What did Joseph’s coat really look like???
Translations of Genesis 37:23
New International Version: So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe–the ornate robe he was wearing.
New Living Translation: So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing.
International Standard Version: As it was, when Joseph arrived where his brothers were, they stripped off the tunic that Jacob had given him—that is, the richly-embroidered tunic that he was wearing.
American Standard Version: And 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.
New Revised Standard Version: So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore.
The Message: When Joseph reached his brothers, they ripped off the fancy coat he was wearing.
New King James Version: So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him.
How many colors? What colors? Were there colors at all??? DOES IT MATTER?
If you recently viewed or played the viral game to determine the colors of a particular dress that went online, you know the hues of this dress became a topic of much conversation and interpretation. A trivial post became important—online (through many shares), on talk shows, and even on the nightly news. Now, many people are trying to purchase that dress as a result of its “fame.”
The real importance of this event is how something so insignificant became THE topic of conversation so quickly. It went global via the internet and became a newsworthy item. The question to ask: How can what IS of actual importance—the spreading of God’s Word—be seen as significant and worth sharing by this many people? Should we sensationalize stories of the Bible with online posts showing variations of Joseph’s coat (from different translations of the Bible) and make it a color game that might lead to sharing of the Word?
This is not the way God would have us spread His truth. We can never trivialize His Word. What is trivial never lasts. It is excitement for a little while. The colors of that dress will fade and change; the dress will deteriorate. God’s Word lasts and never fades. It is the same always.
The colors of Joseph’s coat are not important but the coat itself is significant, because this gift evokes feelings of jealousy, resulting in acts of violence by his brothers against him when they view the coat as a symbol of favoritism from their father Jacob. God, then, uses that coat, demonstrating how He can cause a small item to be one of great significance in future events—saving many from famine, giving the example of forgiveness after a grievous wrong, showing how one can rise to a place of importance to make a Godly difference when following Him as a lowly servant, and much more. The description of Joseph’s coat is not a trivial addition in the Word for us to debate for significance, color, or merit. It is an important inclusion, showing the power and authority of God in the design of events in this life.
God has always employed the seemingly small in His larger plans: A rod becomes a tool used to change the hardened heart of a mighty Pharaoh; five loaves and two fish feed 5,000 with leftovers to continue feeding those who hunger; faith the size of a mustard seed moves mountains. God shows us how to spread His Word among the people. He has colored our world with beauty and wonder, not always with spectacle, but often in the smallest of ways. You and I, two of the “smallest of ways,” can make a significant difference in this world. We are the ones who must share His Word, using His ways.
(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/06/15) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word