Sitting in an Egyptian prison, Joseph had plenty of time to reflect over his life.
Remembering Rachel, his mother, and how she died giving birth to his younger brother, Benjamin. And then how Jacob, his earthly father, favored him over his half brothers. But the most painful truth was that he loved his brothers and they hated him enough to want him dead.
He remembered how everything started to go wrong when his father gave him a coat:
“Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a [distinctive] multicolored tunic.” Gen. 37:3 [AMP]
Joseph loved his brothers and wanted to be accepted by them but they hated him. As a result of their hatred the brothers were not able to speak kindly and eventually their hatred let to a plot to kill him.
“His brothers saw there father loved Joseph more than all of his brothers; so they hated him and could not [find it within themselves to] speak to him on friendly terms.” Gen. 37:4 [AMP]
And then the dream that had caused him so much trouble, the one he had foolishly shared with his older brothers:
“He said to them, “Please listen to [the details of] this dream which I have dreamed; we [brothers] were binding sheaves [of grain stalks] in the field, and lo, my sheaf [suddenly] got up and stood upright and remained standing; and behold, your sheaves stood all around my sheaf and bowed down [in respect].”
Gen. 37:6-7 [AMP]
In sharing this dream his brothers became seriously angry.
“His brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Are you really going to rule and govern us as your subjects?” So they hated him even more for [telling them about] his dreams and for his [arrogant] words.” Gen. 37:8 [AMP]
His father, Jacob, rebuked him and said to him in disbelief, “What is the meaning of this dream you have dreamed?”
And he remembers all to well that a short while later, the favored life Joseph had enjoyed since his youth was changed forever.
Now, as he sat in prison, the memories replayed over and over in his mind.
As a young boy, sitting at the bottom of a dry well, stripped of the robe his father had given him, he felt so alone. He heard his older brothers plotting his murder and then changing their minds. They decided to sell him to traders bound for Egypt. The tears ran down his muddy cheeks and the fear, the sense of betrayal, the anguish of believing he would never again see his father flooded his whole being.
Joseph’s life is a reflection of the story of Israel as it will unfold in the future chapters. Like Joseph, the Israelites will first be blessed in Egypt and then cast into bondage as Joseph was unjustly cast into prison.
Joseph must have suffered extraordinary anguish and loneliness as the result of his brothers’ betrayal. He had every reason to be bitter, yet in all that is written we never see him hate those who mistreated him. Instead, he saw God blessing him.
Incredibly, his long ordeal had made him not a victim, weakened by what he suffered, but a victor, whose character was built by hardship. In fact he was wise enough to lead a nation, loving enough to forgive his brothers, and blessed with new understanding in seeing that God had a plan to prepare him for something much larger than just giving him an average life.
Throughout Joseph’s life, thru every thread that was woven, God was making changes within him. He was preparing him for the work and the plan meant from the beginning. Like that coat of many colors, woven with beautiful threads, Joseph’s youthful life would ultimately become a powerful testimony of what God can do for all of us.