Joseph And The Coat Of Many Colours

Old Testament – From Genesis to the Prophet Jonah

Abraham had eight sons in total; Isaac from his marriage to Sarah and God’s chosen, Ishmael to Hagar (Sarah’s Servant) and six sons from his second marriage after Sarah’s death.

Abraham's Family Tree

Isaac had two sons by his wife Rebekah, Jacob and Esau. Jacob had twelve sons (the twelve sons of Israel); his favourite among them being Joseph.

Jacob gave Joseph a special coat with long sleeves, often referred to as “The Coat of Many Colours”. But as in other families, jealousy and rivalry were widespread. Among Joseph’s brothers, it wasn’t just his father’s favouritism that irritated them but also Jacob’s many dreams and they nicknamed him “the dreamer”! One particular dream which portrayed him as their ruler riled them immensely.

One day, when Jacob sent Joseph to check on his brothers while they tended the family flock, the brothers quickly planned to kill him. However, Reuben, the eldest, convinced them not to. Instead, they sold him to a passing caravan of merchants. The brothers then took his coat, smeared it with blood and returned it to their father claiming that Joseph was killed by a wild animal. Jacob was distraught.

Joseph was taken to Egypt and sold on as a slave. Then the wife of his master falsely accused him of stealing and his downward spiral continued, he was imprisoned in an Egyptian jail.

Abraham with Joseph wearing his coat of many colours

Two years later and still in prison, Pharaoh asked Joseph to explain the meaning of his dreams which distressed him greatly, his priests and wise-men were unable to do so. Joseph replied, “It is not within my power, but God will speak”. (Genesis 41:16) As Joseph listened to his dreams, he explained to the Pharaoh that following the present seven years of plentiful harvest in Egypt there would be seven years of famine. When the Pharaoh asked Joseph what he should do, Joseph advised that all the excess grain be gathered during the seven good years leaving ample supplies in store for the bad years.

Joseph’s prophecy came true and Egypt had a plentiful supply of grain during the years of famine enabling her to feed its people and those in adjoining nations.

In return, Joseph was abundantly rewarded by the Pharaoh. He gave him his signet ring, appointed him his second-in-command in charge of the lands of Egypt and allowed his brothers and their families to join him.

In the years that followed, the Israelites continued to prosper in Egypt and their numbers increased markedly. (Genesis 37:1-36, 40:1-41-57)


Life is a journey, filled with many trials and temptations but with Jesus on one’s side, all misery is easily forgotten!


Almighty God, guide me in my work today, still my thoughts and calm my wayward mind. This I ask through your Risen Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer: I Arise Today

I arise today with a great strength:

God’s power to guide me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s eyes to watch over me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to give me speech,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to shelter me and
God’s host to secure me.