The Significance of Joseph and His Coat of Many Colors

This post is all about Joseph and the coat of many colors

“Coat of many colors.” What does this phrase mean to you? For many people, it simply means a colorful coat. For others, the musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” comes to mind. However, the true meaning behind this phrase is much deeper than that.

In this post, I will explore the biblical story of Joseph and his “coat of many colors.” I will discuss what this phrase actually means and explore the possibility that the coat was not necessarily colorful but one which had long sleeves.🤯 Stay with me as I dive deep into the Bible and uncover the truth about Joseph’s coat and his character!

Ready? Let’s go…

Why I’m writing this post

This blog post is a continuation of my study on Joseph! I’m trying to be a bit creative with the study by splitting it up into different sections because Joseph is one of my favorite bible characters. Well…Joseph and Gideon, but I can’t really pick one over the other. However, I find so much joy in knowing that Gideon is from the tribe of Manasseh, a direct descendant of Joseph! Hooray!

So in case you missed it, I went through a beautiful and emotional journey studying the Goshen blessing, and I detailed it in the post, “The Goshen Blessing: 12 Benefits of Dwelling in Goshen”. I also have a YouTube video as well on that post. But… don’t get sidetracked….read this one first, then head over to the other blog post…pretty please? Hehe.

P.S I’m super glad and honored that you are reading this post. I’m oh so humbled! ❤️

Was it really a coat of many colors?

When we think of the phrase “coat of many colors,” we often envision something colorful and bright. However, the true meaning of this phrase is much more than that. In Hebrew, the phrase “coat of many colors” is actually “Ketonet Passim.”

According to the Israel Biblical Studies, they state the following about the true meaning of Ketonet Passim. They note it is a “long garment, coming down to the “palms” of the hands and the feet, or the material out of which the coat was made (fine wool or silk).” They further suggest this was a type of garment worn by those in a high position or royalty.

So what does this have to do with Joseph’s coat? Well, it would explain why his brothers were so jealous and unhappy that their father had given it to Joseph. They knew this was a garment meant for someone of high status and a reminder of the great favor his father had shown him.  

For those who are totally crushed by this finding out (me included LOL, I love the idea of the colorful coat!)…Know that no matter what the actual color of the coat was, it was still a very special garment and one focal point in Joseph’s story.

Significance of Joseph and his coat of many colors

The significance of Joseph’s coat is one that is often overlooked.

Let’s review the significance…

1. A symbol of his birthright

After Reuben lost his birthright due to his own transgressions…Jacob considered Joseph as his heir. Joseph was given a double portion of his father’s inheritance (Genesis 48:22). This meant that he would receive twice as much land, money, and possessions as his brothers. Yep! the coat of many colors was a physical representation of this birthright. It showed that Joseph was the favored son and that he had a special place in his father’s heart.

2. Unique and different

Joseph’s coat stood out in a world where everyone wore plain, simple clothes. It caught people’s attention. This uniqueness led to Joseph’s brothers becoming jealous of him and eventually selling him into slavery (Genesis 37:28).

3. God’s favor in Joseph’s life

When Jacob gave Joseph the coat, he did so with the intention of showing his love and favor towards him (Genesis 37:3). This is the same favor God had over Joseph. Joseph’s life was blessed in many ways. He was able to interpret dreams, which saved his family from famine (Genesis 41:1-57). He also rose to a position of power in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself (Genesis 41:41). All of these things resulted from God’s favor on Joseph’s life.

4. Pointed to the future (foreshadowing)

When Jacob gave Joseph the coat, he did so with the knowledge that his second youngest son (Joseph) would one day rule over his brothers (Genesis 37:5-11). This came to pass when Joseph became the governor/ prime minister of Egypt, and his brothers came to him begging for food during the famine (Genesis 42:6). In this way, the coat was a sign of things to come.

