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Prophetic Parallels between Jesus & Jospeh | Genesis 37

(Unedited Study Guide) In the last chapter we read through Esau’s genealogy with all of his Dukes etc., and today we’re going to begin something a little more exciting. The story of Joseph getting betrayed by his brothers, becoming a slave, going to prison, and then being placed in charge of all Egypt. Probably the most dramatic story in all of history. And we’re going to see many parallels between the life of Joseph and that of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Genesis 37:1 And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.

Genesis 37:2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.

Jacob being the youngest brother seemed to be sort of a tattle tale. I’m sure this is part of why his brothers hated him.

Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.

Genesis 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

Uh oh. Not good. Parents shouldn’t have favorite children. This favoritism that Jacob shows Joseph no doubt contributes to the jealousy and hatred of Joseph.

But I want to draw out a parallel here between Joseph and Jesus. Jesus too was the favorite son of His Father. In Matthew 3:17, after Jesus was baptized a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. Several years after that statement Jesus’ brethren who were of the tribe of Judah, hated him and betrayed him.

But what is so special about this coat of many colors? And is there a parallel to it and the clothing of Jesus? Jesus is seen in Ezekiel and Revelation with a rainbow of many colors surrounding him. Interesting. Perhaps there is more to this.

Genesis 37:5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.

Oh man. A tattle tale, daddy’s favorite, a coat of many colors, and now he is a dreamer! This is just eating his brother’s up. They’re jealousy is going to boil over if there are any more reasons to be jealous of this young man.

Genesis 37:6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:

Genesis 37:7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.

Sheaves are bundles of wheat, barley, or some other grain. When harvesting these kinds of crops they would cut them down and tie bunches of them together. In Joseph’s dream he saw his bundles of grain standing up and his brother’s bundles of grain laying down as if they were bowing down to him.

Genesis 37:8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

Does this sound familiar? One time Jesus spoke a parable to his brethren in Luke 19:12-14 saying:

“A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return...But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.”

Also in John 19:21-23 the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.”

Just as Joseph was destined to become ruler over his brethren, Jesus was destined to become ruler over his brethren too. And both were hated and envied by their kinfolk, their tribesmen.

But before we start casting stones at Joseph’s brethren, and even at those who rejected Christ. How often do we rebel against having the Lord reign over us? How often do we say to ourselves, “I’m not going to listen to Him, I’m going to do things my way.”?

Genesis 37:9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

The first vision was sort of an earthly vision. It was about sheaves at harvest time. Now it’s going well beyond that. Here Joseph is given a heavenly vision about the sun, moon, and eleven stars submitting to him!

This dream is also a parallel to the destiny of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Revelation 12 John sees a heavenly vision with a woman standing on the moon, clothed with the sun, wearing a crown of twelve stars and giving birth to a son who was destined to rule all nations with a rod of iron.

Genesis 37:10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?

Genesis 37:11 And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.

Even this dream didn’t sit easy with Jacob. Should I bow down to my own son? This is a little much don’t you think, Joseph? Nevertheless, his father didn’t dismiss Joseph’s dream.

You see Jacob understood that he symbolized the “Sun”, the great light or ruler of the family, Rachel was symbolized by the moon, the other great light that reflects the will of her husband, and the stars or lesser lights were symbolic of Jacob’s eleven sons. Even nature itself teaches us God’s plan for the family. And that’s why this rubbed Jacob wrong. It’s unnatural for a lesser light or star to outshine the light of the sun or moon (See Gen. 1:14-19). Sort of like how Jesus came the first time as a humble servant to be sacrificed, but when he comes back His light will be brighter than the sun though He was just a single “star out of Jacob” (Num. 24:17).

Genesis 37:12 And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem.

Remember Shechem? Yes, this place has some sore memories for Jacob and his family. This is the place where Jacob cozied up with the Canaanites and his daughter Dinah got violated. And here, we are about to see this place mentioned before Jacob experience great family troubles again.

Genesis 37:13 And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.

Ah, another parallel. Both Jesus and Joseph were shepherds. Jesus a spiritual shepherd and Joseph a literal shepherd.

Genesis 37:14 And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.

Genesis 37:15 And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou?

Who was this man? And why does he come in the picture? I don’t know. But I’m sure there is a parallel here somewhere.

Genesis 37:16 And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.

