Genesis 37:10
And he told it to his father, and to his brothers: and his father rebuked him, and said to him, What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow down ourselves to you to the earth?
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(10) His father rebuked him.—In making the sun and moon bow down before him. Joseph’s dream seemed to violate the respect due to parents. As Jacob probably regarded his son’s dreams as the result of his letting his fancy dwell upon ideas of self-exaltation, he rightly rebuked him; while, nevertheless, “observing his saying.” (Comp. Luke 2:51.)

Thy mother.—Rachel was certainly dead, as Joseph had at this time eleven brethren. Nor did Leah ever bow down before him; for she died at Hebron (Genesis 49:31). The enumeration of “sun, moon, and stars,” means Jacob, his wives, and his children, that is, the whole family, elders and juniors, were to make obeisance to Joseph. It is a general phrase, like that in Genesis 35:26, and is not to be too literally interpreted. But as the handmaids were both of them younger than either Rachel or Leah, they may have gone down with Jacob into Egypt; and probably Bilhah had done a mother’s part by Joseph after Rachel’s death.

Genesis 37:10. He told it to his father — The dream was so strongly impressed upon his mind, and that, no doubt, by the Spirit of God, that he could not rest till he had acquainted his father with it. His father rebuked him — Not through anger or contempt of his dream, for it follows, he observed it; but partly lest Joseph should be elated with the idea of superiority over his brethren, and give place to pride on account of his dreams, and principally to allay the envy and hatred of his brethren. In his thus rebuking him, although in regard to Joseph without cause, Jacob is an example worthy of the imitation of all parents, who, when they observe any appearance of arrogance, self-exaltation, or aspiring after high things in any of their children, ought always to check it, as being a sinful disposition, and often productive of very evil consequences. Shall I and thy mother — Leah, his step-mother, one that filled his mother’s place, and was now Jacob’s only wife, and the mother of the family. Or he means, “Shall thy mother Rachel rise from the dead to come and join with me in worshipping thee?” In which sense of the words he seems to infer the idleness of the dream, the fulfilling of it being impossible.37:5-11 God gave Joseph betimes the prospect of his advancement, to support and comfort him under his long and grievous troubles. Observe, Joseph dreamed of his preferment, but he did not dream of his imprisonment. Thus many young people, when setting out in the world, think of nothing but prosperity and pleasure, and never dream of trouble. His brethren rightly interpreted the dream, though they abhorred the interpretation of it. While they committed crimes in order to defeat it, they were themselves the instruments of accomplishing it. Thus the Jews understood what Christ said of his kingdom. Determined that he should not reign over them, they consulted to put him to death; and by his crucifixion, made way for the exaltation they designed to prevent.Joseph's dreams excite the jealousy of his brothers. His frankness in reciting his dream to his brothers marks a spirit devoid of guile, and only dimly conscious of the import of his nightly visions. The first dream represents by a figure the humble submission of all his brothers to him, as they rightly interpret it. "For his dreams and for his words." The meaning of this dream was offensive enough, and his telling of it rendered it even more disagreeable. A second dream is given to express the certainty of the event Genesis 41:32. The former serves to interpret the latter. There the sheaves are connected with the brothers who bound them, and thereby indicate the parties. The eleven stars are not so connected with them. But here Joseph is introduced directly without a figure, and the number eleven, taken along with the eleven sheaves of the former dream, makes the application to the brothers plain. The sun and moon clearly point out the father and mother. The mother is to be taken, we conceive, in the abstract, without nicely inquiring whether it means the departed Rachel, or the probably still living Leah. Not even the latter seems to have lived to see the fulfillment of this prophetic dream Genesis 49:31. The second dream only aggravated the hatred of his brothers; but his father, while rebuking him for his speeches, yet marked the saying. The rebuke seems to imply that the dream, or the telling of it, appears to his father to indicate the lurking of a self-sufficient or ambitious spirit within the breast of the youthful Joseph. The twofold intimation, however, came from a higher source.Ge 37:5-36. The Dreams of Joseph.

5. Joseph dreamed a dream—Dreams in ancient times were much attended to, and hence the dream of Joseph, though but a mere boy, engaged the serious consideration of his family. But this dream was evidently symbolical. The meaning was easily discerned, and, from its being repeated under different emblems, the fulfilment was considered certain (compare Ge 41:32), whence it was that "his brethren envied him, but his father observed the saying" [Ge 37:11].

His father rebuked him; not through anger at Joseph, or contempt of his dream, for it follows, he observed it; but partly lest Joseph should be puffed up upon the account of his dreams, and principally to allay the envy and hatred of his brethren.

