Jesse Tree – Day 9: Joseph

Out of all the Old Testament stories, this one is probably my favorite. It’s one of those epic stories that has everything: a hero that comes across absolutely every sort of obstacle — and yet who overcomes everything nonetheless. And not only does he overcome it, but he succeeds in such away that even he couldn’t even

It’s the story of Joseph! You know… the dreaming Joseph that has the awesome coat with “divers colors” according to the Douay-Rheims bible, or a coat of “many colors” according to the King James Version.

And so… I present to you, the ornament!

Is that colorful enough for you??? Anyway, here is the crochet pattern for this ornament, just in case you want to make an ornament like this!

Now, the story of Joseph is a long, sprawling story in Genesis that is many, many chapters long, and there’s no way that I can do justice to the whole story in just a short blog. So, you’re going to get a truncated version of the story for today. And by truncated, I mean it’s still going to be long, but it won’t be as long as reading the whole thing.

So! I am going to focus on how Joseph’s brothers turned against him and betrayed him in a terrible manner. And then, I am going to skip a whole bunch of the story and then show you how Joseph revealed himself to them when he met with them years after they betrayed him.

…are you ready?

The Betrayal of Joseph

NABRE

Genesis 37

3Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him a long ornamented tunic. 4When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his brothers, they hated him so much that they could not say a kind word to him.

Joseph of Egypt, by Master of the Griselda Legend, c. 1490-95. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., United States.
Joseph of Egypt, by Master of the Griselda Legend, c. 1490-95. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., United States.

NABRE

Genesis 37

5 Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers, they hated him even more.

Joseph Telling His Dreams, by Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1633. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Joseph Telling His Dreams, by Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1633. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

NABRE

Matthew 1

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.2 Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. 3Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, 4 Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse,

Joseph Explaining His Dream to His Brothers, by Antonio Tempesta, c. 1600. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
Joseph Explaining His Dream to His Brothers, by Antonio Tempesta, c. 1600. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

NABRE

Genesis 37

10When he told it to his father and his brothers, his father reproved him and asked, “What is the meaning of this dream of yours? Can it be that I and your mother and your brothers are to come and bow to the ground before you?” 11So his brothers were furious at him but his father kept the matter in mind.12One day, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem, 13Israel said to Joseph, “Are your brothers not tending our flocks at Shechem? Come and I will send you to them.” “I am ready,” Joseph answered. 14“Go then,” he replied; “see if all is well with your brothers and the flocks, and bring back word.” So he sent him off from the valley of Hebron. When Joseph reached Shechem, 15a man came upon him as he was wandering about in the fields. “What are you looking for?” the man asked him. 16“I am looking for my brothers,” he answered. “Please tell me where they are tending the flocks.” 17The man told him, “They have moved on from here; in fact, I heard them say, ‘Let us go on to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan. 18They saw him from a distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.

Joseph and his Brethren, by Antonio del Castillo y Saavedra, c. 1655. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.
Joseph and his Brethren, by Antonio del Castillo y Saavedra, c. 1655. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

NABRE

Genesis 37

19They said to one another: “Here comes that dreamer! 20Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here; we could say that a wild beast devoured him. We will see then what comes of his dreams.”21 But when Reuben heard this, he tried to save him from their hands, saying: “We must not take his life.” 22Then Reuben said, “Do not shed blood! Throw him into this cistern in the wilderness; but do not lay a hand on him.” His purpose was to save him from their hands and restore him to his father.23So when Joseph came up to his brothers, they stripped him of his tunic, the long ornamented tunic he had on; 24then they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.

Joseph Thrown into the Well by His Brothers, by Johann Heiss, c. 17th century. Private collection.
Joseph Thrown into the Well by His Brothers, by Johann Heiss, c. 17th century. Private collection.

NABRE

Genesis 37

25Then they sat down to eat. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, balm, and resin to be taken down to Egypt.

Joseph Sold By His Brothers, by Adriaen van Nieulandt the Younger, c. 1658. Private collection.
Joseph Sold By His Brothers, by Adriaen van Nieulandt the Younger, c. 1658. Private collection.

NABRE

Genesis 37

26Judah said to his brothers: “What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood? 27Come, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites, instead of doing away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed.

Joseph Sold Into Slavery by His Brothers, by Damiano Mascagni, c. 1602. Private collection.
Joseph Sold Into Slavery by His Brothers, by Damiano Mascagni, c. 1602. Private collection.

