Joseph and His Brothers, Sunday School Lesson for September 18, 2011
If you have ever had an annoying, know it all, favorite son, little brother, then you can relate to the story of Joseph and his brothers found in Genesis 37. Joseph is Jacob’s favorite son born of Rachel whom Jacob had to work 14 long years to be permitted to marry. After many years of being unable to conceive a child, and after watching her sister bear Jacob six children, Rachel’s womb was opened. Joseph, the second youngest son — Benjamin was the youngest — was a pest. He tagged along with his brothers when they went to shepherd the flocks in the field, and then tattled on his brothers for the things they did. Jacob had a lavish coat of many colors made and gave it to Joseph. The brothers could not speak to Joseph nicely as a brother.
There was bitterness and envy between them, and when Joseph told them of the dreams he had about the son, moon, and stars and the wheat in the field all bowing down to him, they hated him even more. Yet little did they know that Joseph was making a prophecy, not just of the salvation of his family from famine, but of the salvation of the world. For Joseph’s dream introduce an important theme that runs through the story of salvation that the older shall serve the younger and the younger shall rule over the older. Put another way, the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Or the greatest among you shall be the least and servant of all. This is ultimately fulfilled in the person and work of the Christ. Joseph does become for his brothers an example of the Christ and what He will do for His people. While Joseph’s older brothers sold him into slavery and told his father he was dead, eaten by a lion, Joseph did not repay their evil with evil when the time came to rescue them from the devastating famine in the land. Joseph, second in command to the Pharoah in Egypt, ruling at the right hand of the king, had mercy on his brothers, forgave them for what they had done, and brought them into the land of Egypt where they lived and prospered the rest of their days.