Joseph – Family Dysfunction

Dr. Claude Mariottini - Professor of Old Testament

The story of Joseph differs from the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The promise God made to Abraham was renewed to Isaac and Jacob but not to Joseph. God spoke to the patriarchs directly or through messengers. There is no theophany in the story of Joseph. God speaks to him through dreams and guides him through a series of ups and downs, good times and bad times, twists and turns that culminate with Joseph becoming the prime minister of Egypt.

Josep’s Bloody Coat Brought to Jacob
by Diego Velázquez, 1630

Joseph grew up in a broken family. His story reveals the tension between Joseph and his brothers that intensified because of Joseph’s dreams. His brothers hated Joseph and were jealous of him because of the way they perceived their father’s favoritism for their younger brother. The story of Joseph is, as Brueggemann puts it, the story of one son…

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