SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
37:1 But Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, in the land of Canaan.
2 This is the account of Jacob.
Joseph, his seventeen-year-old son, was taking care of the flocks with his brothers. Now he was a youngster working with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons because he was a son born to him late in life, and he made a special tunic for him. 4 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated Joseph and were not able to speak to him kindly.
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 There we were, binding sheaves of grain in the middle of the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose up and stood upright and your sheaves surrounded my sheaf and bowed down to it!” 8 Then his brothers asked him, “Do you really think you will rule over us or have dominion over us?” They hated him even more because of his dream and because of what he said.
9 Then he had another dream, and told it to his brothers. “Look,” he said. “I had another dream. The sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 When he told his father and his brothers, his father rebuked him, saying, “What is this dream that you had? Will I, your mother, and your brothers really come and bow down to you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept in mind what Joseph said.
12 When his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I will send you to them.” “I’m ready,” Joseph replied. 14 So Jacob said to him, “Go now and check on the welfare of your brothers and of the flocks, and bring me word.” So Jacob sent him from the valley of Hebron.
15 When Joseph reached Shechem, a man found him wandering in the field, so the man asked him, “What are you looking for?” 16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Please tell me where they are grazing their flocks.” 17 The man said, “They left this area, for I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
18 Now Joseph’s brothers saw him from a distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this master of dreams! 20 Come now, let’s kill him, throw him into one of the cisterns, and then say that a wild animal ate him. Then we’ll see how his dreams turn out!”
21 When Reuben heard this, he rescued Joseph from their hands, saying, “Let’s not take his life!” 22 Reuben continued, “Don’t shed blood! Throw him into this cistern that is here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” (Reuben said this so he could rescue Joseph from them and take him back to his father.)
23 When Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped him of his tunic, the special tunic that he wore. 24 Then they took him and threw him into the cistern. (Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.)
25 When they sat down to eat their food, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were carrying spices, balm, and myrrh down to Egypt. 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let’s not lay a hand on him, for after all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed. 28 So when the Midianite merchants passed by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver. The Ishmaelites then took Joseph to Egypt.
29 Later Reuben returned to the cistern to find that Joseph was not in it! He tore his clothes, 30 returned to his brothers, and said, “The boy isn’t there! And I, where can I go?” 31 So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a young goat, and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32 Then they brought the special tunic to their father and said, “We found this. Determine now whether it is your son’s tunic or not.”
33 He recognized it and exclaimed, “It is my son’s tunic! A wild animal has eaten him! Joseph has surely been torn to pieces!” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters stood by him to console him, but he refused to be consoled. “No,” he said, “I will go to the grave mourning my son.” So Joseph’s father wept for him.
36 Now in Egypt the Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.
38:1 At that time Judah left his brothers and stayed with an Adullamite man named Hirah. 2 There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. Judah acquired her as a wife and slept with her. 3 She became pregnant and had a son. Judah named him Er. 4 She became pregnant again and had another son, whom she named Onan. 5 Then she had yet another son, whom she named Shelah. She gave birth to him in Kezib.
6 Judah acquired a wife for Er his firstborn; her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord killed him.
8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her so that you may raise up a descendant for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the child would not be considered his. So whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he wasted his emission on the ground so as not to give his brother a descendant. 10 What he did was evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord killed him too.
11 Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s house until Shelah my son grows up.” For he thought, “I don’t want him to die like his brothers.” So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.
12 After some time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah was consoled, he left for Timnah to visit his sheepshearers, along with his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13 Tamar was told, “Look, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 So she removed her widow’s clothes and covered herself with a veil. She wrapped herself and sat at the entrance to Enaim which is on the way to Timnah. (She did this because she saw that she had not been given to Shelah as a wife, even though he had now grown up.)
15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute because she had covered her face. 16 He turned aside to her along the road and said, “Come, please, I want to sleep with you.” (He did not realize it was his daughter-in-law.) She asked, “What will you give me so that you may sleep with me?” 17 He replied, “I’ll send you a young goat from the flock.” She asked, “Will you give me a pledge until you send it?” 18 He said, “What pledge should I give you?” She replied, “Your seal, your cord, and the staff that’s in your hand.” So he gave them to her, then slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19 She left immediately, removed her veil, and put on her widow’s clothes.
20 Then Judah had his friend Hirah the Adullamite take a young goat to get back from the woman the items he had given in pledge, but Hirah could not find her. 21 He asked the men who were there, “Where is the cult prostitute who was at Enaim by the road?” But they replied, “There has been no cult prostitute here.” 22 So he returned to Judah and said, “I couldn’t find her. Moreover, the men of the place said, ‘There has been no cult prostitute here.’” 23 Judah said, “Let her keep the things for herself. Otherwise we will appear to be dishonest. I did indeed send this young goat, but you couldn’t find her.”
24 After three months Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has turned to prostitution, and as a result she has become pregnant.” Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned!” 25 While they were bringing her out, she sent word to her father-in-law: “I am pregnant by the man to whom these belong.” Then she said, “Identify the one to whom the seal, cord, and staff belong.” 26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is more upright than I am, because I wouldn’t give her to Shelah my son.” He was not physically intimate with her again.
27 When it was time for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb. 28 While she was giving birth, one child put out his hand, and the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” 29 But then he drew back his hand, and his brother came out before him. She said, “How you have broken out of the womb!” So he was named Perez. 30 Afterward his brother came out—the one who had the scarlet thread on his hand—and he was named Zerah.