1 Now Jacob lived in the land of Canaan, where his father sojourned.
2 And these are his generations. Joseph, when he was sixteen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers, when he was still a boy. And he was with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, the wives of his father. And he accused his brothers to their father of a most sinful crime.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph above all his sons, because he had conceived him in his old age. And he made him a tunic, woven of many colors.
4 Then his brothers, seeing that he was loved by his father more than all his other sons, hated him, and they were not able to say anything peacefully to him.
5 Then it also happened that he recounted the vision of a dream to his brothers, for which reason a greater hatred began to be nurtured.
6 And he said to them, "Listen to my dream that I saw.
7 I thought we were binding sheaves in the field. And my sheaf seemed to rise up and stand, and your sheaves, standing in a circle, reverenced my sheaf."
8 His brothers responded: "Would you be our king? Or will we be subject to your dominion?" Therefore, this matter of his dreams and words provided kindling to their envy and hatred.
9 Likewise, he saw another dream, which he explained to his brothers, saying, "I saw by a dream, as if the sun, and the moon, and eleven stars were reverencing me."
10 And when he had related this to his father and brothers, his father rebuked him, and he said: "What does it mean to you, this dream that you have seen? Should I, and your mother, and your brothers reverence you upon the earth?"
11 Therefore, his brothers were envious of him. Yet truly, his father considered the matter silently.
12 And while his brothers were lodging at Shechem, pasturing their father's flocks,
13 Israel said to him: "Your brothers are pasturing the sheep at Shechem. Come, I will send you to them." And when he answered,
14 "I am ready," he said to him, "Go, and see if everything is prospering with your brothers and the cattle, and report to me what is happening." So, having been sent from the valley of Hebron, he arrived at Shechem.
15 And a man found him wandering in a field, and he asked him what he was seeking.
16 So he responded: "I seek my brothers. Tell me where they pasture the flocks."
17 And the man said to him: "They have withdrawn from this place. But I heard them saying, 'Let us go to Dothan.' " Therefore, Joseph continued on after his brothers, and he found them at Dothan.
18 And, when they had seen him from afar, before he approached them, they decided to kill him.
19 And they said one to another: "Behold, the dreamer approaches.
20 Come, let us kill him and cast him into the old cistern. And let us say: 'an evil wild beast has devoured him.' And then it will become apparent what his dreams will do for him."
21 But Reuben, on hearing this, strove to free him from their hands, and he said:
22 "Do not take away his life, nor shed blood. But throw him into this cistern, which is in the wilderness, and so keep your hands harmless." But he said this, wanting to rescue him from their hands, so as to return him to his father.
23 And so, as soon as he came to his brothers, they very quickly stripped him of his tunic, which was ankle-length and woven of many colors,
24 and they cast him into an old cistern, which held no water.
25 And sitting down to eat bread, they saw some Ishmaelites, travelers coming from Gilead, with their camels, carrying spices, and resin, and oil of myrrh into Egypt.
26 Therefore, Judah said to his brothers: "What will it profit us, if we kill our brother and conceal his blood?
27 It is better that he be sold to the Ishmaelites, and then our hands will not be defiled. For he is our brother and our flesh." His brothers agreed to his words.
28 And when the Midianite merchants were passing by, they drew him from the cistern, and they sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And these led him into Egypt.
29 And Reuben, returning to the cistern, did not find the boy.
30 And rending his garments, he went to his brothers and said, "The boy is not present, and so where shall I go?"
31 Then they took his tunic, and they dipped it in the blood of a young goat, which they had killed,
32 sending those who carried it to their father, and they said: "We found this. See whether it is the tunic of your son or not."
33 And when the father acknowledged it, he said: "It is the tunic of my son. An evil wild beast has eaten him; a beast has devoured Joseph."
34 And tearing his garments, he was clothed in haircloth, mourning his son for a long time.
35 Then, when all of his sons gathered together to ease their father's sorrow, he was not willing to accept consolation, but he said: "I will descend in mourning to my son in the underworld." And while he persevered in weeping,
36 the Midianites in Egypt sold Joseph to Potiphar, a eunuch of Pharaoh, instructor of the soldiers.
Joseph is sold by his brothers as a slave
Joseph and his brothers
1Jacob lived in the land of Canaan, where his father Isaac had lived, 2and this is the story of his family.
