Bible stories : 09 Joseph, part 1.
Part 1 : the fave.
1600 - 1700-ish B.C.
Remember, Jacob now goes by Israel. He’s got twelve boys, and of course they’re all different. Isn’t each one just a unique and precious gift unlike any other? How could you ever choose one child over the other? Of course you can’t. Of course I can’t. Of course most people can’t. But some people can. Or could. Such as Jacob-Israel. Cause he had a not-so-secret little secret:
He had a favourite kid. His name was Joseph, and he went by Joseph. Not Joe. Joseph.
Have you ever disliked someone for completely irrational reasons? Then you might have some sympathy for for Joseph’s brothers, who disliked him for completely rational reasons. Their dad didn’t try very hard to disguise the fact that Joseph was his cream of of the crop. He did subtle little things such as giving Joseph a colourful coat with long sleeves. With long sleeves. Why are long sleeves such a big deal? Because they signify headship...that the wearer is, or will be, the head of the family. And being the head of the family is a big, big deal. And dad gave that coat to Joseph.
Worse yet, Joseph is an easy person to dislike as a sibling. For example, Dad sometimes sends him out with the brothers while they’re watching the sheep, because Dad knows teenage Joseph will report back to him with any inappropriate behavior that his brothers might get involved with. That he does.
“Hey dad,” he announced after returning from one surveillance mission on his brothers, “you know how you sent everyone out to build a new path for the sheep through that one mountain pass?”
“Yes, Joseph, that is what I sent them to do. Are they doing it?” Jacob asked gravely.
“Yeah dad, they’re doing, it sort of, but a lot of them are goofing off and building slingshots and swimming and stuff and taking way longer to build the trail than it should. I wrote down who was doing the most goofing off. I hope that helps, dad!”
“It does, son, it does.”
And thus Joseph was not a favourite. And that’s before he started in telling tales of his recent dreams.
“Hey guess what guys, I had another dream last night and it was really weird and really cool, wanna hear it?!”
“No,” they all groaned.
He ignored them. “I dreamed that we were all working together, except I was doing super good work and you guys were goofing around, and then we were binding sheaves in the field and all of you guys’ sheaves bowed down to mine! Isn’t that funny?!”
“No,” they all groaned, except for Jacob, who smiled affectionately.
“You remind me so much of your mom,” he said.
He was super big into telling dream stories. Another one followed shortly thereafter. “...and there I was, and I was wearing my awesome one-of-a-kind long-sleeved coat that dad gave me and not anyone else, and then guess what happened?”
“We don’t care,” they growled.
He ignored them. “And then the sun and the moon and all the stars bowed down to me. Isn’t that so funny and so awesome?!”
Even Jacob was taken aback. “Joey, Joey, do you really think we’d all bow before you? That’s a silly dream,” he chided his son. “Let’s keep these dreams to yourself, shall we?”
Sometimes Joseph remembered, and other times he just had to share his vivid dreams.
We’re finally to the present. It’s a while after the “sun and moon bowing” dream, and all the brothers except Joseph are off with the sheep. They’re supposed to be working. But are they? Jacob decides to have his most responsible son check things out.
“Go take a look on your brothers,” he says. “Make sure they’re working and not goofing off.”
“Yes Dad,” Joseph says eagerly. “I bet they’ll be excited to see me!”