5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
Joseph’s dream is full of foreshadowing. The most obvious interpretation is that he will become the greatest of them all and that his brothers will bow to him. However it is also significant that this was all portrayed through sheaves in a field, because the way that Joseph comes into power is that the pharaoh of Egypt entrusts him with the stores of grain, which he distributes and sells at a time of famine. Joseph will have plenty while his brothers’ stores run dry, and they will come and make obeisance to him as they seek to buy his grain.
Also, I think it is significant that they are all working in a field in this dream. This seems representative of one’s life work, of the yield one reaps from what they have sown. Joseph’s hands will be fruitful, everything that he touches will flourish and grow. Meanwhile his brothers are sowing evil and will never reap as he will.
All of Joseph’s brothers derided the dream. It was too much to accept that their brother, indeed their younger brother, would be able to rule over them all. It is an immature and narrow-sighted aspect of youth, that a difference of a few years seems to be of great importance. They didn’t realize that after time, five years’ seniority or even twenty years’ seniority means absolutely nothing at all. Eventually it is quality, not seniority, that rises to the top.