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LDS Old Testament Notes 10: Joseph & the sons of Jacob

LDS Old Testament Notes 10: Joseph & the sons of Jacob

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Published by Mike Parker
All Old Testament notes: http://www.scribd.com/collections/4343354
Class website: http://bit.ly/ldsarc
Handout for these notes: http://www.scribd.com/doc/29505371
Slideshow for these notes: http://www.scribd.com/doc/186163726
All Old Testament notes: http://www.scribd.com/collections/4343354
Class website: http://bit.ly/ldsarc
Handout for these notes: http://www.scribd.com/doc/29505371
Slideshow for these notes: http://www.scribd.com/doc/186163726

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Categories:Types, Presentations
Published by: Mike Parker on Apr 06, 2010
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© 2009, Mike ParkerFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Way, way back many centuries ago, not long after the Bible began, Jacob lived in the land ofCanaan, a fine example of a family man.a)(Sorry, I couldnt resist. Its hard not to talk about this story without breaking intosong.
)b)As we read last week, Jacob lived for twenty years in Haran, where he married Leah andRachel, the daughters of Laban.i)He also took Bilhah and Zilpah, the servants of Leah and Rachel, as additional wives.According tothe custom of the day, the children they bore to Jacob were legally Leahand Rachels children.c)Genesis 29–30 records that Joseph had twelve sons and one daughter by his four wives.This week’s handout has information on what their names mean, but brieflythese sonswere:i)By Leah: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.ii)By Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali.iii)By Zilpah: Gad and Asher.iv)By Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.(1)Rachel died in childbirth, naming her last son
(“son of my suffering”),but Jacob changed his nameto
(“son of the right hand”). (Genesis35:18.)d)As the oldest son, Reuben heldthe birthright and promise of his fathers blessing.However, he had sexual relations with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and Jacob heardabout it. (Genesis 35:22.)i)Because of this transgression, Reuben lost his birthright.
e)Simeon and Leviwere next in line to receive the birthright, but they lostit through theirexcess in avenging the rape of their sister Dinah, and the fact that they turned a sacredrite (circumcision) into a tool for deceit and revenge. (Genesis 34.)
f)So, as the next oldest son,Judah took the leadership role.g)Joseph was the eldest sonof the second wife, and therefore in line to receive thebirthright. But hewas much younger and from a wife with whom the relationship withthe other wives, especially Leah, was quite strained, so he was not at all liked by hisbrothers.
I am grateful to my friend Greg Smith of Raymond, Alberta, for allowing me to liberally borrow from the notes heprepared for Gospel Doctrine on this material.
See 1 Chronicles 5:1. Reubens act probably had other purposes than merely satisfying his sexual desire. By having sexwith Bilhah, Reuben (Leahs oldest son) would have prevented Bilhah from succeeding Rachel as the favorite wife, and bysleeping with his father’s concubine he would also be attempting to take over leadership of the clan.
Jacobs response to this action wasnt exactly honorable, either: He didnt reprove Simeon and Levi for murder, but onlyfor making trouble for him in the land. (Genesis 34:30.)
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion ClassOld Testament: Joseph and the sons of JacobWeek 9, Page 2© 2009, Mike ParkerFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Josephthe favored son and dreamer(Genesis 37).a)Joseph wasalso honorableand faithful to his father. When his brothers weremakingmischief, Joseph broughtback a bad report about them to their father(
Genesis 37:2
).i)Some have incorrectly seen this as Joseph being a tattletale.However, what we’rereally seeing isthat,even at a young age, Joseph honored and respectedhis father,kept the covenant, and behavedbetter than his elders. He obeyed even when notunder the watchful eye of his father, while his brothers engagedin behavior thatJacob would not support.The narrative portrays Joseph as faithful to his father inlittle things, even though unpopularand so he will eventually be given authorityover greater things.
b)Joseph was his fatherspride and joy—the first son of his mostbeloved wife (
).c)The “coat of many colours” is a translation based on the Septuagint, theGreek version ofthe Old Testament. No one is certain what the Hebrew phrase here means.(1)It seems to suggest a richly embroideredover-tunic, with long sleeves.(a)The standard outfit of the day for men consisted of a shirt-like tunic thatcovered the torso and upper arms, and came to the knees. Over this would beworn a sleeveless coat that also came to the knees.
