Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Genesis Chapter 37
Metaphysically Interpreting Genesis 37:1-11
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and he was a lad with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought the evil report of them unto their father. 37:3Now 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. 37:4And his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren; and they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
37:5And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. 37:6And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 37:7for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves came round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. 37:8And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
37:9And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream: and, behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars made obeisance to me.37:10And 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 ourselves to thee to the earth? 37:11And his brethren envied him; but his father kept the saying in mind.
May 29, 1932: Genesis 37:1-11
Among the primal faculties of mind, what does Joseph represent? Joseph represents the imagination.
What factors enter into a well-balanced imagination? The mature spiritual thought, “Israel loved Joseph ... he was the son of his old age.” “Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical lore, And coming events cast their shadows before.”
Why were Joseph's brothers jealous him? Israel gave unusual attention, to his imagination. The joyous mind, symbolized by Israel, gives a sort of glamour to everything. Even the most material environment is filled with gladness and color. “He made him a coat of many colors.”
Does the imagination deal with material things? The home of the imagination is in the realm of ideas, which open it to another dimension of mind, even the kingdom of the heavens.
When the conscious mind sleeps, does the imagination still function? Yes. When the conscious mind sleeps, the imagination continues its activity, and we have what is called dreams.
How is this dominance of the imagination expressed in our lesson today? The dominance of the imagination is symbolically told in the 7th verse: “For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright: and, behold, your sheaves came round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.”
Should we always take our dreams literally? No. We should learn to interpret the symbols given in dreams. For example, Joseph's dream about the sheaves represented substance, and was a prophecy of his superior consciousness of universal substance. That consciousness afterward bore fruit in his storing up of the grain of Egypt for which his brothers went to him.
What direct effect does a vivid imagination have upon man? The Hebrew meaning of the word Joseph is, “Jehovah shall increase.” The imagination uses its ideas to increase and clothe with substance everything that it touches.
What results from an uncontrolled imagination? An uncontrolled imagination often exaggerates and increases trivial things and distorts both mind and body.
How should we discipline the imagination and make it constructive in our lives? Pharaoh, King of Egypt, had a dream that his magicians could not interpret. When Joseph was called upon, he said, “It is not in me: God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” By following the inspirations given us by the supermind, or the Jehovah mind, we learn to discipline and make practical the imagination. “There is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”
Metaphysically Interpreting Genesis 37:12-36
37:12And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem. 37:13And Israel said unto Joseph, Are not thy brethren feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. 37:14And he said to him, Go now, see whether it is well with thy brethren, and well with the flock; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron,
and he came to Shechem. 37:15And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? 37:16And he said, I am seeking my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they are feeding the flock.37:17And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan. 37:18And they saw him afar off, and before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. 37:19And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. 37:20Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say, And evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.37:21And Reuben heard it, and delivered him out of their hand, and said, Let us not take his life. 37:22And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood; cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him: that he might deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father. 37:23And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colors that was on him; 37:24and they took him, and cast him into the pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
37:25And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. 37:26And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? 37:27Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother, our flesh. And his brethren hearkened unto him. 37:28And there passed by Midianites, merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they brought Joseph into Egypt.
37:29And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. 37:30And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go? 37:31And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a he-goat, and dipped the coat in the blood; 37:32and they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father, and said, This have we found: know now whether it is thy son's coat or not. 37:33And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat: an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces. 37:34And Jacob rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. 37:35And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down to Sheol to my son mourning. And his father wept for him. 37:36And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, the captain of the guard.
October 6, 1901: Genesis 37:12-36
Joseph represents that state of consciousness where the soul begins to waken to its own nature. In this state, he had dreams and visions (Gen. 37:6-11) which we interpret as meaning that the faculties of the mind, typified by the twelve sons of Israel, were to be subservient to the Spirit as their Divine Guide.
