It would be a rare person who does not know about Joseph’s coat of many colors. Let’s consider the setting for a moment.
“Now 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 colours” Genesis 37:3.
While perhaps the sweet, God-fearing Joseph was not ill-affected by this gift, it had a profound effect on his brothers. Such a coat was one of distinction. Dad Jacob (Israel) was playing favorites in a very visible way.
“And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him” verse 4. That symbol of preference given to Joseph was later stripped from him by the angry brothers.
Fast forward to Joseph’s position in Potiphar’s household in Egypt. As the man’s wife attempts to seduce noble Joseph, “ she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out” Genesis 39:12.
A second coat lost but worth the loss in order to maintain his integrity.
More time passes and we find that the Pharaoh of Egypt had some disturbing dreams that no one could interpret.
His forgetful butler referred him to Joseph who was given divine enlightenment to not only interpret the dreams of coming famine but also to make sound recommendations as to needed preparations.
“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck” Genesis 41:41, 42.
Take note of his garments – fine linen. In the Bible fine linen is always associated with distinction whether royalty or priestly.
The predicted famine arrived and Joseph’s brothers, who traveled to Egypt seeking food, had been shocked and frightened to learn that it was truly their brother Joseph who held their lives in his hands.
How did he respond? By abundant pardon. “To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment” Genesis 45:22.
How ironic that those who stripped his coat from him are now being clothed by him. This was a picture of grace -- a symbol of the grace God extends to each of us.
“For he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” Isaiah 61:10.