(b)Josephs coat, on the other hand, reached to his wrists and ankles.(2)It was agarment of distinction, and possibly royalty.Whatever it was, it clearlyset Joseph apart as the favored son.ii)The brothers hatedJoseph because ofhis preeminence, and this leadto everythingthat followed(Genesis 37:4).d)When Joseph beganhaving dreams that allegorically impliedthat his family—even hisfather and his fathers wives—would bowdown to him, this really angeredhis brothers(Genesis 37:5–11).i)Ratherthan rubbing their nose in it,we should remember that these dreams wererevelations from God. The brothers’ anger doesnt just reflect their dislike for Joseph,for also their unwillingness to accept Gods will.ii)Even Jacobwasa bit skeptical, but he “observed the saying”(37:11b)he paidattention to it, and did not cast it out as being of no worth. He had respect to thethings of God, even ifthey seemed unlikely.iii)As we’re going to see later, Joseph truly was a
in the same class as Enoch andother ancient seers.e)We see more of Josephs reliability when his father sends him on an errand to find hisbrothers, who are out grazing the flocks (Genesis 37:12–17).i)His father senthimto Shechem, but Joseph went the extra mile”to journey toDothanto find the brothers. This conscientiousness is a hallmark of Joseph, and hisfaithfulness in small things will carry over into bigger things later.
Compare Matthew 25:21, D&C 132:53.
Hence Matthew 5:40: And if someone wants to sue you and to take your tunic, give him your coat also(NET).
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion ClassOld Testament: Joseph and the sons of JacobWeek 9, Page 32009, Mike ParkerFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.
f)Its at this point hisbrothers conspiredto murderhim (Genesis 37:1836).i)Reuben attemptedto save Josephs life (37:2122), but all of his plans came tonaught.
Judah was the one in charge, and his plan to sell Joseph for profitsucceeded(37:2627).
Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38).a)This chapter is an interlude. We break away from the story of Joseph and find out aboutthe character of Judah, who was chief among the sons of Jacob and instigator ofJosephs sale into slavery.b)Judah married a Canaanite woman,outside the covenant of his fathers, and through herhad three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah(Genesis 38:15). (The alert reader will know thatthis is always a bad sign!)i)Judahs poor example “rubbed offon his children. Er was wicked—worse thanJudah, we assume, because God took Ers life (Genesis 38:7).(1)This highlights a principle taught by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
Parents simply cannot flirt with skepticism or cynicism, then be surprised whentheir children expand that flirtation into full-blown romance. If in matters offaith and belief children are at risk of being swept downstream by thisintellectual current or that cultural rapid, we as their parents must be morecertain than ever to hold to anchored, unmistakable moorings clearlyrecognizable to those of our own household. It wont help anyone if we go overthe edge with them, explaining through the roar of the falls all the way downthat we really did know the Church was true and that the keys of thepriesthood really were lodged there but we just didnt want to stifle anyone’sfreedom to think otherwise….I think some parents may not understand that even when they feel secure intheir own minds regarding matters of personal testimony, they cannevertheless make that faith too difficult for their children to detect. We canbe reasonably active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints, but if we do not livelives of gospel integrity and convey to our children powerful heartfeltconvictions regarding the truthfulness of the Restoration and the divineguidance of the Church from the First Vision to this very hour, then thosechildren may, to our regret but not surprise, turn out not to be visibly active,meeting-going Latter-day Saints or sometimes anything close to it.
c)In order to contextualize the rest of thestory, we have to understand the law of
i)The word
does not come from levite,but from the Latin
, meaning“husbands brother.
It was common practice in the ancient Near East, includingamong Israel.
After the loss of the birthright, Reuben is portrayed as weak and ineffectual; nothing he plans comes to fruition. Forexample, see Genesis 42:37–38 where Reubendoes not succeed, while Judah does with a nearly identical idea in 43:8–11.
Jeffrey R. Holland. “A Prayer for the Children,” General Conference, April 2003;
Biblical examples are found in Deuteronomy 25:5–10, Matthew 22:23, and Ruth.
See LDS Bible Dictionary, “Levirate.

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