Jacob — now known as Israel — loves his son Joseph more than his other boys, “because he was born to him in his old age.” (Genesis 37:3, NIV) In love, Jacob makes a beautiful robe for his favorite son.
“When [Joseph’s] brothers see that their father loves him more than any of them, they hate him and can not speak a kind word to him.” (Genesis 37:4)
The seed of jealousy and hatred is planted by their father, but Joseph innocently adds fuel. He tells his brothers of his dream in which their sheaves bow down to his sheave which “stands upright.” (Genesis 37:7) His brothers “hate him all the more.” (Genesis 37:8) They protest, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” (Genesis 37:8) Joseph apparently doesn’t respond. When he has another dream, in which “the sun and moon and eleven stars are bowing down to [him],” (Genesis 37:9) he again tells his brothers and his father, perhaps a bit less innocently this time considering their reaction to the previous dream.
His father rebukes him, even though he ponders the dream. Joseph’s brothers continue in jealousy and hatred. They plot to kill him.
What starts as a seemingly small thing — a special robe created for a preferred child turns the other eleven sons against the one. Two dreams, premonitions of Joseph’s coming rise to power, disturb an already seriously distressed relationship. Hatred and jealousy escalate to attempted murder.
Father God, enable us to love our children equally even as we may love each one of them differently. Help us never to show favoritism or preference for one over the other. In Jesus’ Name, amen.