Israel (not Jacob) tells Joseph to go check on his brothers way up in Shechem.
Why do you say "Israel (not Jacob)? It was Jacob to whom God gave Jacob the name "Israel"".
Questions for discussion:
- With brothers like these who needs enemies?
Joseph's brothers had reasons to be jealous of their younger brothers. Jacob had been tricked into marrying Leah but Leah gave him six sons. But the wife he truly loved was her sister, Rachel and she had only two sons, but died having the youngest, Benjamin. Jacob favoured the sons of Rachel for obvious reasons.
The 12 sons that Jacob fathered eventually became the 12 tribes of Israel.
What deceptions? The birthright incident? It was prophesied that Jacob would be the one with God's favour. Esau was not a spiritual man....Jacob was.
Where did Reuben go after convincing his brothers not to kill Joseph? What did he mean by (NIV) “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?”
Not sure about that, but Reuben was the one who saved Joseph's life. He was later disgraced for having relations with his father's concubine. Doubly disgraceful because this was the mother of 2 of his younger brothers.
Does Judah’s suggestion to sell Joseph remind you of any other much later story from the Bible?
It was only later, when famine forced the brothers to go to Egypt for food that Joseph had an opportunity to test his brothers, who did not recognise the Egyptian Prime Minister as their brother who was sold into slavery. They passed the test, and Joseph sent for his father and all of Israel's family remained in Egypt, well fed and cared for by Joseph with the sanction of the Pharaoh.
The statement made by Joseph to his brothers when they showed remorse for what they had done, shows that Joseph understood the reason why he had been sent ahead of them. He held no animosity toward them because he saw God's hand in their actions. It was so that the family line of Jacob could be preserved unbroken, for producing the future Messiah.
In time, after Joseph's death, the Israelites found themselves under a new Pharaoh who was not disposed to treat the Hebrews kindly and used them as his slaves. Moses, who had been raised in Pharaoh's household, was later used to liberate them.
Joseph is one of my favourite Bible characters because, in spite of all that he suffered, injustice upon injustice, he never acted in revenge nor did he harbour resentment for all that he endured. He was used by God to teach us some valuable lessons about humility and the value of trustworthiness.