What I’m Thinking: Family Favorites

We can learn a lot about healthy families from Jacob’s favoritism to his son Joseph. We can learn what not to do.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the thirty-seventh chapter of Genesis (Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28), the beginning of the story of Joseph.

It will not surprise you too terribly much if you are familiar with the story of Jacob to this point, that, well, having exercised favoritism in his relationships (and he was a man who had children by four different women) that Jacob went on to show favoritism amongst his children. It was the child of his favorite wife (I should say the first child of his favorite wife), Joseph, that received his distinct favor. We usually think of a coat of many colors. The Hebrew is a little vague. It might mean that; it might also mean a coat with long sleeves, something that took a lot of cloth and would have been expensive. Whatever it was, it showed Joseph’s brothers, most of them older than he, who was the favorite: and that it wasn’t them.

Their resentments overflowed, boiled over on this one particular day when he came to check on them as they were out with the sheep. They took the coat off him. They threw him in a pit, and they actually planned to murder him. One of his brothers, Reuben, decided that he would try and calm things down and sneak Joseph back home, but as it turns out a group of slavers came by and while Reuben was elsewhere the rest of the family sold Joseph to be a slave.

I just can’t help but notice that family relationships from that day to this, they still can follow some very similar and very nasty courses. We still show favoritism from parents to child. We still foster these resentments amongst family members. And we still do horrible things to one another. It’s rare for someone to be sold into slavery, but even in this day that’s not unheard of, either, is it?

If we’re going to take guidance from the Scriptures, this again is a Scripture where we want to follow the other course, Oh, yes, I know if you follow the story along God managed to turn all this evil into something good, but you know, if the brothers had not thrown Joseph into a pit, if the brothers had not sold him into slavery, God would still have acted to preserve this family, and this family might have had more luck in preserving themselves having already developed the experience of taking care of one another.

Friends, follow the lessons of the Scriptures. Don’t do what this family did. Care for one another. Love one another.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: | Posted on August 8, 2023

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