June 14 – Beware: Poisonous Jealousy

“Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, “Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”” ⸺ “His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.” Genesis 37:9, 11 (NASB)

Exactly what would a seventeen-year-old who is nearly the last of all the sons of their father thinking when he boasts of this dream before them. It is not the first but the second time Joseph had a dream which predicted his whole family being subservient to him some time in the future. Of course his 10 older brothers were put out and became more than a bit envious of Joseph who was obviously their father’s favored son. Envy is a feeling common to humanity. It is also a monster—a giant that can eat anyone alive. “The odious passion of envy,” writes George Lawson, “torments and destroys one’s self while it seeks the ruin of its object.[1] Envy tends to destroy the envier.” The brothers immediately rejected any meaning to Joseph’s words yet still allowed the dream to infuriate them into dangerous and greater hatred of their brother. Jacob, admonished his son Joseph yet pondered the meaning of the dreams. Without knowing it, their envy of Joseph set the brothers on the road to the evils of deceit, malice, and slave-trading their own flesh and blood—to the most despicable forms of cruelty.

  1. George Lawson, Lectures on the History of Joseph (Banner of Truth, 1972), p 5.