Coat of Many Colors
“The idea of a garment of many colors is an invention. It’s not a garment of many colors at all. A garment of certain marks is the term that should be used. This garment had belonged to Abraham, and it already had a long history. Its history was lengthy because it went back to the Garden of Eden. That’s the garment; it’s the only one. Just as we treat the story of Cain and Abel, we trivialize this. We say, ‘Joseph was the youngest kid, so his father favored him and gave him a pretty garment of many colors.’ There is no mention in any ancient source of a garment of many colors. That’s an invention of modern editors trying to explain it. But here it was the garment he gave him. It was the garment of the priesthood. No wonder they were jealous of him, they being the elder brothers and he the younger in the patriarchal line coming down from Abraham. This garment had belonged to Abraham and had come down to Joseph instead of to the other brethren.”1 They stripped him of his sacred garment — not of many colors, but of sacred markings. Having stripped him of the garment that belonged to the heir and assured him of his exaltation, they cast him into a pit without water.2
1 Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, 4 vols. (American Fork, UT : Covenant Communications, 2004), 3:51–52; quoted in comments to blog post “1 Nephi 14:3–4,” July 6, 2010.
2 “1 Nephi 14:3–4,” July 6, 2010, blog post.