Truth and Light

Truth and Light

This morning we shift our focus from Jacob to Joseph, his eleventh son. Joseph was also the first son of Rachel,[1] Jacob’s favorite wife whose passing as she was giving birth to Benjamin we noted last week. Baby Benjamin, along with his eleven older brothers, will form the foundation of the twelve tribes of Israel. However, with the exception of but a few chapters, the remainder of the book of Genesis revolves around the ways in which God worked through Joseph to preserve not only his family, but also the entire country of Egypt and the surrounding regions that later had to endure a terrible famine.

But before turning to Genesis 37, I want to say a few words about Genesis 36 which I’m skipping over. Genesis 36 provides an account of the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother. As stated there in verse 1, “This is the account of the family line of Esau (that is, Edom).” If you’ll recall, the origin of Esau’s second name occurred when he sold Jacob his birthright in exchange for some red stew that Jacob was making—“Edom” means “red.”[2] Additionally, as one commentator observes, “The term was also appropriate for the land of Edom, with its red sandstone formations and soil.”[3]

Among other items of note, Genesis 36 relates how it is that Esau ended up in Seir rather than Canaan. As recorded in verses 6–8,

Esau took his wives and sons and daughters and all the members of his household, as well as his livestock and all his other animals and all the goods he had acquired in Canaan, and moved to a land some distance from his brother Jacob. Their possessions were too great for them to remain together; the land where they were staying could not support them both because of their livestock. So Esau (that is, Edom) settled in the hill country of Seir.

Seir is another name for the land of Edom. And if you’re having a slight sense of déjà vu, it may be because this account of Jacob and Esau dwelling in different parts of the land is reminiscent of what occurred between Abraham and his brother Lot years earlier when Abraham offered Lot a choice as to where he wanted to live when the land was unable to sustain both of them.[4]

Genesis 36 also recounts how Esau’s tribe came to be dominant in this land. It notes that fourteen of his descendants became chiefs[5] whereas the Horites, the original inhabitants of the land, had only seven.[6] What is more, a number of kings who descended from Esau are also listed.[7] The entirety of this chapter is a reminder of the fact that God keeps every promise he makes, in this case to Abraham. For as one who was grandfather to both Jacob and Esau, numerous descendants were produced by both. Through these descendants we see how the LORD was fulfilling his promise to make of Abraham a great nation[8] whose offspring would be like the dust of the earth,[9] the stars in the sky,[10] and the sand on the seashore.[11]

Well turning to Genesis 37, the chapter opens by locating Jacob geographically. Whereas Genesis 36 tells how his twin brother Esau chose to dwell in the land of Seir, verse 1 of this chapter states, “Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.” Again, this is the same land that the LORD had promised to give as an inheritance to his grandfather Abraham and where his father Isaac had also dwelled. Yet three generations later, though Abraham’s descendants were living there, they didn’t yet possess it. Next, having highlighted a number of Esau’s descendants in Genesis 36, verse 2 of Genesis 37 turns to Jacob: “This is the account of Jacob’s family line.” And I’ll pause here to observe that as Isaac’s family line had focused upon Jacob,[12] so now Jacob’s family line will in turn focus upon Joseph.

Continuing on with verse 2 we read, “Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives,….” Joseph was a young man, but seventeen years old, who had already become part of the family business, that of shepherding sheep. And in the description provided, his brothers are grouped according to who their mother was—Jacob being the father of all four wives. So first we read that he “was tending flocks along with his brothers.” These would be his brothers by Leah, his step-mother, and the only remaining chief wife of Jacob.[13] His brother by Rachel, Jacob’s other chief wife, would have been baby Benjamin, the only full brother he had who would have been too young at this point to shepherd sheep. Next are mentioned the sons of Bilhah—that is, Dan and Naphtali[14]— and then those of Zilpah—that is, Gad and Asher.[15] Bilhah and Zilpah were his father’s concubines, the “lesser” wives who had been servants of Rachel and Leah, respectively.

