“Jacob’s son Joseph was now seventeen years old, and he loved Joseph more than any of his other children, because Joseph was born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob gave him a special gift—a brightly colored coat.
His brothers of course noticed their father’s partiality, and consequently hated Joseph; they couldn’t say a kind word to him.”
(Joseph had two dreams in which he became so powerful that his brothers bowed down before him.)
“And they hated him both for the dream and for his cocky attitude.”
(One day Joseph’s father sent him to his brothers who were watching the flocks of sheep. He told Joseph to come back and tell him how they were getting along.)
“But when they saw him coming, recognizing him in the distance, they decided to kill him.
“Here comes that master-dreamer,” they exclaimed. “Come on, let’s kill him and toss him into a well and tell Father that a wild animal has eaten him. Then we’ll see what will become of all his dreams!”
So when Joseph got there, they pulled off his brightly colored robe, and threw him into an empty well—there was no water in it. Then they sat down for supper.”
(But then they decided it wasn’t a good idea to kill him; after all, he was their brother. So they decided to sell him to some traders instead.)
“So when the traders came by, his brothers pulled Joseph out of the well and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver, and they took him along to Egypt.
Then the brothers killed a goat and spattered its blood on Joseph’s coat, and took the coat to their father and asked him to identify it.
“We found this in the field,” they told him. “Is it Joseph’s coat or not?”
Their father recognized it at once.
“Yes,” he sobbed, “it is my son’s coat. A wild animal has eaten him. Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces.”
Then Jacob tore his garments and put on sackcloth and mourned for his son in deepest mourning for many weeks. His family all tried to comfort him, but it was no use.”
Living Bible (TLB)
The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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I listened to this story on the Daily Audio Bible recently .(I hope you’re listening too.) Older versions of the Bible translate the “brightly colored coat” as “a coat of many colors”, or as songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber called it “the amazing technicolor dreamcoat”.
Country singer Dolly Parton had a “coat of many colors” as a child in rural Tennessee. Her mother made it out of rags; the family was poor and couldn’t afford to buy her a new coat.
When her mother gave it to her, she told Dolly the story of Joseph, and Dolly was proud to wear her coat too. But when she went to school, her friends weren’t so impressed and made fun of her. But she knew better; she knew that the love that was sewn into her coat was more important than the price.
The joke was definitely on them since she grew up to become successful, rich, and famous. Not only that, she is generous. She established
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library a book gifting program that mails free books to children from birth to age five in participating communities within the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Dolly started her Imagination Library in 1995 for the children within her home county. Today, her program spans four countries and mails over 1 million free books each month to children around the world.
On the web site she writes
“When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer.
The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”
I know this is true, because it happened that way for me. My dream of becoming a doctor began and grew from books I borrowed from my local library and I believe every child should have that opportunity.
Like Joseph’s brothers and Dolly’s schoolmates, other people may mock and try to kill your dreams. Don’t let them. Out of our dreams come life changing experiences for us, and for those that we have a chance to help later on. And if someone- a parent, teacher, neighbor, coach-has encouraged your dream, thank them. They have given you a priceless gift.
Her experience inspired Dolly to write a song about her coat, a song she says is her favorite among the many songs she has written and recorded.
I invite you to listen to it here. I think you will understand why it is her favorite and why it reached number 4 on the country music charts in 1971.
If you want to know what happened to Joseph after he arrived in Egypt, you can read the rest of the story in Genesis, or watch
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