Joseph had a coat of many colors. The coat represents Truth. Jesus' coat, which was without seam, signifies the Truth in its entirety, which cannot be separated into parts or divisions. At the time of the crucifixion the ownership of this garment was [decided] by lot that the coat might not be rent. The symbology here is clear. Joseph's coat was of many colors, which indicates that in the opening up of this new realm of spiritual consciousness our conception of the Truth is colored by other and previous mental states, which have governed us for so long. We have not yet come into the white light of unqualified Truth, which is not a color, but an illumination.
The other faculties of our mind are not always ready to fall into line and be led by the Spirit, especially in the beginning of our life upon the higher or spiritual plane of consciousness. They have been the older brothers; have had control and have fed the Father's flocks (thoughts) for so long that they do not wish to yield their supremacy to another. So they take counsel together, and sell this young brother into Egypt. Egypt means the darkness of ignorance, and these promptings to a new and higher life are forced back into the most remote recess of our consciousness (“cast him into a pit”), and we go on in ignorance of the peace and happiness to be gained by living upon the spiritual plane, until we, too, like the children of Israel, are driven, through the direful consequences brought about by thus choosing darkness to light to seek relief. Then, again, the Spirit always awaiting opportunity, responds to our cry, and we are shown once more the open door to the upward way.
And Joseph was sold “into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's and captain of the guard.” Pharaoh means the sun; Potiphar, belonging to the sun. The sun is the source of light and life, and is the generative power upon whatever plane it works. Pharaoh (the sun) being in Egypt, shows to us that the light of the sun of righteousness veiled by our life upon the lower or sense plane, and Joseph (our spiritual consciousness) is bartered away, that we may enjoy the things of sense, and the life forces are spent in their gratification.
– UNITY magazine.
September 13, 1942: Genesis 37:23-36
Joseph's brothers stripped him of his coat of many colors. What interpretation can be given this verse? Joseph represents the imagination, and his brothers represent the other faculties of man. When the other faculties have a materialistic bent, they hold the imagination captive and strip it of its power to bring out the many-hued images in which it clothes the thoughts.
Judah suggested to his brothers that they sell Joseph to the Israelites instead of slaying him. What does this indicate? Judah represents Praise of appropriation, the one constructive, the other negative. Judah's suggestion showed a desire to profit materially, if Joseph was to be done away with, instead of incurring guilt to no purpose. Although the constructive side of Judah's nature was not yet developed, he saves Joseph's life in the only way that was possible at that time.
“For he is our brother, our flesh.” What does this signify? That the imagination is an integral part of the man forming a unity with all his other faculties. It is entitled to equal consideration with the others, and its action should prove beneficial to them, as their action should be to it.
The name Ishmael means “understanding of God.” What is the significance of Joseph's being sold to the Ishmaelites? Understanding of God here denotes only the consciousness that recognizes God, but because of the seeming opposition of the outer world, this consciousness does not express Him according to the highest standard. Ishmael therefore represents personality. When the imagination is enslaved by personality, its scope as a spiritual factor is extremely limited.
Why did Jacob love Joseph more than his other sons? Because he was the son of Rachel whom Jacob truly loved. The intellect (Jacob) loves the soul phase of the pure natural life in the organism of man (Rachel) and it loves the imagination also, which springs from the soul.
With respect to the imagination what does Egypt represent? In the body consciousness it represents the subjective or subconscious mind. The “practical” person may thrust all his imaginings into the subconscious and refuse to give them any play in the conscious mind.
Why could Reuben not save Joseph from the pit? Because he trusted the other brothers too far and therefore failed to watch them; so they outwitted him. Reuben represents the faith in its aspect of discernment. He saw what his brothers intended at first to do to Joseph. Faith alone cannot restore the imagination to its proper place in the activity of the intellect.
How does the imagination become more powerful for good than the other faculties? Through strict self-discipline and constructive use in combination with faith in God as ever present.
What is one of the chief secrets in man's mastery over life? The right choice of images. We must choose what we wish to bring into manifestation and continue to picture it faithfully in thought.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 01-04-2014