Next we’re told at the end of verse 2 that Joseph brought “a bad report” about all of these brothers to their father. And this is where the trouble begins. Though we’re not told what the nature of this bad report was, from what we learn about Joseph later, it’s likely that his report was true. For whether seeking to flee from Potiphar’s wife who repeatedly sought to seduce him[16] or earning the respect of one and all when, consequently, he was thrown into prison,[17] we see that Joseph was an upright man who sought to do what was right in both word and deed. But because the unrighteous rarely appreciate the righteous disclosing their unrighteous deeds, it’s not surprising to learn that the bad report he gave his father concerning his brothers resulted in their resenting him. For those who do evil prefer that their evil deeds remain in the dark. Evil works best when it’s undetected. No one wants their evil deeds to be exposed to the light. No one wants their evil deeds to be exposed for the evil that they are. Thus does this opening remark set the stage for everything that follows for, as we’ll see, Joseph’s poor relationship with his brothers will culminate in their seeking to do away with him altogether.

But first, to make matters worse, not only did Jacob—or Israel—not hide the fact that he had a favorite wife, Rachel,[18] but we learn here that he had a favorite son who was, you guessed it, Joseph. As stated at the beginning of verse 3, “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age.” Other than Benjamin, Rachel’s second son to whom she gave birth as she was dying,[19] Joseph was the youngest of Jacob’s sons. And, again, his preference for him wasn’t hidden. Jacob didn’t disguise his favoritism for, as stated in the second half of verse 3, “he made an ornate robe for him”—and I should note that it’s uncertain what the Hebrew for “ornate robe” actually means. If you’re familiar with this passage, you’ve probably also heard it translated as a “robe of many colors.”[20] The point of the robe, however it looked, was that it was special. And only Joseph received one. From a man who had twelve sons, not one. Therefore, not surprisingly, Joseph’s brothers were not happy with this state of affairs. As stated in verse 4, “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.” The brothers’ resentment was palpable. Goody-two-shoes Joseph was being favored by their father over them—never mind the fact that their bad behavior was the source for Joseph’s bad report about them. Therefore, thus far we see that Joseph had two strikes against him: First, he had told on his brothers to their father (verse 2)—and nobody likes a tattle-tale, or today we might say a whistle-blower; Second, he was their father’s favorite as indicated by the ornate robe his father made for him. And, again, all of this resulted in his brothers hating him—strong words!—to the point that they couldn’t “speak a kind word to him.” But Joseph’s relationship with his brothers was about to get worse.

What made matters worse was a couple of dreams Joseph had. As stated in verse 5, the first dream he had caused his brothers to “hate him all the more” when he told it to them. The dream Joseph shared with them is recorded in verses 6–7: “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” The meaning of this dream was evident to everyone who was present. Consequently, as stated in verse 8, “His brothers said to him, ‘Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?’ And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.” This is now the second time—the first is verse 5—in but a few verses that we’re told Joseph’s brothers “hated him all the more”—in addition to having been told in verse 4 that “they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Joseph’s brothers genuinely despised him.

We need to keep in mind that of the brothers present—again, Benjamin would have yet been too young to be working—Joseph was the youngest. Therefore the suggestion that the older sons would bow down to the youngest; that the youngest would rule over the older; no doubt sounded beyond presumptuous to Joseph’s brothers. It was bad enough that Joseph had given a bad report about them to his father—and that he was his father’s favorite—and that his father had made him an ornate robe. But this dream with its message of Joseph’s ultimate supremacy over his brothers was too much—although those familiar with the remaining chapters in Genesis know that not only will this dream indeed come to pass, but it will come to pass on more than one occasion.[21]

Matters got even worse when Joseph had a second dream that he again reported to his brothers, verse 9: “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” So rather than eleven sheaves of grain bowing down to his sheaf of grain as in the first dream, this time eleven stars were bowing down to him as well. But notice an important addition: it wasn’t simply eleven stars, that is his eleven brothers, who were bowing down to him but also “the sun and moon,” representing his parents. Not surprisingly, despite Joseph being his father’s favorite, he didn’t appreciate hearing about this dream when Joseph reported it to him as well. Upon hearing it Jacob rebuked him, saying, as recorded in verse 10, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?”—and, as noted earlier, since Rachel, Joseph’s mother, had passed away while giving birth to Benjamin,[22] the mother referred to here would have been Leah, his step-mother.

