Monday, December 10, 2012

Jesse Tree Day 10 – Joseph

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. - Genesis 37:3

Parents usually say they don't have favorite children, but is not always so?  Nope.  Quite often even if there's nothing but a perception, kids feel that mom or dad loves one over and above the others.  That certainly was true in Jacob's family.  Rachel's two sons, Joseph and Benjamin, although the youngest of twelve, were undoubtedly the favorites, and, probably like most children, they played their father like a violin.  That can be rather galling.  Today's reading gives Joseph as the very favorite, the top of the heap. As a sign, Jacob gave Joseph what we call coat of many colors, or, as the verse says, a long robe with sleeves.

No matter whether it was a coat of many colors or a long robe with sleeves, either one been a rather impractical gift.  The bright colors would have been a luxury and also a very visible signal that this person really didn't have to work or get dirty, and a long robe with sleeves would have been very much in the way if they were shepherds and had to defend the flocks using a slingshot.  In either case, it probably served to inflate Joseph's ego.  It certainly didn't make him shy about sharing his dreams in which his brothers bowed down to him.  That was probably the last straw.  We know the rest of the story, how the brothers sold Joseph into slavery, Joseph ended up in Egypt, rose to very high position, and saved his whole family using that position.  But that's later in the story.

What can I learn from Joseph?  Perhaps that clothes don't make the man (or in my case, woman).  Another thing is to be careful when you share dreams, especially if it makes you look good in your own eyes or gives another bad news.  The third thing might be that even when you look up from the bottom of the well, the stars you see might be the ones you reach further down the road.

Be humble. 

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