Turning Trauma Into Triumph

Autopsy of a Trauma

October 3, 2021

When the brothers saw their father loved him more than anything, they hated him. (Genesis 37:4)

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. (Genesis 37:5)

When his brothers said to him: “Do you intend to rule over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and because of what he had said. (Genesis 37:8)

1. Joseph’s father failed him.

Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, and Israel (Jacob) said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.” “Very well,” he replied. So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron. (Genesis 37:12-14)

Kids between the ages of two and four average 6.2 fights per hour.

“Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male…The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.” (Genesis 34:25-29)

Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.” (Genesis 34:30)

“Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?” (Genesis 34:31)

Look at your family situation as realistically as possible. Don’t blame, don’t frame, don’t shame, just name what’s really going on and deal with it.


2) Joseph’s brothers brutalized and betrayed him.

…When he arrived at Schechem, he couldn’t find his brothers. He asked a local resident if he had seen them. “They have moved on from here,” the man said. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” (Genesis 37:14-17)

…So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. (Genesis 37:17)

They saw him in the distance… (Genesis 37:18)

“Here comes that dreamer.” (Genesis 37:19)

Let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams. (Genesis 37:20)

When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father. (Genesis 37:21-22)

While Jacob dwelt in the land, Reuben went and lay with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Jacob heard of it. (Genesis 35:22)

So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe–the richly ornamented robe he was wearing—and they took him and threw him into the cistern. (Genesis 37:23-24)

They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen…” (Genesis 42:21)

“As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.” (Genesis 37:25)

He [God] sent a man before them—Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons… (Psalm 105:17-18)


Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed….They pulled him out of the cistern and sold Joseph for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. (Genesis 37:26-28)

Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, “We found this robe. Examine it to see whether it belongs to your son.” (Genesis 37:31-32)

“Does this belong to your son?” He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.” Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “in mourning will I go down to the grave for my son.” His father wept for him. (Genesis 37:33-35)

For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all. (Luke 8:17)

3. Joseph’s captors capitalized on him.

Man is born to trouble as surely as the sparks fly upward. (Job 5:7)
Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the

guard. (Genesis 37:36)
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome. (Genesis 39:6)
The Lord was with Joseph… (Genesis 39:2)
God’s wise and redeeming love is compatible with the terrible things that happen in our lives.

Joseph was involuntarily turned into a savior through his suffering, but Jesus voluntarily came and chose to suffer on our behalf so we would never have to suffer alone.

View Notes as a PDF

Discussion Questions