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  • Writer's pictureDavid Bent

Joseph is Betrayed (12-07-21)


Jacob, renamed Israel, has settled back in his homeland of Canaan, along with his twelve sons.

Bible Reading:Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,18,23-28

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

Now his brothers had gone to graze their father's flocks and Israel said to Joseph, "Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me." So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.

So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the ornate robe he was wearing, and they took him and threw him into the cistern. As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

A Reflection

I have a younger sister and brother. Although we have all grown up with a strong Christian faith, and get on well together, we are all different. As children our interests and skills were quite diverse, yet I don’t think any of us felt our parents had a favourite. We were all treated differently but we were all treated equally and fairly, and I am very grateful to them and to God for that.

We saw the outworking of favouritism within Isaac and Rebekah’s family when it led to the estrangement of their two sons Esau and Jacob. Now we see the problems perpetuated by Jacob as he favours Joseph, of Technicolour Dream Coat fame, above his eleven brothers.

Just as blessing and generosity can create a cycle of grace within relationships, so favouritism, and the flip side of the coin, jealousy, can foster a cycle of ungrace. For Joseph’s brothers, favouritism led to jealousy, resentment, hatred, and ultimately to a conspiracy to kill Joseph and to stage his death to look like an accident.

Why we have favourites is not always logical. Jacob (Israel) loved Joseph more than his brothers because, we are told, he was born to him in his old age. But Benjamin was born later still, and to the same mother as was Joseph. When it comes to sports heroes, film stars, singers and musicians, how much do we know about the actual person before we choose favourites?

Breaking a cycle of ungrace will almost certainly require a level of forgiveness. If you are the one who was unfavoured, it will involve forgiving the one who favoured another over you and forgiving the one who was favoured. If you have favoured another will involve a changing of relationship and it might involve seeking forgiveness from the one you didn’t favour.

Such forgiveness is not easy, but Jesus did this for us, and we know God has no favourites.

A Prayer:

Father God, give me the grace to follow your example in my relationships; to show no favouritism and to love others equally.


Make me a channel of your peace

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