Joseph had two dreams. His teenage self doesn’t understand discretion. He doesn’t keep them to himself. He shares them. He tells his brothers and father how they will bow down to him. His brothers are jealous and just hate him even more. The father doesn’t like the thought of his son ruling over him either.
Jacob, whom we could also call Israel now, sends his son Joseph out to check on his brothers’ welfare, to see how the boys and the flocks are doing, and to bring back the report. In a twist of irony, it will be the brothers that bring back the bad report this time.
The brothers see Joseph, the dreamer, coming and decide they should kill him. Reuben, the oldest, says to throw Joseph in a pit. He plans on later coming back and rescuing Joseph. Either he won’t stand up to his brothers or is sure he couldn’t convince them otherwise not to harm Joseph.
Joseph is thrown in a pit, but then the brothers have another bright idea. Judah convinces them to sell Joseph, so they don’t have to hide the fact they killed him. He puts it as being nice to Joseph since he’s their brother and all. The brothers sell Joseph to the Midianites for twenty pieces of silver. Judah receives 20 pieces of silver for selling Joseph, and Judas receives thirty pieces of silver for selling out Judah’s great, great, … grandson.
The Midianites, in turn, sell Joseph to the captain of Pharaoh’s bodyguard in Egypt. The brothers go home and lie about Joseph having been killed. Jacob acts like Rachel, like his life is tied up in his son. He acts like he has to die because he doesn’t have Joseph.
Do the brothers feel better? No, they get to spend the rest of these years watching their father love their not-quite-dead brother more than them. Jacob’s mourning is a constant reminder of their sin as well.
We can’t free ourselves from the traps we find ourselves in, a trap of hate and unforgiveness, or whatever it is. Our ways of saving ourselves can make things much worse, leading us further from God.
Christ came to set us free. He’s the only way to true and lasting freedom.