Again, Joseph was but seventeen years old yet he had had not one, but two dreams indicating that one day not only his brothers but also his parents would bow down to him. Given that he was only seventeen years old, it’s possible that he had shared these dreams not for the sake of flaunting them over his family, as his brothers seemed to assume, but perhaps because he was trying to make sense of them himself. In fact we’ll see that these dreams did turn out to be from God for they turned out to be true. For in time Joseph, the eleventh son, received the birthright from Jacob[23]—although, as we noted last week, the promised Messiah will arise from Judah’s tribe.[24] And later we’ll further see how Joseph’s gift of interpreting dreams was both given and used by God in his life. [25] In the end he’ll come to rule not only over his family but over the entire land of Egypt becoming second in power only to Pharaoh himself.[26]

But it’s worth noting that despite Jacob initially rebuking his son’s seeming presumption, verse 11 states that though Joseph’s “brothers were jealous of him, … his father kept the matter in mind.” Remember that Jacob’s own first encounter with the God of his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac had also been by way of a dream, one in which angels were ascending and descending on a stairway or ladder.[27] In other words, despite his rebuke of his teenaged son, Jacob seemed to realize that these dreams might very well be from God. Therefore, as Mary the mother of Jesus “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart,”[28] upon hearing the report from the shepherds that the Angel of the Lord declared to them, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord,”[29] so now did Jacob keep “the matter in mind.”

Well sometime after this, we’re told beginning in verse 12 that Joseph’s brothers “had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, ‘As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.’” Joseph agreed. His father then specified, verse 14, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” We’re left wondering why his father did this. It may be that his sons had been away a longer than usual amount of time and he was concerned about them. But it may also be that he trusted Joseph for, as we’ve noted, this chapter began with Joseph bringing his father “a bad report” (verse 2) about his sons. Therefore it’s at least possible that his father wanted to make sure that his other sons were doing their work and therefore he sent Joseph “off from the Valley of Hebron” to check up on them. But little could Israel have known that over twenty years would pass before he, thinking Joseph to be dead, would once again see his favorite son.[30] And, as we’ll see, the reason Israel thought that Joseph was dead is because that’s what his sons told him for, indeed, Joseph’s brothers had considered killing him upon seeing his approach. But we’ll stop here and turn to those events next week.

Now though not directly stated in the New Testament, in the history of the Church there are those who have considered Joseph as a type of Christ given a number of similarities between their lives. As one commentator summarizes:[31]

Both were beloved by their father;[32]

Both were sold for silver by their brothers;[33]

Both suffered persecution and temptation;[34]

And, after suffering, both were exalted over their brothers.[35]

Whether or not we view Joseph as a type of Christ, over the coming weeks we’ll continue to see that throughout his life he was a man who sought to live in a righteous manner. And, as we’ve already seen in our morning’s passage, for having behaved in a righteous manner, he was hated by his brothers. Again, those who do dark deeds don’t like being exposed by those who shed light upon and disclose their evil deeds.

The portion of the New Testament that was read earlier applies this teaching on truth and light specifically to Jesus Christ, God’s Son; to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. These verses follow what is arguably the most well-known verse in all of Scripture, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Having made this bold proclamation of God’s love, in verse 17 John goes on to declare that God didn’t send his Son to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him.[36] And after stating that those who don’t believe in Jesus are condemned for their lack of belief in the name of God’s one and only Son,[37] we arrive at “the verdict” beginning in verse 19, namely, “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” Now, again, this passage is clearly and unequivocally referring to Jesus Christ, the second member of the Trinity. Elsewhere Jesus explicitly testifies concerning himself, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”[38] Ultimately it is his light that has shined upon this dark world; that has shined upon this fallen world. Ultimately those who reject him do so because they reject his light; they reject the fact that he is who he said he was. Therefore they would rather live by their own light, which “light” is revealed to be darkness when compared to the light of Christ.

