheaves dream.

Dothan was about 10 to 15 mile walk. We see Dothan in the Bible again where God protected Elisha (2 Kings 6:13-17) like God protects Joseph here too.

Since Joseph had reported bad things before, the brothers assumed he would again. Their anger must have been great to make the leap to murder.

Fruitless to Oppose God

Interestingly, the brothers opposed God, not Joseph here. Note we see this repeatedly in the book of Genesis as humans are told God’s plans, perhaps even by God or Jesus himself, and they do everything in their power to thwart God’s plans. God wins anyway. God never fails.

We’ll see Joseph rise to become the 2nd most powerful person in the known world. Only God can do such a thing.

Reuben has a twinge of guilt, probably from God. He proposes to throw Joseph into the cistern without killing him.

Note how Reuben did not want to offend his brothers. Because of this, Joseph is sold into slavery, lost to them in essence. If Reuben had been firm as the oldest brother about returning Joseph to his father, this might not have happened. It’s funny because we all know God meant all of this to happen so Joseph could save God’s chosen family. It’s insanely hard to wrap your mind around.

Jesus in Joseph

All throughout the book of Genesis, we’ll see Jesus in Joseph. Here, we see Joseph being stripped as Jesus was. Note how even though we may lose every material thing, God can never be stripped from us.

The brothers were beyond cruel as Joseph pleaded for his life.  Genesis 42:21 When your heart has turned to evil, it can be insanely hard to break free. The brothers were not only ruining Joseph’s life, and probably killing him in a cruel way from a life of slavery, but they were about to break their father’s heart.

We see Arab traders headed the brothers’ way. Most likely, they were descendants of Ishmael, so very distant relatives.

Money turns many a man’s soul black. The idea stemmed from Judah, Jesus’ relative. However, he will be transformed from this experience.

joseph thrown in cistern www.atozmomm.com

20 Shekels of Silver

20 shekels of silver was not that much money (each shekel was probably equivalent to about $20). We don’t know what words were exchanged between Joseph and his brothers here. Perhaps Joseph was in shock and speechless. Maybe he was crying. Maybe he forgave his brothers then. Maybe the brothers laughed. All we know is what happened.

We see no signs of guilt from the brothers and probably the determination to take their secret to the grave with them. Utter selfishness and evil here.

Was Jacob wrong to mourn so long here? Many Bible scholars say Jacob should have known Jospeh would have eternal life. However, this is before Jesus. Jacob cannot know this.

Egypt at this time was a well-established culture and power. They were wealthy. The Great Pyramids and the Sphinx had been built hundreds of years before Joseph. They had no real enemies. They enjoyed life to the fullest. Joseph was about to enter a whole different world than one of a goat herder.

The Greatness of Joseph’s Story

Joseph’s story is perhaps one of the greatest because we can see the consequences of our actions in what happens to Joseph, as well as how God orchestrates it all. In fact, we can thank Joseph’s sinful brothers for what they did to Joseph for we would not be here otherwise. God’s plan never fails, ever:

  • Joseph is sold into slavery
  • Joseph is bought by Potiphar
  • Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of rape
  • Joseph is thrown into prison
  • Joseph interprets the dreams of two men in prison, Pharaoh’s baker and butler
  • Joseph then interprets Pharaoh’s dreams
  • Joseph is made 2nd in command in Egypt
  • Joseph prepares for the great famine
  • Joseph saves his family
  • Joseph saves the Messiah

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 23, Day 3: Genesis 29:31-30:24 & 35:16-20

Summary of passages:  Genesis 29:31-30:24:  The Lord gave Leah children because she was unloved by Jacob while Rachel remained barren.  She had Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.

Rachel became jealous of Leah and demanded children from Jacob (like it’s Jacob’s fault. Why doesn’t she go to God?).  Which Jacob not so kindly pointed out to her.  So Rachel offered up her maidservant, Bilhah, in her place (does NO one learn around here?). Bilhah had Dan and Naphtali and Rachel felt she won over her sister.

So what does Leah do?  She wants revenge.  So she offers up her servant, Zilpah, to Jacob to have kids with (Jacob apparently is loving this).  Zilpah had Gad and Asher.

[The next scene is unbelievable!]

Reuben brings Leah some mandrake plants.  Rachel wants some so she trades a night with Jacob for some.  Leah sleeps with Jacob and becomes pregnant with Issachar.  Leah had another son named Zebulun (but she is apparently not honored by Jacob).  Then she had a daughter named Dinah.

Rachel prayed to God (finally) and He heard her.  He blessed her with a son named Joseph.  Then she prayed for another.

