Main Verse: Genesis 37:3
by Brian Phillips
If you recall, Joseph was the first born of his father’s first love, Rachel. Even though Rachel was his second wife, she was the only woman Jacob had ever intended to marry. That was, before Jacob’s father-in-law tricked him into marrying Rachel’s sister, Leah, first.
Leah then bore Jacob sons. Jealous, because she presumably couldn’t have children, Rachel prodded Jacob to sleep with her handmaiden, who then gave birth to sons, also. Not to be one-upped, Leah had her handmaiden sleep with Jacob. And she, likewise, gave birth to sons. Finally, Rachel gave birth to Joseph. It had all the makings of a Jerry Springer show.
When Joseph was finally born, Jacob couldn’t help but show favoritism. Joseph was, after all, the first child of Jacob’s first and only love. But, as time would tell, Jacob should have been more careful about playing favorites.
The seeds of jealousy were certainly planted the day Joseph was born. His brothers must have sensed their father’s special love for him. As he grew, those seeds of jealousy were watered with every special acknowledgment their father gave to Joseph. To make matters worse, Joseph was a goody-goody, and would tell on his brothers every time they did something wrong. The roots of jealousy grew deep with every bad deed reported.
Finally, jealousy bloomed full the day Jacob presented Joseph with a special robe. It was the outward evidence of a painful family secret: Jacob loved Joseph more than his other sons.
Food for Thought
I played soccer in high school. But, I couldn’t seem to get past starting line-up for the “B” team. I really wanted to play on the “A” team, so I started working hard to get my coach’s attention.
One day, I heard the assistant coach say he thought I was one of the most talented players on the team. Only, I was too small to play “A” team. That made me happy and mad at the same time. So, during running drills that day, I was determined to show them what I was made of.
I ran like Forrest Gump. I passed every “A” team player as we ran the mile. I was just passing the last one at the end of the run, when I heard Coach say, “Great run, Johnson!” Johnson was the one I had just passed at the finish line. He was Coach’s favorite player.
I was furious.
So What Now?
Try to put yourself in a close friend’s shoes. How would they feel if you showed favoritism to someone else?
Lord, please help me be sensitive to the feelings of my friends and family, and not to show favoritism. Amen.