But those who choose Christ’s light over their own—those who choose to live according to God’s ways rather than their own—seek to live by the truth of his light. And when they do, since God’s ways are so different from fallen humanity’s ways, it’s clear that any good they do has been done in God’s sight, by God’s power, and to God’s glory. So though Jesus is the one true Light that has come into the world,[39] as we recently noted[40] he also calls his followers to be light, to be the light of the world. Jesus tells us to let our light so shine before others that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven.[41] But as we see in the story of Joseph, those who choose to follow God’s light; that is, those who choose to live as God calls us to live, speaking truth, shedding the truth of God’s light, and thereby exposing the evil deeds of others, may very well come to the same fate as our precious Lord Jesus did, experiencing mocking, persecution, and even death.

But this is a price worth paying for God made us in his image. God made us for himself. God who made us knows best how we were made to function. As the story of Joseph illustrates, we were made to speak truth even if, or perhaps especially if, speaking and living that truth results in shedding light on the dark and evil deeds of those around us—even if those around us happen to be our brothers and sisters.

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, we who know, love, and seek to serve our gracious heavenly Father are called to be like Jesus. We are called to speak his truth, to shed his light, to shed his love to those around us. But we don’t have to do this alone for he has given us one another that together we might be a greater light; We don’t have to do this alone for he has given us his light, his very Holy Spirit, to indwell and guide us in his truth and light. So let us, today and always, point others to the Light of Christ so that instead of experiencing God’s condemnation for rejecting his Son, others might repent of their dark thoughts and deeds even as we regularly do, and thereby experience the bounteous salvation he sent and sacrificed his very own Son to provide.

Let us pray.


Benediction: 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.


[1] Genesis 30:24. See also Genesis 35:24: The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.

[2] Genesis 25:29–33: 29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.) 31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

[3] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Genesis 36:1. The Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Genesis 36:1 similarly observes, “Reddish rock formations, primarily sandstone, are conspicuous in the territory of the Edomites, located south and southeast of the Dead Sea.”

[4] Genesis 13:5–9:Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time. So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

[5] Genesis 36:15–19: 15 These were the chiefs among Esau’s descendants: The sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau: Chiefs Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16 Korah, Gatam and Amalek. These were the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in Edom; they were grandsons of Adah. 17 The sons of Esau’s son Reuel: Chiefs Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were the chiefs descended from Reuel in Edom; they were grandsons of Esau’s wife Basemath. 18 The sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: Chiefs Jeush, Jalam and Korah. These were the chiefs descended from Esau’s wife Oholibamah daughter of Anah. 19 These were the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these were their chiefs.

[6] Genesis 36:29: These were the Horite chiefs: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30 Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These were the Horite chiefs, according to their divisions, in the land of Seir.

[7] Genesis 36:31–39: 31 These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned: 32 Bela son of Beor became king of Edom. His city was named Dinhabah. 33 When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah succeeded him as king. 34 When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king. 35 When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king. His city was named Avith. 36 When Hadad died, Samlah from Masrekah succeeded him as king. 37 When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth on the river succeeded him as king. 38 When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Akbor succeeded him as king. 39 When Baal-Hanan son of Akbor died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife’s name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab.

[8] Genesis 12:1–3: 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

[9] Genesis 13:14–17: 14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

[10] Genesis 15:5–6:He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[Or seed] be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

[11] Genesis 22:17a: I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.

[12] Genesis 25:19 similarly states, “This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Isaac….” However, by chapter 27, the focus turns from Isaac to Jacob.

