I have now written and published a series of posts on Genesis 37, which covers the early part of the story of Joseph. I know it is a familiar story to many, and I hope that you have found my thoughts helpful.
Let me summarise chapter 37 for you now:
There once was a son, beloved by his father, and he made some very bold claims about himself. He was hated by his brothers, so much so that they bound him and beat him. They wanted to kill him and left him for dead. They thought they had gotten rid of him for good for the price of a few silver coins. They did not realise that one day, he would return to rule over them.
Who am I talking about here? Joseph? Or Jesus? With some careful wording, the above seems to apply rather well to both the son of Jacob and the Son of God.
Joseph is a “type” of Christ, and by type, I mean something akin to a prototype. In the Hebrew Scriptures, prophecy is less about predicting the future, and more about establishing a pattern. Joseph is a pattern for Christ.
Let’s walk back through Genesis 37 and see if we can spot the similarities between Joseph and Jesus.
- Joseph was hated by his brothers. Jesus was largely rejected by the people of Israel. (Gen 37:4)
- Joseph was beloved by his father, as was Jesus beloved by His Father (Gen 37:4)
- Joseph’s brothers hated him for telling them the truth (his dreams). Jesus was hated by the religious leaders of the day for telling them the truth. (Gen 37:5)
- Joseph told his brothers that they would one day bow down to him. Jesus said that one day we all will bow down to Him (Gen 37:6-7)
- Joseph’s father sent him to his brothers. Jesus was sent by the Father to the people of Israel (Gen 37:13)
- Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him; Jesus’ fellow Israelites plotted to kill Him. (Gen 37:18)
- They threw Joseph in a pit, and Jesus was put in a tomb hewn from rock. (Gen 37:19)
- They stripped Joseph of his tunic, and the same was done to Jesus (Gen 37:23)
- Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver; Jesus was sold for thirty pieces. (Gen 37:28)
- Reuben returned to Joseph’s pit and found it empty. Likewise, the women found Jesus’ tomb empty on the third day (Gen 37:29)
- Joseph’s brothers killed a male goat to hide their sin. Jesus became a sacrifice for us all, and His blood covered our sin (Gen 37:31)
Some of these, alone, may seem just trivial or coincidental. But when you look at the list as whole, you must admit there is certainly something here.
Is Joseph a perfect, prophetic representation of Jesus? No, not exactly of course. However, there are signs here and patterns set out which we must not gloss over. This passage alone is surely not enough to convince anyone of Jesus’ future coming, but take it alongside the many other Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, and a picture forms.
I am not suggesting you bend Scripture to make it say whatever you wish. IF you look however, you will soon see that Jesus is ever present in His Word. The old Testament is a shadow of things to come, and that shadow is that of Christ Himself.
Genesis 37 is not the only place in Joseph’s story where we see Christ. As we continue on through his story, I will try to point them out to you. If you spot one that I miss, do let me know!
Rest assured; the Bible is true! It is the only truth we can rely on! I have not just bet my life on it, but my whole eternity as well. How about you?