Abuse Examples in the Bible

“Abuse Examples In The Bible”
Genesis 37:1-4


  • Last week, we studied in our Sunday school class about “Four Kinds of Abuse.” 1. Emotional, 2. Physical, 3. Spiritual, and 4. Sexual abuse.
  • This week let us look at some examples of people being abused in the Bible.


I. Emotional and Physical Abuse

  A) To Joseph’s brothers and Joseph

  • Look into Genesis 37:1-4….
  • What was the “emotional abuse” to Joseph’s brothers in these verses?
  • The answer is found in verse 3…Now Israel(Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his children,
  • Jacob loved Joseph “more.” When we show favoritism to one more than another it will cause others to be emotionally abused and unhappy.
  • Joseph’s brothers caused Joseph to be emotionally abused because (verse 4) “…they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
  • This abuse was all Jacob’s fault.

B) Joseph’s Physical abuse

  • Look now into verses 5-10….
  • It started with Joseph having a dream. There was nothing wrong with this dream. God was simply showing Joseph His plans for the future.
  • I believe that Joseph should have kept his mouth shut and not told His brothers about his dreams. Why? Look at verses 5, and 8…and they hated him yet the more.
  • Joseph told them about his dream and they hated him more. They already hated him because he was “Daddy’s favorite son.” Now they hate him more.
  • What were the dreams about?
  1. Dream one- Joseph’s sheaf (stacks of wheat) stood up in the field and his brothers sheaves(stacks of wheat) were all bowing down (as in worship) to Joseph’s sheaf. (verses 6, 7)
  2. Dream two– Note verse 9…behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance(bowed down) to me. In this verse the “sun and moon” represent His parents and the “11 stars” represent his eleven brothers. (10)
    Now read verses 12-20… Here is the “emotional abuse” of the brothers that will result in “physical abuse” to Joseph.
  • Remember the “emotional abuse” to the brothers was Joseph’s dreams.
  • Now, the “physical abuse” is being planned by the brothers.
  • What is the “physical abuse?” Verse 18…they conspired against him to slay (kill) The physical abuse was deadly. They were planning to kill him.
  • God always protects His sheep.
  • Let us remember that when we are abused by others. God will provide (give) protection and healing of abuse.
  • Look at God’s plan in verse 21-22.. And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; One of the eleven brothers stood up for Joseph and protected him from being killed. God convicted Reuben to not do this bad abuse(sin) against his brother. So now Reuben must convince His brothers to not abuse(sin) against their brother.
  • Here is the “physical abuse” to Joseph in verses 23-27…
  • His brothers dug a big hole (pit) and threw Joseph in it without water to drink when he became thirsty.
  • They also stript (steal) his coat of many colors.

 C) Mental abuse to the father (Jacob/Israel)

  • Physical and emotional abuse always leads to mental abuse.”
  • Look at what the brothers did in verse…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.
  • These brothers got together and killed a baby goat and smeared blood all over the coat to make it look like a wild beast had killed their brother Joseph. Then they took the coat to their dad (Jacob), and put on a big drama. If you put on a big enough show, and you are good actors, you can fool many people.
  • We need to know “WHY” the brothers did this.
  1. They did it because they were jealous of their father’s love for Joseph.
  2. They abused Jacob (their father) so that the father would spend more time with them now since Joseph is gone and out of the picture.
  3. They may have thought that Jacob would think that God allowed this beast to kill Joseph out of a judgement upon him for some wrong doing, therefore Jacob should know how bad a child Joseph really was.  
  • Note the reaction now of the father… verse 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(tore up) his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins(hips), and mourned(cried and felt sorry) for his son many days.
  • It says “for many days” Jacob cried and wouldn’t eat, and had a sad face, and blamed himself for the death of his favorite son.
  • 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.
  • Notice up in verse 35, that all of Jacob’s sons and daughters tried to comfort (make him feel better), but it didn’t work.
  • This is normal for someone who is abused. They refuse help, and think they can deal with it on their own.
  • Finally Jacob says, I will go to my grave crying and dealing with this pain of the loss of my son. 
  • Of course we know, that later Joseph is sold as a slave and then made leader in Egypt after interpreting dreams for the King. Then he will see His father again.
  • But a gracious God wanted his servant Jacob to see his son before he died in Genesis 45:27… the spirit of Jacob their father revived: 28) And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.”
  • God can heal abuse. Sometimes it will take many years because of our stubbornness but he will reveal the truth eventually.
  • Jacob could have investigated his son’s death and ordered the brothers to bring Joseph’s body to him. But he didn’t.
  • Jacob could have secretly had his daughters do the investigating. Because you know when your son’s behavior isn’t honest. I mean, come on folks… This wasn’t the first time these boys lied to their father, this isn’t the first time they told a huge story. He knew his sons behavior patterns. He’s not that stupid.
  • Sometime people set themselves up for abuse.
  • Sometimes people are abused because they have no backbone. They won’t stand up for themselves or their belief.
  • What about you sitting here in the church building today… What abuse have you suffered? What abuse have you done to others? Let us come to the altar and ask God to forgive us or forgive someone else for abusing you.
  • Don’t be like Jacob and wait until you die to get the matter of abuse resolved.
  • Do it today!