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Genesis 37Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Joseph’s Dreams

37 Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. These are the family records of Jacob.

At 17 years of age, Joseph tended sheep with his brothers. The young man was working with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought a bad report about them to their father.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was a son born to him in his old age, and he made a robe of many colors[a] for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not bring themselves to speak peaceably to him.

Then Joseph had a dream. When he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: There we were, binding sheaves of grain in the field. Suddenly my sheaf stood up, and your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.”

“Are you really going to reign over us?” his brothers asked him. “Are you really going to rule us?” So they hated him even more because of his dream and what he had said.

Then he had another dream and told it to his brothers. “Look,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun, moon, and 11 stars were bowing down to me.”

10 He told his father and brothers, but his father rebuked him. “What kind of dream is this that you have had?” he said. “Are your mother and brothers and I going to come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

Joseph Sold into Slavery

12 His brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers, you know, are pasturing the flocks at Shechem. Get ready. I’m sending you to them.”

“I’m ready,” Joseph replied.

14 Then Israel said to him, “Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are doing, and bring word back to me.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he went to Shechem.

15 A man found him there, wandering in the field, and asked him, “What are you looking for?”

16 “I’m looking for my brothers,” Joseph said. “Can you tell me where they are pasturing their flocks?”

17 “They’ve moved on from here,” the man said. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph set out after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

18 They saw him in the distance, and before he had reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes that dreamer![b] 20 Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of the pits. We can say that a vicious animal ate him. Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”

21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to save him from them.[c] He said, “Let’s not take his life.” 22 Reuben also said to them, “Don’t shed blood. Throw him into this pit in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him”—intending to rescue him from their hands and return him to his father.

23 When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped off his robe, the robe of many colors that he had on. 24 Then they took him and threw him into the pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.

25 Then they sat down to eat a meal. They looked up, and there was a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were carrying aromatic gum, balsam, and resin, going down to Egypt.

26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay a hand on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh,” and they agreed. 28 When Midianite traders passed by, his brothers pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him for 20 pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took Joseph to Egypt.

29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone! What am I going to do?”[d] 31 So they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a young goat, and dipped the robe in its blood. 32 They sent the robe of many colors to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it. Is it your son’s robe or not?”

33 His father recognized it. “It is my son’s robe,” he said. “A vicious animal has devoured him. Joseph has been torn to pieces!” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth around his waist, and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said. “I will go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” And his father wept for him.

36 Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the guard.


  1. Genesis 37:3 Or robe with long sleeves
  2. Genesis 37:19 Lit comes the lord of the dreams
  3. Genesis 37:21 Lit their hands
  4. Genesis 37:30 Lit And I, where am I going

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