Joseph the son of Jacob in Genesis 37: 18-36, 39:1

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Jacob's Love for Joseph

Jacob had a son named Joseph. His father loved him so much that his siblings were envious of him. Joseph had many nightmares throughout his infancy, which was unfortunate because they all seemed to depict him as superior to his older brothers as well as the sun, moon, and stars bending down to him. Jacob loved Joseph so much despite the fact that he was the youngest that he purchased him a robe to wear. The aforementioned reasons led the brothers to devise a plan to get rid of him. Joseph’s brothers had a plot of getting rid of their young brother whom they were jealous of because of the apparently bountiful love of their father to him while in Egypt. Additionally, Potiphar’s wife admired Joseph as he was handsome and well built, but as she approached Joseph to sleep with him and refused she plotted a way of framing Joseph of attempting rape her. She managed and Joseph was put behind bars.

Joseph's Special Status

Joseph was loved by his father Jacob and he was so special to him that he had bought him a robe to wear. This love was also evident at the time he was told that his son had been devoured by wild animals and he wept and mourned vehemently and the Bible says not even his sons could console him. While in Egypt, Joseph was loved by the master (Potiphar) for he was impressed by his services. This made the master raise him through ranks and further leave all his possessions to Joseph to manage despite the fact that he had just bought him.

Similarities in Joseph's Sale

Penultimately, in both scenarios, Joseph is sold, to Potiphar. In both cases, his brothers plotted to do away with him by murdering him but were later persuaded to sell him instead. He was then delivered to Egypt where he was confined for allegedly attempting to rape Potiphar’s wife.

Divine Intervention in Joseph's Life

God was always with Joseph whenever in trouble, for instance, when the brothers had decided to kill Joseph, God through Reuben decided to rescue him by suggesting that they rather put him in a cistern than kill him. Reuben was later to rescue him if he could not have been sold. In Egypt, while imprisoned, rather than having a terrible life like other mates, he was made the head of the prisoners by the prison warden as he supervised all activities in jail.

Difference in the Storyline

In Genesis 37: 18-36, Joseph is sold to the Ishmaelites while in the 39th Chapter he was sold to the Midianites. This is a contradiction in the storyline prima facie. Additionally, the previous account portrays Joseph as a favorite of his Jacob while the latter account dwells on the love that his master had for Joseph, enough to trust him with his entire household.


It is evident that the similarities in the storyline exceed the difference which speaks to the coherence of the bible. The differences may have been caused by a number of factors which could include different viewpoints or the effects of translation. The important thing is to understand the underlying message and endeavor to implement and interpret it properly. As a matter of fact, the bible is aimed at presenting truth and the contradictions are likely due to semantics rather than fundamental principles. From this perspective, the two accounts of genesis with regards to Joseph are largely similar.

Works Cited

The Jewish Study Bible. Oxford University Press, 2004.

April 13, 2023

Religion World



Subject area:

Bible Religious Beliefs Egypt

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