Just about every Christian knows the story of Abram who became Abraham. He had two sons. Ishmael and Isaac. Isaac also had two sons. Esau and Jacob. There is a lot to say about Jacob and Esau, and we may eventually get around to that, but not here. Jacob met a man named Laban.. who was perhaps not the most honest individual around. He had two daughters... Leah and Rachel. Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, but was tricked into marrying Leah first. ( Gen 29; ) Jacob.. had two wives. His two wives had servant women. Leah had Zilpah and Rachel had Bilhah. ( Gen 29:24; Gen 29:29; ) between these four women, Jacob had a number of sons. Most of this is recorded in Gen 30; Apparently sharing a husband wasn't that un-common in those days. Rachel had a hard time having children, but eventually she had Joseph. (Gen 30:24; ) All of that to get us here.... the story of Joseph. Gen 37:2; These are the records of the generations of Jacob. Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth, along with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father. Gen 37:3; Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a varicolored tunic. Gen 37:4; His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms. In Gen 32:28; God changed Jacob's name to "israel". Because he "prevailed against God". When Joseph was 17 years old, he was something of a spy or tattletale depending on your perspective. He gave his father a "bad report" about his brothers. The assumption here is that they were goofing off. It says that Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his other sons. (because he was a son received in old age). It seems that Israel made Joseph a coat of many colors. It seems that because of this coat, his brothers (rightly) thought that Israel loved Joseph more than the rest of them. Because of this they hated him... and could not even be friendly to him. It's possible that his "bad report" about them didn't help matters. As much as they hate him now... they will hate him more in the next few verses. ... next Joseph's first dream... Gen 37:5; Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. Gen 37:6; He said to them, "Please listen to this dream which I have had; Gen 37:7; for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf." Gen 37:8; Then his brothers said to him, "Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Joseph has a dream, and he tells it to his brothers... a sheave is simply a bundle of wheat tied together in a tall "stack" of sorts. But all of the sheaves in this dream that represented his brothers bowed down to a taller sheave in the center which represented Joseph. His brother are pretty good at interpreting the dream. They assume it means he will "reign" over them. So this dream makes them hate him even more than they did before. ... next, the second dream ... Gen 37:9; Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, "Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." Gen 37:10; He related it to his father and to his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?" Gen 37:11; His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind. So Joseph has another dream. I wonder if he knew how his dreams made his family feel? Have you ever had this type of dream? In this dream, the sun (his father) and the moon (his mother) and eleven stars (his brothers) all bow down to him again. This time even his father isn't really too happy about this dream. As you can imagine, the brother hated him all the more. It says they were jealous of him. But his father (Israel/Jacob) remembered these words. ... next, sold into slavery... Before we get to the "sold into slavery"... I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at Joseph's brothers. The four oldest were sons of Leah. Gen 29:32; Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, "Because the LORD has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me." Gen 29:33; Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, "Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also." So she named him Simeon. Gen 29:34; She conceived again and bore a son and said, "Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." Therefore he was named Levi. Gen 29:35; And she conceived again and bore a son and said, "This time I will praise the LORD." Therefore she named him Judah. Then she stopped bearing. Rueben, (who makes a great sandwich) was the oldest. Simeon... Levi... the priests of the old testament were descendants of Levi. Judah... Jesus is through the lineage of Judah... (therefore Leah). There are several verses that speak on Jesus's lineage being through Judah. ( Matt 1:2-3; Matt 2:6; Luke 3:30; Luke 3:33; Hebrews 7:14; and Rev 5:5; ) The next two sons came through Bilhah ( Rachel's maid) Gen 30:5; Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Gen 30:6; Then Rachel said, "God has vindicated me, and has indeed heard my voice and has given me a son." Therefore she named him Dan. Gen 30:7; Rachel's maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Gen 30:8; So Rachel said, "With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and I have indeed prevailed." And she named him Naphtali. Dan... (God has vindicated me) Naphtali... ( I have prevailed ) The next two sons came through Zilpah ( Leah's maid) Gen 30:10; Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a son. Gen 30:11; Then Leah said, "How fortunate!" So she named him Gad. Gen 30:12; Leah's maid Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. Gen 30:13; Then Leah said, "Happy am I! For women will call me happy." So she named him Asher. Gad... (fortunate) Asher... (happy ) ... it's difficult to resist jokes about the seven dwarves here... Leah's fifth son... came through a "deal" because Rachel wanted some mandrakes. So she "hired out" her husband. Gen 30:14; Now in the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, "Please give me some of your son's mandrakes." Gen 30:15; But she said to her, "Is it a small matter for you to take my husband? And would you take my son's mandrakes also?" So Rachel said, "Therefore he may lie with you tonight in return for your son's mandrakes." Gen 30:16; When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, then Leah went out to meet him and said, "You must come in to me, for I have surely hired you with my son's mandrakes." So he lay with her that night. One thing about the Bible, it pulls no punches. It isn't always pretty, people are people... but the Bible always tells it like it is. Gen 30:17; God gave heed to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. Gen 30:18; Then Leah said, "God has given me my wages because I gave my maid to my husband." So she named him Issachar. Issachar would be Leah's fifth son.. or the ninth son altogether. Issachar ( God has given me my wages ) Gen 30:19; Leah conceived again and bore a sixth son to Jacob. Gen 30:20; Then Leah said, "God has endowed me with a good gift; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons." So she named him Zebulun. As we see here Zebulun was Leah's sixth son. Or the tenth overall. What are the odds, that someone would have 10 sons without having a daughter? And so it finally happens that Leah has a daughter. Gen 30:21; Afterward she bore a daughter and named her Dinah. I suppose women's rights groups wouldn't be happy to know that Dinah isn't recognized as a Matriarch of Israel in the same sense that the sons are. Most Christians can name at least a few of the twelve tribes... but many don't even realize there was a daughter as well. Unfortunately Dinah has some bad circumstances later in life. ( Genesis chapter 34 ) Finally Rachel has Joseph, (the 11th son) Gen 30:23; So she conceived and bore a son and said, "God has taken away my reproach." Gen 30:24; She named him Joseph, saying, "May the LORD give me another son." There were of course more than 11 sons. We'll get to Benjamin later... but I just realized something here. In Joseph's second dream about the eleven sheaves of what bowing to the tall sheave of wheat in the center.... I think everyone in the family assumed that the eleven stars were the ten other sons and the daughter Dinah bowing to Joseph here. Benjamin wasn't born yet when Joseph told his family these dreams. So was the 11th "star" Dinah or Benjamin? (We haven't gotten to Manasseh and Ephraim, either) Gen 37:12; Then his brothers went to pasture their father's flock in Shechem. Gen 37:13; Israel said to Joseph, "Are not your brothers pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them." And he said to him, "I will go." Gen 37:14; Then he said to him, "Go now and see about the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flock, and bring word back to me." So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. Gen 37:15; A man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field; and the man asked him, "What are you looking for?" Gen 37:16; He said, "I am looking for my brothers; please tell me where they are pasturing the flock." Gen 37:17; Then the man said, "They have moved from here; for I heard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.'" So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan. Shechem is an important place in Jewish history. It is between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. This is one places God spoke to Abraham about ( Deut 11:29; ) It is also the first place that the 10 commandments were read to the people. (not just Jews, but foreigners living with them) Joshua 8:30-33; Dothan is thought to be about 12 miles north of Samaria. It is still a place you can go today. There is a well there called Joseph's well. Whether it was really Joseph's well or just tradition I'm not sure. Earlier I said Joseph was a tattletale. But it seems that sometimes Jacob sent him out to check up on his brothers.