31 ¶ And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; 32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no. 33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. 34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. 35 And 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 into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. 36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard.
Joseph’s coat of many colors is now used to present false evidence that Joseph was killed by a wild animal. As explained previously an evil beast would refer to an animal intent on violence. It would have nothing to do with a supposed moral condition. Evil in this context has to do with an intention of malice and violence, not sin.
The lie worked and Jacob is grieving and like Job, those close to him seek to comfort him to no avail. He states that he will go to his grave mourning for Joseph, who is sold by the traders to an Egyptian officer.
If we create in our minds a spiritual comparison to what happens to Joseph and what happened to Jesus, understanding that types rarely hold up on deep examination, we might muse that the Midianite traders taking Joseph out of the pit are like angels transporting the souls of the dead to their destination.
Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And we know that Jesus went to Hell, which Joseph’s destination, Egypt, is like in type, not to suffer but to preach. (see Deuteronomy 4:20; 1Kings 8:51; and Jeremiah 11:4 for Egypt as an iron furnace.)
1Peter 3:18 ¶ For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
Potiphar is said to be captain of the guard. The Hyksos were a group of Asiatic people who conquered Egypt in antiquity.(46) Some scholars call The Hyksos the Shepherd Kings. I contend, as some scholars do, and we’ll have Biblical evidence later in Exodus, that Joseph and his family came into Egypt under their reign. The Hyksos are said to have ruled through Egyptian vassals who would have worshipped the traditional gods of Egypt and, of course, longed for an Egyptian revival, hating anyone who represented the shepherd economy of Canaan, longing to reestablish authority over not only their own country but Canaan as well. This will explain a couple of statements we will find later in the Bible in other books.
Exodus 1:8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
This native Egyptian pharaoh of Exodus, like the rest of the Egyptians, would have held the shepherds from the area of Canaan in great contempt and hatred. He, or his dynasty, would have reestablished authority over Canaan and so, when the Pharaoh and his army are destroyed in the Red Sea disaster Canaan’s cities would have been without its protector. The Amarna Letters give us an indication that the Canaanite cities were vassals of Egypt and were under great threat around the time of the Exodus without Pharaoh’s army to protect them.(47)
Number 14:9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.
These are just some ideas that will help you connect the dots, so to speak, in the Bible. Apparently, God doesn’t regard them as all that important as He provides no great explanation through Moses, but it is interesting to think about, nonetheless.
(46) History World International, “The Hyksos,” http://history-world.org/hyksos.htm (accessed 3.5.3017).
(47) The History of Israel, “Amarna Letters,” http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/amarna-letters.html (accessed 3.5.2017).