37 Jacob lived in the land of Canaan, where his father Isaac had lived, 2 and 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.[a] But he was always telling his father all sorts of bad things about his brothers.
3 Jacob 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 fancy coat[b]4 to show that he was his favorite son, and so Joseph’s brothers hated him and would not be friendly to him.
Genesis 37:12-28Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Joseph Is Sold and Taken to Egypt
12 One day when Joseph’s brothers had taken the sheep to a pasture near Shechem, 13 his father Jacob said to him, “I want you to go to your brothers. They are with the sheep near Shechem.”
“Yes, sir,” Joseph answered.
14 His 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 15 and wandering through the fields, when a man asked, “What are you looking for?”
16 Joseph answered, “I’m looking for my brothers who are watching the sheep. Can you tell me where they are?”
17 “They’re not here anymore,” the man replied. “I overheard them say they were going to Dothan.”
Joseph left and found his brothers in Dothan. 18 But before he got there, they saw him coming and made plans to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Look, here comes the hero of those dreams! 20 Let’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.”
21 Reuben 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.
23 When Joseph came to his brothers, they pulled off his fancy coat[a]24 and threw him into a dry well.
25 As 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. 26 So Judah said, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and hide his body? 27 Let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not harm him. After all, he is our brother.” And the others agreed.
28 When 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[b] who took him to Egypt.
37.3,23fancy coat: Or “a coat of many colors” or “a coat with long sleeves.”
37.28Midianite. . . 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.
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