[13] Reuben (Genesis 29:32), Simeon (Genesis 29:33), Levi (Genesis 29:34), Judah (Genesis 29:35), Issachar (Genesis 30:18), and Zebulun (Genesis 30:20). See also Genesis 35:23: The sons of Leah: Reuben the firstborn of Jacob, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.

[14] Dan (Genesis 30:6) and Naphthali (Genesis 30:8). See also Genesis 35:25: The sons of Rachel’s servant Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali.

[15] Gad (Genesis 30:11) and Asher (Genesis 30:13). See also Genesis 35:26: The sons of Leah’s servant Zilpah: Gad and Asher.

[16] See Genesis 41:6ff.

[17] Genesis 41:20c–23: But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

[18] Genesis 29:30: Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah.

[19] Genesis 35:18: As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.

[20] As per the ESV. RSV translates this a “a long robe with sleeves.” KJV as “a coat of many colours.”

[21] See Genesis 42:6: Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.; Genesis 43:26: When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground.; Genesis 44:14: Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in, and they threw themselves to the ground before him.

[22] Genesis 35:18: As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.

[23] 1 Chronicles 5:2: and though Judah was the strongest of his brothers and a ruler came from him, the rights of the firstborn belonged to Joseph)—; Deuteronomy 33:13–17 (Moses is giving this blessing): 13 About Joseph he said: “May the Lord bless his land with the precious dew from heaven above and with the deep waters that lie below; 14 with the best the sun brings forth and the finest the moon can yield; 15 with the choicest gifts of the ancient mountains and the fruitfulness of the everlasting hills; 16 with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness and the favor of him who dwelt in the burning bush. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers. 17 In majesty he is like a firstborn bull; his horns are the horns of a wild ox. With them he will gore the nations, even those at the ends of the earth. Such are the ten thousands of Ephraim; such are the thousands of Manasseh.”

[24] As the Crossway ESV Study Bible observes in its note on Genesis 37:2–50:26: “Genesis…anticipates a time when the leadership of Israel will pass from the tribe of Judah (see Ps. 78:67–68).” Psalm 78:67–68: 67 Then he rejected the tents of Joseph, he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim; 68 but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loved.

[25] This occurred while he was in prison and accurately interpreted the dreams of the Cupbearer and Baker (see Genesis 40) and also when Pharaoh had a dream (see Genesis 41).

[26] Genesis 41:41–43: 41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

[27] See Genesis 28:10–17: 10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

[28] Luke 2:19.

[29] Luke 2:11.

[30] See Genesis 46:29–30: 29 Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time. 30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.” As stated in Genesis 37:2, Joseph is seventeen at this time. Genesis 41:46 states that by the time Joseph entered service of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, he was thirty years old. When brought before Pharaoh, Joseph testified that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine (Genesis 41:53). Therefore 30 – 17 = 13 + 7 = 20 years passing by the time the famine began and Israel sent his sons to Egypt to purchase grain.

[31] Reformed ESV Study Bible note on Genesis 37:2–50:26. The list that follows is taken from the same.

[32] Compare Genesis 37:3a ( Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age) with Mark 1:11: And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

[33] Compare Genesis 37:28 (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.) with Matthew 26:14–15: 14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.

[34] Compare Genesis 37:18–36 (Some of Joseph’s brothers throw him into a cistern and sold to the Midianite merchants) and Genesis 39:7–20 (Joseph throw into prison when falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife) with Matthew 4:1–11 (Account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness).

[35] Compare Genesis 37:5–11 (Joseph’s dreams) and Genesis 41:37–45 (After interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph is placed in a position of power by him) Genesis 42:6a (Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people.) with Philippians 2:9–11:Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

[36] John 3:17: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

[37] John 3:18: Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

[38] John 12:46.

[39] John 1:4–5, 9–13: In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of [the will of man], but born of God.; John 12:4

[40] See sermon preached on December 27, 2020, Living in Jesus’ Light, on Matthew 4:12–17, John 12:44–50, John 3:16–21, and Matthew 5:14–16.

[41] Matthew 5:14, 16: 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden…. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.