Bible Study

Genesis 37:18-36

Joseph Sold by His Brothers

Should you follow your heart or your head?


Joseph Goes to Meet His Brothers Joseph Goes to Meet His Brothers

Jacob asked Joseph to go find his brothers, who were grazing their flocks near Shechem. When Joseph arrived, he learned that his brothers had gone on to Dothan, which lay along a major trade route to Egypt. There the jealous brothers sold Joseph as a slave to a group of Midianite merchants on their way to Egypt.
I. They put Joseph in a pit

Why did Joseph's brothers want to kill him?

Why do you think Reuben wanted to return Joseph to his father? What did he say to his brothers?

Why did Joseph's brothers remove his richly ornamented robe?

What was directing Joseph's brothers' actions?
"Here comes that dreamer!" they said to each other. "Come now, let's kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we'll see what comes of his dreams."
When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. "Let's not take his life," he said. "Don't shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don't lay a hand on him." Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe -- the richly ornamented robe he was wearing -- and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. Genesis 37:18-24, NIV
II. They sell Joseph to traders

Why do you think Judah wanted to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites? What did he say to his brothers?

How was God at work in all of these events? What does this reveal about God?
As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, 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; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood." His brothers agreed.
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. Genesis 37:25-28, NIV
III. Jacob mourns for Joseph

Why do you think Reuben reacted this way when he saw that Joseph was gone? For whom was he most concerned?

How did the brothers hide what they had done?

Why was their deception so painful for Jacob?

What do you suppose Joseph thought when he arrived in Egypt?
When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. He went back to his brothers and said, "The boy isn't there! Where can I turn now?"
Then they got Joseph's robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, "We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son's robe."
He recognized it and said, "It is my son's robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces."
Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said, "in mourning will I go down to the grave to my son." So his father wept for him.
Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard. Genesis 37:29-36, NIV


Do you ever feel jealous of others? What does jealousy lead to?

When are you tempted to hide your motives from others?

How should you try to please those in authority over you?

Do you go along with others when they do things that you would not do otherwise? What should you do?

Should you let your emotions direct your actions? Why or why not?

Are your actions consistent with your words? Are your words consistent with your thoughts?

Are you usually more concerned about others or yourself?

How do you attempt to hide your sin? How does God want you to deal with your sin?

Has your love for someone or something surplanted your love for God?

Have you ever found yourself in a very different culture? How could God use you there?


Study Genesis 39:1-23, Joseph and Potiphar's Wife.

Dave Bowser

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