Genesis 37:17 And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.

Genesis 37:18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.

Just like how the Pharisees conspired against Jesus to kill him. In Matthew 12:14 it says, “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.” Jealousy. It was jealousy that brought about these conspiracies.

Genesis 37:19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.

Genesis 37:20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

These were not Joseph’s own dreams, these were dreams God had for Joseph. His brothers aren’t trying to stop Joseph’s plans, they are trying to stand in the way of God’s plan. Not going to work. Once God speaks a thing, it will come to pass. No one can stop the Word of God. In fact, the brothers effort to stop Joseph from fulfilling his destiny actually puts him on the path to fulfill it. You’ll see what I’m talking about later on. Had Joseph not been sold into slavery he would not have been in the position to rise up to be Pharaoh’s right hand man.

God is in control. He can take then enemies efforts against Him and use them for His own advantage. Kind of like wrestling or martial arts training, they learn how to use turn their opponents momentum to their own advantage.

Now, think about Jesus. All of the enemies efforts to stop Him, even crucifying Him actually backfired and brought about the needed sacrifice for the sins of mankind. As it is written:

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” – 1 Corinthians 2:7-8

Genesis 37:21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.

Genesis 37:22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.

Even though he was the son who slept with his father’s wife, a terrible sin, ironically it is Reuben who wants to do the right thing here. Shows he has a conscience. He doesn’t dare oppose his brethren directly here, but he does try to scheme up a plan to save Joseph.

Genesis 37:23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;

Jesus too was stripped of his coat after He was betrayed by his brothers.

“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.” -Mathew 27:27-31

In other words, they did sort of the same thing to Jesus as Joseph’s brothers did to him. They beat him up and mocked him. “Now let’s see what’s going to become of this dreamer!”.

Genesis 37:24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

Genesis 37:25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

Think about this. The brother’s consciences are so seared over. They’ve just left their little brother to die in a pit and they’re eating a meal.

How often do we take lightly the suffering Jesus went through and worry rather about our own comforts.

Genesis 37:26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?

Genesis 37:27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.

Genesis 37:28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

Now Judah isn’t suggesting this out of the goodness of his heart. If they’re going to get rid of Joseph, be it either dead or alive, it’s better if they make some money out of the situation. That’s what Judah was thinking. Did you know that the man who got payed 30 pieces of sliver for betraying Jesus, Judas, his name is the Greek version of the name Judah? No coincidence there my friend. This was all planned out by Almighty God.

Genesis 37:29 And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.

Only brother showing compassion. Even though he had a past as a sinner, his conscience was not seared over like his brothers.

We need to be careful when judging people for their past sins. Reuben’s sin, of sleeping with his father’s wife was terrible.

Genesis 37:30 And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?

It’s not clear where Reuben went. But he is back now and didn’t have anything to do with the betrayal.

Genesis 37:31 And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;

Genesis 37:32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no.

Genesis 37:33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.

Genesis 37:34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

Thus they succeeded in deceiving their father. Jacob believes Joseph got killed by some wild animal. But another parallel stuck out to me. They dipped Joseph’s coat in goat’s blood. That reminds me of all the scriptures in Revelation where it talks about the blood of the lamb. Also I can’t help remember what it says in Revelation where Jesus comes back “clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called The Word of God” (Rev. 19:13). These parallels or types are just overwhelming. Again, no man could orchestrate all of this.

Genesis 37:35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.

Genesis 37:35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.

Genesis 37:36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.

What looks terrible and depressing is actually God moving Joseph to exactly where He wants him. I wonder if Joseph ever wondered, what about the dreams I saw? I thought God was going to exalt me to a great position but now I’m nothing but a slave betrayed by his own brothers. This is probably the most emotional story in all of world history. And it has only just begun .


Think about all of the parallels between Joseph and Jesus.

Comparison Chart of 75 Joseph/Christ Shadows, Types, Antitypes and similarities

Joseph and Jesus lived over 2,000 years apart from each other, there is no way all of these parallels could have happened by chance, nor could any man orchestrate all of this. Joseph’s life was a detailed type or prophecy of the coming Messiah! His whole life was lived out and recorded as a witness that Jesus was indeed the Christ. And if this is true, then the rest of the Bible is true, for it is filled with impossible coincidences like this. If this doesn’t strengthen your faith, I don’t know what will.
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