Why did Jacob give Joseph a coat of many colors?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
"Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors" (Genesis 37:3 NKJV). The question of why Jacob gave a coat of many...

July 01 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kenneth Heck
Joseph had two dreams where his brothers, father and mother would bow down to him. These were fulfilled in Egypt (except for his mother who died beforehand).  Each color of the coat symbolically represents one of the brothers as tribes of Israel,  and Joseph's ascendency over each of them in Egypt.

August 01 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tim Beeker
The passage in question is a mis-translation. A "coat of many colors" never existed. A coat with long sleeves, stretching from palm to palm, and going all the way down to the feet is the type of robe that was given Yosef. Check out the rest of the Bible where this translation is used... preferably in a good solid translation. Locations exist in both the Tanakh and the Greek commentary.

August 01 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
It was most likely Jacob's method of telling the family that Joseph had been decided to be his beneficiary.

June 05 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
Often Joseph is wrongly portrayed a spoiled, boastful child. He has the coat made by his father and he told his brothers dreams in which they bow down to him which they resented. Some say he should not have done that. There is a reason Jacob gave Joseph a special coat, Genesis 37:3.

The exact nature of the coat is hard to determine. The basic word translated ‘color’ is ‘palm’ or ‘sole.’ It can be understood as a long-sleeved tunic reaching to the palm or a long garment down to the ankle; or it can be understood as hand-width pieces or strips sewed together as a patchwork of colors, stripes, plaids, etc. These were made to indicate a special privilege, honors, or distinction, Judges 5:30, II Samuel 13:18. 

Jacob did not give the special coat because he was born when he was old. Joseph was born within the seven years after Jacob was married. Neither did he give it because he thought he was special, playing favorites with him. There was a reason. “Son of his old age” can be rendered “builder of his old age.” In a sense, Jacob was appointing him to be the builder or one given responsibility to be the leader in the family especially as Jacob was getting on in years. 

The favored status is because Reuben, the first son born to Leah, had jeopardized his role as leader by careless and abhorrent behavior, Genesis 35:22. Jacob then went to the firstborn of Rachel and designated Joseph as the son of responsibility, I Chronicles 5:1. The Onkelos (Aramaic translation of the Law) has, “because he was a wise son to him.” 

Joseph seems to have proven his abilities by not being afraid to bring his father a bad report of his brothers. He showed that he had the father’s best interest in mind. Naturally, the brothers “hated him and could not speak peaceably to him,” Genesis 37:4. Further, they despised the dreams he shared with them. 

But it was God who gave him the revelation through dreams. Later to Pharaoh he said this ability was “not in me,” and clarified “God has shown...” In two different dreams he depicted himself in a prestigious position when they bow down to him. Two times signifies certainty – it was a deliberate revelation by God. C. H. Mackintosh said, “Joseph did not keep back the testimony. He might have spared himself, but no, he told the truth.”

Joseph resembles the Lord, who also revealed truths from heaven which was a cause for resentment. It is noted Joseph’s brothers despised him and, in the plot to kill him, they said, “We shall see what will become of his dreams!” They could not and would not accept the truth, but they would see it fulfilled before their very own eyes. They, in time, bowed down to him. 

Jacob gave Joseph the coat because of his special position of leadership to build the family. Joseph proved faithful even in years to come.

March 07 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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