5. Sign of God’s protection

Throughout Joseph’s life, he went through many difficult experiences. He was sold into slavery, and thrown into prison (Genesis 37:12-36; 39:1-20). But in every situation, God was with Joseph and protected him. This is seen most clearly when Potiphar’s wife tried to accuse Joseph falsely. Even though he was innocent, he could have been put to death if it were not for God’s intervention (Genesis 39:21-23). In the same way, God has promises to protect us from all evil and to always be with us (Psalm 23:4; 91:4).

I am also reminded of the verse, 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Friends, if you feel that everything in your life is going awry, rest in the fact that God will protect you and help you navigate through life’s trials. (also read Romans 8:28)

6. God’s love for Joseph

Throughout Joseph’s life he experienced both good times and bad times. But even in the midst of difficulties, his father never stopped loving him. This is seen most clearly when Jacob gave Joseph the coat despite his other sons being jealous of him (Genesis 37:3). This act parallels the love of God- Jacob loved Joseph unconditionally, just as God loves us (John 3:16; Romans 8:38-39).

7. Picture of Jesus

The final and most significant symbolism the coat parallels a significant event in Jesus’ life. Why do I say this? In many ways, Joseph prefigured the work of Christ on our behalf. I will discuss more of this in the next section.

How Joseph is a type of Christ (seeing Jesus in the story of Joseph)

seeing jesus in the story of joseph

Did you know that the story of Joseph is a type of the story of Jesus? There are many parallels between the two, which is why Joseph is often called a “type” of Christ.

Here are some quick parallels:

1. Both Joseph and Jesus were shepherds

The story of Joseph begins with him being a shepherd, looking after his father’s sheep (Genesis 37:2). This is significant because shepherds were often looked down upon in society. They were considered to be among the lowest classes of people. But Jesus also came from a humble background, as He was born in a stable and was himself The Good Shepherd (John 10:11). Despite their humble beginnings, both Joseph and Jesus would do great things.

2. Loved by their fathers

Although Joseph was one of the youngest of Jacob’s sons, Jacob loved him more than any of the others. This caused Joseph’s brothers to hate him because they were jealous of Jacob’s love for him. Similarly, Jesus was the beloved Son of God (Matthew 3:17). Some people did not believe in him at first but eventually came to accept him as the Messiah (John 7:5).

3. Hated by their brethren

As we mentioned before, Joseph’s brothers hated him because their father loved him more than them. They even plotted to kill him at one point! But Jesus was also hated, even though he had done nothing wrong (John 15:18-27). People were jealous of his power and authority and eventually crucified him.

4. Sought the welfare of others

Even though Joseph’s brothers hated him, he still cared for their welfare. When they were out in the field tending the sheep, and there was a famine in the land, Joseph went to check on them to make sure all is well (Genesis 37:14). Similarly, Jesus went out of his way to help others. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and taught about God’s love.

5. People conspired against them

As we mentioned before, Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him. Jesus’ enemies also conspired against him. They planned to have him arrested and put to death (Mark 14:1).

6. Acts of service

Although Joseph was loved by his father, he was still a servant in his household. He did not let this stop him from doing his duty. When he was sold into slavery by his brothers, he continued to serve faithfully, even though he was treated unjustly (Genesis 39:2-3, 20). Jesus also came to serve others rather than to be served (Mark 10:45). He washed his disciples’ feet and taught them that the greatest among them would be the servant of all (John 13:14-15).

Mark 10:45- “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ❤️

7. Falsely accused and persecuted

They were both falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife. Jesus was also falsely accused. He was accused of blasphemy and stirring up the people (Luke 23:2). And even though He had done nothing wrong, He was still persecuted.

8. Experienced betrayal

Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus by leading the authorities to him so that they could arrest him (Matthew 26:14-16). This led to Jesus’ crucifixion. Joseph also experienced betrayal when his brothers sold him into slavery. Despite this, he continued to forgive them and show them mercy (Genesis 50:15-21), just as Jesus forgives sins (Matthew 9:1-8,Mark 2:1-12)

9. Rejected by their own people

Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous of him. And even though he became a great man in Egypt, his own brothers did not recognize him when they came to live there during the famine. Similarly, Jesus was rejected by his own people (Jews), even though He had come to save them.

