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Bible Commentaries

Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Genesis 37

Verses 1-36

XII. THE GENERATIONS OF JACOB

CHAPTER 37 The Story of Joseph

1. Jacob dwelling in Canaan (Genesis 37:1 )

2. Joseph’s character and feeding the flock (Genesis 37:2 )

3. Beloved of his father (Genesis 37:3 )

4. Hated by his brethren (Genesis 37:4 )

5. The dream of the sheaves (Genesis 37:5-8 )

6. The dream of the sun, moon and stars (Genesis 37:9-11 )

7. Joseph seeks his brethren (Genesis 37:12-17 )

8. The plot against Joseph (Genesis 37:18-22 )

9. Joseph in the pit and sold (Genesis 37:23-28 )

10. Reuben’s grief (Genesis 37:29-30 )

11. The deception of Jacob’s sons (Genesis 37:31-32 )

12. The grief of Jacob (Genesis 37:33-35 )

13. Joseph in Egypt (Genesis 37:36 )

The story of Joseph is one of the most interesting in the whole Bible. The Holy Spirit has devoted more space to the life of Joseph than He devoted to Abraham. The reason for this must be sought in the fact that the story of Joseph foreshadows the story of Christ. Some critics have made out that the story of Joseph is an invention and that the record was written hundreds of years after Moses. However, archeological evidence has fully and completely established the historical character of Joseph. Two of the El Amarna tablets show that a Semite held such a high position as attributed to Joseph. Others, while they believe in the historicity of Joseph, deny that his life is typical of our Lord. Such a denial is akin to spiritual blindness. It is true nowhere is a statement made that Joseph typifies Christ, but throughout this age all teachers of the Word have treated the life of Joseph as foreshadowing Christ. Stephen in his great address before the Jewish council mentions Joseph (Acts 7:9-14 ); the Messianic application must have been in his mind.

The life of Joseph falls into two periods; his humiliation and his exaltation. In these two parts the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow are blessedly foreshadowed. There is no other type so perfect as that of Joseph. In our annotations we shall not be able to point out all the comparisons; only the leading ones we give as a hint.

Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons and that reminds us of Him who is the Father’s delight. Joseph was separated from evil, even as Christ was. Joseph had a coat of many colors, the expression of the Father’s love; thus God honored His Son. And as Joseph was hated by his brethren without a cause, so Christ was hated (John 15:25 ). The dreams foretold Joseph’s future exaltation; he saw things in heaven and things on earth bowing before him, even as before Christ things in heaven and on earth must bow the knee.

Then the father sent forth his beloved Joseph to seek his brethren who were lost. Israel put Joseph into their hands. All this foreshadows God’s unspeakable gift in sending His only begotten Son into this world to seek what is lost.

Then note the following typical suggestions. When he came to his brethren, they conspired against him to slay him. “Come now therefore let us slay him, and cast him in some pit.” And in John 5:16 it is written that the Jews sought to slay Christ. The brethren stripped Joseph of his coat, as our Lord was stripped of His garment. He was cast into the pit and they sat down to eat bread. And the Pharisees who had delivered up the Lord Jesus sat down to eat the Passover, while the soldiers, who had parted the garments sat down to watch them. They sold him as the Lord was sold and Judah was the one who said “let us sell him.” This brings the betrayal by Judas to our mind.

And Jacob is deceived by his sons as he deceived his father. The coat stained by the blood of a kid reminds us of the skin of the kid with which he had deceived Isaac.

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Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Genesis 37". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/genesis-37.html. 1913-1922.