If you haven’t seen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, you should. Genesis 37 is basically where the musical starts. You’re reintroduced to the sons of Jacob, and reminded that Joseph is his favorite son, because he was a son of his old age and of Rachel.
Joseph is constantly annoying his brothers. He also has a couple dreams that he tells everyone. The dreams are that his family would one day bow down to him. Subtle much?
Anyway, the brothers are out feeding the flock and Joseph comes strolling up to see what mischief they may be up to. They see him coming and immediately plot to trap him in a pit in hopes that an animal would come along and kill him. However, they decide that it might be best to sell their brother for 20 pieces of silver to some midianites who were heading toward Egypt. The brothers decide to deceive Jacob into believing that his favorite son was killed by an animal. Jacob mourns the apparent loss of Joseph, even though Joseph has been sold into slavery in Egypt.
Chapter 38 is an odd intermission before jumping back into the story of Joseph, but the takeaway that must be remembered is that Judah is going to play into the line of King David, and ultimately Jesus. So Judah has three sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah. His firstborn son, Er was wed to Tamar. Remember that this whole first born thing is very important in ancient times as far as who would be the heir and carry the line. Apparently, Er was so sinful that God killed him. Oops. Well, Judah tells Onan… Go carry on Er’s line with Tamar. Sex happens, but Onan doesn’t want his seed to benefit Er’s line. He pulls out before ejaculation. (again… not a VBS flannelgraph lesson, huh) God kills Onan because of this. Yikes. Judah tells Tamar to wait until Shelah grows older and he can marry her and give her a child. Well, apparently, this doesn’t happen. Judah’s wife dies and he goes up to Timnath. Tamar decides to meet him there. She has removed her widow cloths and dressed the part of a prostitute. Judah is apparently hammered and doesn’t realize who she is. He agrees to pay for the sex with a few of his possessions. He ends up having sex with her and Tamar becomes pregnant. With Twins.
A few months later when it is obvious that Tamar has become pregnant, Judah decides that she needs to die for being a harlot. He still did not know that it was Tamar who he had sex with. He demands who she had sex with so that this man would be punished. She shows the possessions and he immediately recognizes what had happened.
She has the twins. Perez and Zerah.
Perez is mentioned many times in the Bible, and it is through Perez that David and ultimately Jesus comes. Again, God uses an act that seems in the flesh and sinful (and is) but uses it for his purposes and plan.
Chapter 39 gets us back to the story of Joseph. Joseph has become a slave servant of Potiphar. God continues to keep his promises and bless the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now God turns his blessing on Joseph. Even though Joseph was sold into a situation that seems hopeless, God still has his eyes on the situation.
Joseph is put into a situation that tests his character. Potiphar’s wife attempts to seduce him. Joseph flees, but gets accused of being the seducer. He gets thrown into a prison, again to wonder where God is. But God, is still looking after Joseph. Even in prison, Joseph is blessed and is shown favor by the keeper of the prison. Anything that Joseph puts his hand on prospers.
Chapters 40 and 41 are about dreams. Joseph is able to interpret dreams because of God’s involvement in Joseph’s life. First to two fellow prisoners a butler and a baker of the Pharaoh. Joseph correctly interprets the dreams. The butler is going to get out of prison. Joseph asks the butler to remember him when he gets out of prison.Which he does eventually… The Pharaoh has a dream that no one can correctly interpret. The butler remembers Joseph and tells Pharaoh of the Hebrew Joseph.
Joseph hears the dream and interprets it for Pharaoh. He tells of a Famine that is going to hit. The dream is a warning. Joseph tells Pharaoh to find someone to help them prepare for it. Pharaoh appoints Joseph to be in charge. Joseph prepares storehouses and stores up enough that other countries come to Egypt for provisions. This is how Joseph’s brothers are going to enter back into the story and meet their brother again.
The next few chapters involve the brothers coming to Egypt for food. They don’t recognize Joseph. Joseph wants to find out if his father and brother Benjamin are alive. He keeps Simeon, but sends the other brothers off. Jacob doesn’t want to send Benjamin back, but finally agrees. When the brothers return, Joseph tests their love of their father and brother by planting some silver in Benjamen’s bag. Joseph is about to seize Benjamin when the rest of the brothers come to the aid of their younger brother. They say that they would not be able to return to their father without him.
It is at this point in Chapter 45 that Joseph can not restrain himself anymore. He reveals who he is. His brothers are terrified that he will not forgive them, but he tells them that all is well. That what they planned for Evil, God planned for good. In fact, Joseph actually says that it was not they that sent him, but God who sent him to Egypt. He forgives them and is pleased to be able to provide for them.
He sends them to bring their father to Egypt. The family is reunited. The family ends up meeting Pharaoh. They get to continue their occupation as shepherds in Pharaohs service. They get land and provisions due to Joseph’s faithfulness. Israel’s family grows and multiplies. At the end of his life, Israel brings Joseph to his bed and asks to be buried in the promised land of Canaan. Joseph promises to follow through with that request.