When Jacob's son Joseph was seventeen years old, he took care of the sheep with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah.#37.2 Bilhah and Zilpah: See 30.1-13. But he was always telling his father all sorts of bad things about his brothers.
3Jacob loved Joseph more than he did any of his other sons, because Joseph was born after Jacob was very old. Jacob had given Joseph a fine coat#37.3 fine coat: Or “a coat of many colours” or “a coat with long sleeves”. 4to show that he was his favourite son, and so Joseph's brothers hated him and would not be friendly to him.
5One day, Joseph told his brothers what he had dreamed, and they hated him even more. 6Joseph said, “Let me tell you about my dream. 7We were out in the field, tying up bundles of wheat. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles gathered around and bowed down to it.”
8His brothers asked, “Do you really think you are going to be king and rule over us?” Now they hated Joseph more than ever because of what he had said about his dream.
9Joseph later had another dream, and he told his brothers, “Listen to what else I dreamed. The sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowed down to me.”
10When he told his father about this dream, his father became angry and said, “What's that supposed to mean? Are your mother and I and your brothers all going to come and bow down in front of you?” 11Joseph's brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept wondering about the dream.#Ac 7.9.
Joseph is sold and taken to Egypt
12One day when Joseph's brothers had taken the sheep to a pasture near Shechem, 13his father Jacob said to him, “I want you to go to your brothers. They are with the sheep near Shechem.”
“Yes, sir,” Joseph answered.
14His father said, “Go and find out how your brothers and the sheep are doing. Then come back and let me know.” So he sent him from Hebron Valley.
Joseph was near Shechem 15and wandering through the fields, when a man asked, “What are you looking for?”
16Joseph answered, “I'm looking for my brothers who are watching the sheep. Can you tell me where they are?”
17“They're not here any more,” the man replied. “I overheard them say they were going to Dothan.”
Joseph left and found his brothers in Dothan. 18But before he got there, they saw him coming and made plans to kill him. 19They said to one another, “Look, here comes the hero of those dreams! 20Let's kill him and throw him into a pit and say that some wild animal ate him. Then we'll see what happens to those dreams.”
21Reuben heard this and tried to protect Joseph from them. “Let's not kill him,” he said. 22“Don't murder him or even harm him. Just throw him into a dry well out here in the desert.” Reuben planned to rescue Joseph later and take him back to his father.
23When Joseph came to his brothers, they pulled off his fine coat#37.23 fine coat: Or “a coat of many colours” or “a coat with long sleeves”. 24and threw him into a dry well.
25As Joseph's brothers sat down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with all kinds of spices that they were taking to Egypt. 26So Judah said, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and hide his body? 27Let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not harm him. After all, he is our brother.” And the others agreed.
28When the Midianite merchants came by, Joseph's brothers took him out of the well, and for twenty pieces of silver they sold him to the Ishmaelites#37.28 Midianite…Ishmaelites: According to 25.1,2,12 both the Midianites and the Ishmaelites were descendants of Abraham, and in Judges 8.22-24 the two names are used of the same people. It is possible that in this passage “Ishmaelite” has the meaning “nomadic traders”, while “Midianite” refers to their ethnic origin. who took him to Egypt.#Ac 7.9.
29When Reuben returned to the well and did not find Joseph there, he tore his clothes in sorrow. 30Then he went back to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone! What am I going to do?”
31Joseph's brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph's fine coat in its blood. 32After this, they took the coat to their father and said, “We found this! Look at it carefully and see if it belongs to your son.”
33Jacob knew it was Joseph's coat and said, “It's my son's coat! Joseph has been torn to pieces and eaten by some wild animal.”
34Jacob mourned for Joseph a long time, and to show his sorrow he tore his clothes and wore sackcloth.#37.34 sackcloth: A rough dark-coloured cloth made from goat or camel hair and used to make grain sacks. It was worn in times of trouble or sorrow. 35All Jacob's children came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will go to my grave, mourning for my son.” So Jacob kept on grieving.
36Meanwhile, the Midianites had sold Joseph in Egypt to a man named Potiphar, who was the king's#37.36 the king's: See the note at 12.15. official in charge of the palace guard.
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