Genesis 37:5-8, Joseph Dreams of Dominance … or not

And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

//Joseph dreams of twelve sheaves of grain, representing he and his eleven older brothers. The older ones bow down to the younger. But the brothers aren’t impressed, imagining that Joseph is implying that he will one day reign over them.

Note that Joseph himself never interprets his dreams. He just relays them to his brothers and father, who interpret them. But did they understand them correctly?

Fast forward a few chapters to Egypt, when Joseph and his brothers meet up again. He has become a powerful influence, second in command, and the brothers come to Egypt looking for food to live through a famine. There, they bow before him:

And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.

Is the dream coming true? No. Joseph will have none of this. He immediately forgives them for their cruelty to him long ago, and welcomes them to Egypt, where they dwell together.

So what did the dream really mean? Perhaps it was more about the sheaves–food–than it was about dominance. The brother’s sheaves are bending down, running low, while Joseph’s remains upright. His supply of grain remains strong while theirs gives out.

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