[b-hebrew] Joseph's Dream in Chapter 37 of Genesis

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Dec 14 09:41:02 EST 2007

Kenneth Greifer:
You wrote:  “When Jacob heard that Joseph had a dream where the sun, moon, 
and 11 stars bowed to Joseph, he asked Joseph if he and Joseph's mother and his 
brothers would bow to Joseph. Maybe he was being sarcastic because he knew 
that Joseph's mother was dead already. This quote does not have to mean that she 
was alive at the time Joseph had his dream.”
(1)  Jacob is never sarcastic with anyone like that in his entire life.  
Jacob truly loved Rachel, and there is no way that he would besmirch her memory, 
if Rachel were dead, by making a sarcastic remark like that.  And Joseph was 
Jacob’s favorite son, so Jacob would not mock Joseph’s dream in front of the 
whole family like that.
(2)  Indeed, if Jacob had openly mocked Joseph’s dream in the presence of the 
whole family, Joseph’s older half-brothers would not have been insanely 
jealous of Joseph as being their father’s favorite son.  Ironically, such mockery 
by Jacob would probably have saved young Joseph from being almost murdered by 
his older half-brothers and sold to slavetraders.
(3)  If Jacob had made a sarcastic comment like that to Joseph, that would 
mean that Jacob did not take Joseph’s dream seriously.  But the text expressly 
tells us that Jacob did take Joseph’s disturbing dream seriously:
“And his brethren envied him;  but his father kept the saying in mind.”  
Genesis 37: 11
(4)  Jacob’s immediate reaction to the dream is that the sun and moon in the 
dream must be Joseph’s parents:  Jacob and Rachel, both of whom were alive at 
the time.
“And he told it to his father, and to his brethren;  and his father rebuked 
him, and said unto him:  'What is this dream that thou hast dreamed?  Shall I 
and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down to thee to the earth?'” 
 Genesis 37: 10
There is no way that Jacob would say that if Rachel were already dead.
(5)  Jacob/“Israel” is the namesake of all the Israelites, of all the 
Hebrews, of Israel.  There is no way that Jacob would mock either the memory of his 
favorite wife, Rachel, if she were dead at the time, or the dream of Jacob’s 
favorite son, Joseph.
Rather, Genesis 37: 10-11 makes sense if and only if the bloody Shechem 
incident has not happened yet, Rachel is still alive, and Rachel is obviously 
pregnant with Benjamin at the time.  And chapter 37 of Genesis makes sense only if 
Joseph is age 8½ regular years at the opening of chapter 37 of Genesis, being 
age 17 “years” in terms of 6-month “years”.
It all makes perfect sense, just like everything else in the Patriarchal 
narratives.  Why fight the text?
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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