Verses 5–11

Here, I. Joseph relates the prophetical dreams he had, Gen. 37:6, 7, 9, 10. Though he was now very young (about seventeen years old), yet he was pious and devout, and well-inclined, and this fitted him for God’s gracious discoveries of himself to him. Joseph had a great deal of trouble before him, and therefore God gave him betimes this prospect of his advancement, to support and comfort him under the long and grievous troubles with which he was to be exercised. Thus Christ had a joy set before him, and so have Christians. Note, God has ways of preparing his people beforehand for the trials which they cannot foresee, but which he has an eye to in the comforts with which he furnishes them. His dreams were, 1. That his brethren’s sheaves all bowed to his, intimating upon what occasion they should be brought to do homage to him, namely, in seeking to him for corn; their empty sheaves should bow to his full one. 2. That the sun, and moon, and eleven stars, did obeisance to him, Gen. 37:9. Joseph was more of a prophet than a politician, else he would have kept this to himself, when he could not but know that his brethren did already hate him and that this would but the more exasperate them. But, if he told it in his simplicity, yet God directed it for the mortification of his brethren. Observe, Joseph dreamed of his preferment, but he did not dream of his imprisonment. Thus many young people, when they are setting out in the world, think of nothing but prosperity and pleasure, and never dream of trouble.

II. His brethren take it very ill, and are more and more enraged against him (Gen. 37:8): Shalt thou indeed reign over us? See here, 1. How truly they interpreted his dream, that he should reign over them. Those become the expositors of his dream who were enemies to the accomplishment of it, as in Gideon’s story (Jdg. 7:13, 14); they perceived that he spoke of them, Matt. 21:45. The event exactly answered to this interpretation, Gen. 42:6 2. How scornfully they resented it: “Shalt thou, who are but one, reign over us, who are many? Thou, who are the youngest, over us who are older?” Note, The reign and dominion of Jesus Christ, our Joseph, have been, and are, despised and striven against by a carnal and unbelieving world, who cannot endure to think that this man should reign over them. The dominion also of the upright, in the morning of the resurrection, is thought of with the utmost disdain.

III. His father gives him a gentle rebuke for it, yet observes the saying, Gen. 37:10, 11. Probably he checked him for it, to lessen the offence which his brethren would be apt to take at it; yet he took notice of it more than he seemed to do: he insinuated that it was but an idle dream, because his mother was brought in, who had been dead some time since; whereas the sun, moon, and eleven stars, signify no more than the whole family that should have a dependence upon him, and be glad to be beholden to him. Note, The faith of God’s people in God’s promises is often sorely shaken by their misunderstanding the promises and then suggesting the improbabilities that attend the performance; but God is doing his own work, and will do it, whether we understand him aright or no. Jacob, like Mary (Luke 2:51), kept these things in his heart, and no doubt remembered them long afterwards, when the event answered to the prediction.