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Joseph the Dreamer

37 Jacob stayed and lived in the land of Canaan. This is the same land where his father had lived. This is the story of Jacob’s family.

Joseph was a young man, 17 years old. His job was to take care of the sheep and the goats. Joseph did this work with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah. (Bilhah and Zilpah were his father’s wives.) Joseph told his father about the bad things that his brothers did. Joseph was born at a time when his father Israel was very old, so Israel loved him more than he loved his other sons. Jacob gave him a special coat, which was long and very beautiful.[a] When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than he loved them, they hated their brother because of this. They refused to say nice things to him.

One time Joseph had a special dream. Later, he told his brothers about this dream, and after that his brothers hated him even more.

Joseph said, “I had a dream. We were all working in the field, tying stacks of wheat together. Then my stack got up. It stood there while all of your stacks of wheat made a circle around mine and bowed down to it.”

His brothers said, “Do you think this means that you will be a king and rule over us?” His brothers hated Joseph more now because of the dreams he had about them.

Then Joseph had another dream, and he told his brothers about it. He said, “I had another dream. I saw the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowing down to me.”

10 Joseph also told his father about this dream, but his father criticized him. His father said, “What kind of dream is this? Do you believe that your mother, your brothers, and I will bow down to you?” 11 Joseph’s brothers continued to be jealous of him, but his father thought about all these things and wondered what they could mean.

12 One day Joseph’s brothers went to Shechem to care for their father’s sheep. 13 Jacob said to Joseph, “Go to Shechem. Your brothers are there with my sheep.”

Joseph answered, “I will go.”

14 His father said, “Go and see if your brothers are safe. Come back and tell me if my sheep are all fine.” So Joseph’s father sent him from the Valley of Hebron to Shechem.

15 At Shechem, Joseph got lost. A man found him wandering in the fields. The man said, “What are you looking for?”

16 Joseph answered, “I am looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are with their sheep?”

17 The man said, “They have already gone away. I heard them say that they were going to Dothan.” So Joseph followed his brothers and found them in Dothan.

Joseph Sold Into Slavery

18 Joseph’s brothers saw him coming from far away. They decided to make a plan to kill him. 19 They said to each other, “Here comes Joseph the dreamer. 20 We should kill him now while we can. We could throw his body into one of the empty wells and tell our father that a wild animal killed him. Then we will show him that his dreams are useless.”

21 But Reuben wanted to save Joseph. He said, “Let’s not kill him. 22 We can put him into a well without hurting him.” Reuben planned to save Joseph and send him back to his father. 23 When Joseph came to his brothers, they attacked him and tore off his long and beautiful coat. 24 Then they threw him into an empty well that was dry.

25 While Joseph was in the well, the brothers sat down to eat. They looked up and saw a group of traders[b] traveling from Gilead to Egypt. Their camels were carrying many different spices and riches. 26 So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit will we get if we kill our brother and hide his death? 27 We will profit more if we sell him to these traders. Then we will not be guilty of killing our own brother.” The other brothers agreed. 28 When the Midianite traders came by, the brothers took Joseph out of the well and sold him to the traders for 20 pieces of silver. The traders took him to Egypt.

29 Reuben had been gone, but when he came back to the well, he saw that Joseph was not there. He tore his clothes to show that he was upset. 30 Reuben went to the brothers and said, “The boy is not in the well! What will I do?” 31 The brothers killed a goat and put the goat’s blood on Joseph’s beautiful coat. 32 Then the brothers showed the coat to their father. And the brothers said, “We found this coat. Is this Joseph’s coat?”

33 His father saw the coat and knew that it was Joseph’s. He said, “Yes, that is his! Maybe some wild animal has killed him. My son Joseph has been eaten by a wild animal!” 34 Jacob was so sorry about his son that he tore his clothes. Then Jacob put on special clothes to show that he was sad. He continued to be sad about his son for a long time. 35 All of Jacob’s sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but Jacob was never comforted. He said, “I will be sad about my son until the day I die.” So Jacob continued to mourn his son Joseph.

36 The Midianite traders later sold Joseph in Egypt. They sold him to Potiphar, an officer of the king of Egypt and the captain of his palace guards.

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 37:3 beautiful The Hebrew means “striped,” or possibly, “many colored.”
  2. Genesis 37:25 traders Literally, “Ishmaelites.”

Joseph’s Dreams

37 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed,(A) the land of Canaan.(B)

This is the account(C) of Jacob’s family line.

Joseph,(D) a young man of seventeen,(E) was tending the flocks(F) with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah(G) and the sons of Zilpah,(H) his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report(I) about them.

Now Israel(J) loved Joseph more than any of his other sons,(K) because he had been born to him in his old age;(L) and he made an ornate[a] robe(M) for him.(N) When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him(O) and could not speak a kind word to him.

Joseph had a dream,(P) and when he told it to his brothers,(Q) they hated him all the more.(R) He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves(S) of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”(T)

His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?”(U) And they hated him all the more(V) because of his dream and what he had said.

Then he had another dream,(W) and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars(X) were bowing down to me.”(Y)

10 When he told his father as well as his brothers,(Z) his father rebuked(AA) him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?”(AB) 11 His brothers were jealous of him,(AC) but his father kept the matter in mind.(AD)

Joseph Sold by His Brothers

12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem,(AE) 13 and Israel(AF) said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem.(AG) Come, I am going to send you to them.”

“Very well,” he replied.

14 So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers(AH) and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.(AI)

When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”

16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?”

17 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.(AJ)’”

So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.(AK)

19 “Here comes that dreamer!(AL)” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns(AM) and say that a ferocious animal(AN) devoured him.(AO) Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”(AP)

21 When Reuben(AQ) heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said.(AR) 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern(AS) here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.(AT)

23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe(AU) he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern.(AV) The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.

25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites(AW) coming from Gilead.(AX) Their camels were loaded with spices, balm(AY) and myrrh,(AZ) and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.(BA)

26 Judah(BB) said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?(BC) 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother,(BD) our own flesh and blood.(BE)” His brothers agreed.

28 So when the Midianite(BF) merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern(BG) and sold(BH) him for twenty shekels[b] of silver(BI) to the Ishmaelites,(BJ) who took him to Egypt.(BK)

29 When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes.(BL) 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?”(BM)

31 Then they got Joseph’s robe,(BN) slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood.(BO) 32 They took the ornate robe(BP) back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.”

33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal(BQ) has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.”(BR)

34 Then Jacob tore his clothes,(BS) put on sackcloth(BT) and mourned for his son many days.(BU) 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him,(BV) but he refused to be comforted.(BW) “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son(BX) in the grave.(BY)” So his father wept for him.

36 Meanwhile, the Midianites[c](BZ) sold Joseph(CA) in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.(CB)

Footnotes

  1. Genesis 37:3 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain; also in verses 23 and 32.
  2. Genesis 37:28 That is, about 8 ounces or about 230 grams
  3. Genesis 37:36 Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint, Vulgate and Syriac (see also verse 28); Masoretic Text Medanites

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