Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.
Last week we read about the tension that existed within Jacob’s family because Jacob favored Joseph over the other brothers. In this verse, we see another event that caused deep tension in this family.
Joseph dreamed two dreams with essentially the same message.
In the first dream, there were sheaves of wheat in a field—each representing one of Jacob’s sons. The sheaf representing Joseph “arose and also stood upright,” while all the other sheaves “bowed down” to his (verse 7). In the second dream Joseph saw the sun, moon and 11 stars bowing down to him (verse 9).
Young Joseph unwisely shared his dreams with his family with disastrous results. These dreams seemed so outrageous that even Jacob (who favored Joseph) was disturbed that Joseph would mention such dreams to the family. Jacob kept the potential implications of these dreams in mind for a long time (verse 11).
These dreams were not meaningless. They were prophecies of Joseph’s future. As we continue to read through the scriptures relating to Joseph’s life, Joseph rose to prominence in Egypt and eventually literally did rule over his own brothers (Genesis 45).
(Throughout the Bible, God occasionally communicated messages through dreams. Though when we consider that biblical history spans thousands of years, we note how rarely God used this method. Additionally, Hebrews 1:1-2 shows that God communicates with His people in a different way now than He did in Old Testament times. Jesus Christ revealed the Father’s will through His words. His words, and the writings He later inspired, are preserved in the books of the New Testament. Today Christ still communicates through the Bible—and His servants who faithfully teach it.)
Joseph's dreams were followed some years later by Jacob’s blessings that prophesied the rise of Joseph’s descendants to global prominence. The birthright blessings that were originally given to Abraham were later passed on to Joseph and his two sons—Ephraim and Manasseh.
Genesis 49:22-26 reveals the specific characteristics that would identify the descendants of Joseph when the birthright blessings would be completely fulfilled. Some students of the Bible and history have come to understand that these prophecies apply to the global hegemony of the British and American peoples in modern times. The descendants of Joseph have been the dominant nations in the world from the 19th century to present times.
To learn more about the identity of Joseph’s descendants in the world today, read our article “Who Are the United States and Britain in Prophecy?”
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “The Brothers’ Jealousy Leads to Violence.”