Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Genesis 37:9-11 Dream On

"Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers.  'Listen,' he said, 'I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.'

When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, 'What is this dream you had?  Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?'  His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind." (Genesis 37:9-11 NIV)

Joseph relates the content of the new dream to his brothers, and then later to his father.  His father rebukes him -- I doubt a parent would normally be found bowing down to a son or daughter.  One commentator (Matthew Henry?) suggested that Jacob's rebuke was actually meant to attempt to restrain or derail the payback which even Jacob must have known would likely be coming upon Joseph from his brothers after this announcement.

Another commentator noted that since Rachel was already dead, Jacob may have been suggesting that there was no way that Joseph's dream about his father and mother and brothers bowing down to him would be able to come true. (Unless, of course, Leah (as Jacob's wife) was intended by the term 'mother'). 

I seem to detect a bit of amusement in Jacob's tone.  It is almost like a father surveying the damage that his young son's fly ball has done to a neighbor's window -- he may rightly scold the child for playing so close to the neighbor's house, while inwardly being quite proud of the child's excellent hit!  Jacob scolds Joseph for his grandiose manner, while seemingly being inwardly pleased with the content of his dreams.

Years ago, Jacob had experienced God speaking to him through a dream, when he had stopped to rest for the night at Bethel while fleeing from his brother Esau.  Now, it seems, God is using the same way to reveal himself to his son Joseph.  Therefore, Jacob kept this matter in mind.(v.11)  He may not have fully understood the meaning of the dream, but he realized that it was somehow significant in Joseph's future.

Jacob's brothers, however, were definitely not amused.  They did not care whether the dream had actual significance or not.  All they knew was that they were jealous, for even as Jacob scolded Joseph, it was evident that he was still the focus of their father's full attention.

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