NABRE

Genesis 37

28Midianite traders passed by, and they pulled Joseph up out of the cistern. They sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

Joseph Sold by His Brothers, by Antonio del Castillo y Saavedra, c. 1655-60. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.
Joseph Sold by His Brothers, by Antonio del Castillo y Saavedra, c. 1655-60. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

NABRE

Genesis 37

29When Reuben went back to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not in it, he tore his garments, 30and returning to his brothers, he exclaimed: “The boy is gone! And I—where can I turn?” 31They took Joseph’s tunic, and after slaughtering a goat, dipped the tunic in its blood. 32Then they sent someone to bring the long ornamented tunic to their father, with the message: “We found this. See whether it is your son’s tunic or not.”

Joseph’s Coat Brought to Jacob, by Domenico Fiasella, c. 1640. El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, United States.
Joseph’s Coat Brought to Jacob, by Domenico Fiasella, c. 1640. El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, United States.

NABRE

Genesis 37

33He recognized it and exclaimed: “My son’s tunic! A wild beast has devoured him! Joseph has been torn to pieces!”

Jacob Shown Joseph’s Bloody Coat, by Circle of Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1650s. Leiden Collection, New York, New York, United States.
Jacob Shown Joseph’s Bloody Coat, by Circle of Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1650s. Leiden Collection, New York, New York, United States.

NABRE

Genesis 37

34Then Jacob tore his garments, put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned his son many days.

A Quick Summary

Years pass! Joseph is enslaved, falsely accuse, imprisoned, and basically suffers greatly — until his ability to read dreams comes in handy with Pharaoh. Pharaoh puts Joseph in a position of great authority as a steward of sorts. Which is a good thing because Joseph is able to foresee a famine and is able to prepare all of Egypt for it so that Egypt does not have to starve.

And then, Joseph’s brothers come to beg this steward — whom they do not recognize as their brother, Joseph — for food during a particularly severe famine.

Joseph at first does not reveal who he is at first… and then this happens.

Joseph’s Grand Reveal

NABRE

Genesis 45

3 “I am Joseph,” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could give him no answer, so dumbfounded were they at him.

Joseph Pardons His Brothers, by Bacchiacca, c. 1515. National Gallery, London, United Kingdom.
Joseph Pardons His Brothers, by Bacchiacca, c. 1515. National Gallery, London, United Kingdom.

NABRE

Genesis 45

4“Come closer to me,” Joseph told his brothers. When they had done so, he said: “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5But now do not be distressed, and do not be angry with yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you. 6The famine has been in the land for two years now, and for five more years cultivation will yield no harvest.

Joseph and His Brothers, by Abraham Bloemaert, c. 1595-1600. Central Museum, Ultrecht, Netherlands.
Joseph and His Brothers, by Abraham Bloemaert, c. 1595-1600. Central Museum, Ultrecht, Netherlands.

NABRE

Genesis 45

7God, therefore, sent me on ahead of you to ensure for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance. 8So it was not really you but God who had me come here; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household, and ruler over the whole land of Egypt.9 “Hurry back, then, to my father and tell him: ‘Thus says your son Joseph: God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me without delay. 10You can settle in the region of Goshen, where you will be near me—you and your children and children’s children, your flocks and herds, and everything that you own.

Joseph Recognized by his Brothers, by Giovanni Battista Gaulli, c. 17th century. Musée Fesch, Ajaccio, France.
Joseph Recognized by his Brothers, by Giovanni Battista Gaulli, c. 17th century. Musée Fesch, Ajaccio, France.

NABRE

Genesis 45

11I will provide for you there in the five years of famine that lie ahead, so that you and your household and all that are yours will not suffer want.’ 12Surely, you can see for yourselves, and Benjamin can see for himself, that it is I who am speaking to you. 13Tell my father all about my high position in Egypt and all that you have seen. But hurry and bring my father down here.” 14Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept on his shoulder. 15Joseph then kissed all his brothers and wept over them; and only then were his brothers able to talk with him.

Joseph Revealing Himself to His Brothers, by Peter von Cornelius, c. 1816-17. Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany.
Joseph Revealing Himself to His Brothers, by Peter von Cornelius, c. 1816-17. Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany.

And with that, we are officially out of Genesis! Time to go to the next book… Exodus. Because now that Israel has settled temporarily in Egypt, you know they can’t stay there…

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of three, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer

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