Thy mother: either,

1. Rachel, who was now dead, and therefore must rise again and worship thee; whence he may seem to infer the idleness of the dream, because the fulfilling it was impossible. Or rather,

2. Leah, his stepmother, one that filled his mother’s place, being now Jacob’s only wife, and the mother of the family. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren,.... After he had told it to his brethren, he told it to his father a second time in their hearing, that he might pass his judgment on it, and give his sense of it before them:

and his father rebuked him; not as being ignorant of the meaning of the dream, for by what follows he had a clear understanding of it, or as if he thought it was an idle dream, and would never have any accomplishment: but he thought fit, in his great wisdom and prudence, to put on such an air, partly to check young Joseph, lest he should grow proud, and haughty, and insolent upon it, and behave in a disagreeable manner to himself and to his brethren; and partly to conciliate the minds of his brethren to him, which he perceived were exasperated by his dreams:

and said unto him, what is this dream that thou hast dreamed? what dost thou take to be the meaning of it? canst thou imagine that it is of God? is it not a mere whim and imagination of thine own wandering brain in thy sleep? why dost thou tell such an idle dream as this, as if there were something divine in it, when it appears the most absurd and irrational?

shall I, thy mother, and thy brethren, indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? whereby it plainly shows he understood the meaning of the dream, though he would not seem to countenance it. By the "sun" he understood himself, the principal and head of the family, the active instrument of the generation of it, the light, life, and support of it; and by the "moon" his wife, the passive instrument of generation, who had the lesser share of rule in the family, yet contributed much to its good and welfare; by whom is meant not Rachel, the real mother of Joseph, who was dead, unless this is observed to show the seeming absurdity of it, from whence the whole might appear ridiculous; but rather Leah, who was now Jacob's only true wife, and the stepmother of Joseph; or else Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid, who since her death was a mother to Joseph; and by the eleven "stars" he understood the eleven brethren of Joseph, who were as stars that receive their light from the sun; and in allusion to the twelve constellations in the Zodiac, to which Joseph and his eleven brethren answered. This had its fulfilment, in some measure, when Jacob sent presents to Joseph when governor of Egypt, though unknown to him, and when he and his family went thither, when, no doubt, Jacob showed a civil respect according to his dignity, and in regard to the office he bore: and so his wife, if he then had any, that went with him, and if not personally, yet in her posterity paid a deference to him, as it is certain all his brethren did. Grotius observes from the Oneirocritics or interpreters of dreams, particularly Achmes, that according to the doctrine of the Persians and Egyptians, that if anyone should dream that he rules over the stars, he shall rule over all people.

And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father {e} 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 ourselves to thee to the earth?

(e) Not despising the vision, but seeking to appease his brethren.

10. thy mother] Implying that Rachel was still alive. Her death was recorded in Genesis 35:19 (J). Presumably this version (E) assumed that her death occurred later.

The sun represented his father, and the moon his mother; each of his brethren is represented by a star. There is nothing in this scene which really favours astronomical or astral theories of interpretation.Verse 10. - And he told it to his father, and to his brethren - whom it manifestly concerned, as, for the like reason, he had reported the first dream only to his brethren. That he does not tell it to his mother may be an indication that Rachel was by this time dead. And his father rebuked him, - either to avoid irritating his brethren (Calvin), or to repress an appearance of pride in Joseph (Lange, Murphy, Inglis), or to express his own surprise (Candlish) or irritation (Keil), or sense of the absurdity of the dream (Lawson), which he further demonstrated when he added - and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed! Shall I and thy mother -

(1) "Rachel, who was neither forgotten nor lost" (Keil), who may possibly have been living at the date of the dream ('Speaker's Commentary'), though then Joseph could not 'have had eleven brothers; who, being dead, was referred to in order to show the impossibility of its ever being fulfilled (Kalisch, Pererius); or

(2) Leah, as the chief mistress of Jacob's household (Willet, Hughes, Inglis); or

(3) Bilhah, Rachel,s maid, who had probably acted as Joseph s mother after Rachel's death (Jewish interpreters, Grotius, and others); or, what seems more probable,

(4) the term "mother" is here introduced simply for the sake of giving completeness to the symbol (Kurtz, Murphy) - and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee - Joseph's brethren ultimately did so in Egypt (Genesis 41:6); Joseph's father practically did so when he recognized Joseph's greatness and depended on him for support (Genesis 47:12). It is certain that Leah died before the immigration to Egypt (Genesis 49:31), and it cannot be determined whether Bilhah or Zilpah went to Egypt - to the earth. Jacob seems here, by intensifying Joseph's language, to resent the claim which it conveyed. "Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his (other) sons, because he was born in his old age," as the first-fruits of the beloved Rachel (Benjamin was hardly a year old at this time). And he made him פּסּים כּתנת: a long coat with sleeves (χιτὼν ἀστραγάλειος, Aqu., or ἀστραγαλωτός, lxx at 2 Samuel 13:18, tunica talaris, Vulg. ad Sam.), i.e., an upper coat reaching to the wrists and ankles, such as noblemen and kings' daughters wore, not "a coat of many colours" ("bunter Rock," as Luther renders it, from the χιτῶνα ποικίλον, tunicam polymitam, of the lxx and Vulgate). This partiality made Joseph hated by his brethren; so that they could not "speak peaceably unto him," i.e., ask him how he was, offer him the usual salutation, "Peace be with thee."
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