10. “Rose up”

Despite all the adversity Joseph faced, he eventually rose to power in Egypt and became second in command under Pharaoh (Genesis 41:41-43). And Jesus, despite being crucified, rose from the dead and was given authority over all things (Matthew 28:18).

11. Obedient to God

Joseph was obedient to God, even when it meant suffering unjustly at the hands of his brothers or being sold into slavery. And Jesus was obedient, even when it meant going to the cross (Philippians 2:8).

12. Forgave those who wronged them

As we mentioned before, Joseph forgave his brothers even though they had sold him into slavery. And Jesus forgave those who crucified him, even though they had done so unjustly (Luke 23:34).

13. Stripped

 They both had their clothes stripped from them. Joseph’s brothers took his coat and threw him into a pit (Genesis 37:23). Jesus’ clothes were also stripped from him when he was crucified (Mark 15:24).

14. Salvation

They both save(d) others. Joseph saved his family from starvation by going to Egypt and getting food for them (Genesis 45:5-7). Jesus saved us from our sins by dying on the cross (John 3:16).

These are just a few ways that Joseph was a type of Christ. As you can see, they both experienced many of the same things, even though their stories unfolded thousands of years apart. What an amazing God we serve! He is a God of history who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). May we always remember that He is in control, no matter what happens in this world.

Joseph and purpose

One of the most striking things about Joseph’s story is that he was a shepherd before he rose the ranks to become the prime minister of Egypt- second in command to the Pharaoh. Just as David was a shepherd boy before becoming a great King, Joseph too was a shepherd. This shows us that we need to be good stewards.

This sooo spoke to me and my journey. We will always start from somewhere and, often, from humble beginnings. Folks, don’t despise your humble beginnings! Be faithful with the little. Trust God and lean not on your own understanding. Yield to the Almighty God and watch him write your beautiful story.

Bible Verses About Joseph’s life and favor

These verses resonate with Joseph’s story so much…

Genesis 37:3-4 – Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

Genesis 39:21 – The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered; he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.

Psalm 105:17-19 – He sent a man before them- Joseph-who was sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in an iron collar. Until the time came to fulfill his word, the LORD tested Joseph’s character.

Proverbs 22:29 – Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.

James 2:5 – Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

Proverbs 18:6 A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men.

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Ephesians 1:4-6 – For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Prayer for Joseph’s favor

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your great favor and love. Thank you for choosing us to be your children and heirs of your kingdom. Be magnified because you have called us by name and set us apart for your good works.

We pray that you will continue to show us your favor and help us to walk in obedience to your will. We know that you have a plan and purpose for our lives, and we want to follow you with all of our hearts.

Help us to remember the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors and how you showed him great favor among his brothers. May we also realize that we are your favored children, chosen by you for your good works.

We love you, Lord, and thank you for your great favor.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

And that’s it, folks, Joseph and his coat of many colors

In conclusion, Joseph’s coat of many colors was a significant garment. It was a physical and spiritual representation of many essential things in the Old and New Testaments. I’m praying that this blog post has helped you understand this special coat’s significance!

P.S The YouTube video on Joseph’s coat goes live 12/5/2022! I already recorded it.


Heather Chesiyna_Signature_MOS

6 thoughts on “The Significance of Joseph and His Coat of Many Colors”

  1. Learnt a lot from this post. I always thought it was many colours but as you said it was still a special one that held significance.
    The parallels between Jesus and Joseph being a type of Christ was interesting to read and I agree God has his ways of showing us things in history.
    The part that touched me a lot was Joseph and his purpose, a reminder to be good stewards of whatever God has placed in our lives at the moment. Sometimes we keep thinking about doing more but let’s be diligent with the basket we have in our hands right now.
    Thank you Heather. Blessings my friend 💙🤗💐

    • Hello Manu, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree, we truly have to be stewards with whatever God has given us or as you said, “what we have in our hands right now.” God bless you my sister.


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