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Genesis 37:18-36

Joseph’s brothers sell him to slave traders.

Betrayed Brother


Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime. Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.
(Genesis 37:26-28)


The brothers were worried about bearing the guilt of Joseph’s death. Judah suggested an option that was not right but would leave them innocent of murder. Although Joseph’s brothers didn’t kill him outright, they probably didn’t expect him to survive for long as a slave. They were quite willing to let cruel slave traders do their dirty work for them. Joseph faced a thirty-day journey through the desert, probably chained and on foot. He would be treated like baggage and, once in Egypt, would be sold as a piece of merchandise. His brothers thought they would never see him again. Sometimes we jump at a solution because it is the lesser of two evils but still is not the right action to take. When someone proposes a seemingly workable solution, first ask, “Is it right?”

Could jealousy ever make you feel like killing someone? Before saying, “Of course not,” look at this story. Ten men were willing to kill their younger brother over a robe and a few reported dreams. Their deep jealousy had grown into ugly rage, completely blinding them to what was right. Left unchecked, jealousy grows quickly and can lead us into more serious sins in attempts to lessen our jealousy. Joseph’s brothers thought their jealousy would be resolved by getting rid of Joseph. The longer you cultivate jealous feelings, the more difficult it is to uproot them. The time to deal with jealousy is when you notice yourself keeping score of others’ recognition, awards, and achievements.


Envy and jealousy can eat a person alive, destroy relationships, and lead to unthinkable acts. Ask God to help you keep your eyes on him and not worry about others’ achievements, honors, and possessions.

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