Genesis 35:16-20:  Rachel gave birth to Benjamin and she died in the process.

Questions:

6a)  Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.

b)  God completely disagrees with favoritism as we see in 29:31 when we are told the reason God blesses Leah with children is because she was not loved by Jacob (but is this fair to Rachel?)

c)  She was comforted with sons but to me her words don’t show a lot of comfort because she is still hoping Jacob will love her with each birth and he never does.  Pray and accept it willingly.

7a)  To be loved by her husband (but isn’t this her fault as well?  She married him knowing he did not love her.).  No, she was never loved.

b)  Leah is in heaven.  But Jacob’s sons became the 12 Tribes of Israel (including hers).  Levi’s was set apart as priests.  The royal line was through the tribe of Judah.  And Christ came through Leah (the line of Judah), not Rachel.

c)  2 Corinthians tells us to not lose heart for inwardly we are being renewed day by day and our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs anything we are going through on earth.  God doesn’t forget us in our earthly struggles. He comforts us in different ways (for Leah a child) and for us through His word, through a friend, our kids, our spouse, our pets, strangers, prayer, church, or something material. He is there in the unseen.

Conclusions:  Was I the only one wondering why is Jacob having sex with Leah if he didn’t love her?  Conjugal duties only? Sex is supposed to be the ultimate show of love and bonding of a man and a woman as one.  So why is Jacob just “going through the motions” here?  Or is he just shunning the meaning of sexual intercourse and engaging callously, especially when Leah herself says she is unloved?

Jacob could have ended all of the jealously between sisters if he had just honored the marriage vows.  And kept his pants zipped.  But Jacob is of the flesh.  He couldn’t overcome his desires.

It seems to me all of this is Jacob’s fault.  Sure, you could argue Laban was at fault for substituting Leah in place of Rachel (but shouldn’t Jacob have checked before getting it on with her?) but Jacob is 100% responsible as the man of the household for decisions. He’s also responsible for who he sleeps with and who he doesn’t.

He could have ended all of this but he must have been enjoying having 4 women as wives and all the in-fighting over his affections.  Not only could he have stopped the sex part, but he could have FORBIDDEN the rivalry as the man of the household.  Instead, he stood by.  And watched his family become more and more dysfunctional every day.  He’s definitely egotistical and likes to have his ego stroked.

This whole passage is just utterly sad.  Here we have 2 sisters, competing with each other, and using children as the weapon!!  The kids have become trophies so to speak and it becomes a competition of who has more!!  How sad!  We have 2 sisters who are blood allowing a man to separate them and cause one ugly feud that must have been wretched for the entire household.  And we have the man who plays one wife off the other by refusing to zip his pants!  He probably would have slept with more servants if offered! Sad all around!

Leah was comforted by God to a point.  But she repeatedly says how she’s trying to earn Jacob’s affection.  This is a sin.  For God should be enough.  God is NOT her center.  For if God had been, she wouldn’t have needed Jacob to fill the need deep inside of her that only God can fill in all of us.

Can you imagine growing up in this environment?  Can you imagine how the children felt?  Obviously there is tension. They learned it from their mothers.  And saw their father stand by and do nothing to stop it.  Who can blame the brothers when they throw Joseph down the well?  With these two as mothers it’s no wonder!  And no father to lead!

Great reason why there should only be one man and one woman in a relationship (as God intended).  But Leviticus 18:18 had to outlaw specifically no marriage with sisters.  Any one guess why?

Explanation on the mandrake plant:  Why all the fuss over this plant?  Why would Rachel trade a night with her husband to Leah for it?  It had to be pretty valuable stuff. And it was (at least so it was thought).

Mandrakes are a plant that is thought to increase fertility in women.  It is the root of the plant and it is translated as “love-apples” in Hebrew.  It worked in Leah’s case!

We should see now the sovereignty of God over childbirth.  He opens wombs and closes them repeated throughout the Bible.  As He does today.  We also see His grace. When women (or husband’s) pray, God answers and opens wombs.  Great lesson for those struggling to have a baby.

Rachel pays the ultimate price for this competition:  with her life.  She asked Jacob for children or she would die (Genesis 30:1).  She got both.  This was also the fulfillment of the curse Jacob pronounced in Genesis 31:32.

Final Note:  Everyone sinned here.  But the sin could have stopped.  All it would have taken would have been only ONE of them to stand up and say “No more!”.  Rachel didn’t. Leah didn’t.  And Jacob didn’t.  And so the sin perpetuated.  And into the next generation as the kids learned from their parents’ examples.

This is the lesson for us all.  It only takes one party in a conflict to stand up for what is right, for their beliefs, for God’s will and word, and say “No more!”