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Genesis 37

37
Joseph Dreams of Greatness
1Now Jacob dwelt in the land #Gen. 17:8; 23:4; 28:4; 36:7; Heb. 11:9where his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. 2This is the history of Jacob.
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a #Gen. 35:25, 26; 1 Sam. 2:22–24bad report of them to his father.
3Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was #Gen. 44:20the son of his old age. Also he #Gen. 37:23, 32; Judg. 5:30; 1 Sam. 2:19made him a tunic of many colors. 4But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they #Gen. 27:41; 49:23; 1 Sam. 17:28; John 15:18–20hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.
5Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. 6So he said to them, “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: 7#Gen. 42:6, 9; 43:26; 44:14There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.”
8And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
9Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, #Gen. 46:29; 47:25the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.”
10So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and #Gen. 27:29your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?” 11And #Matt. 27:17, 18; Acts 7:9his brothers envied him, but his father #Dan. 7:28; Luke 2:19, 51kept the matter in mind.
Joseph Sold by His Brothers
12Then his brothers went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. 13And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers feeding the flock in #Gen. 33:18–20Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.”
So he said to him, “Here I am.”
14Then he said to him, “Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks, and bring back word to me.” So he sent him out of the Valley of #Gen. 13:18; 23:2, 19; 35:27; Josh. 14:14, 15; Judg. 1:10Hebron, and he went to Shechem.
15Now a certain man found him, and there he was, wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying, “What are you seeking?”
16So he said, “I am seeking my brothers. #Song 1:7Please tell me where they are feeding their flocks.
17And the man said, “They have departed from here, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’ ” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in #2 Kin. 6:13Dothan.
18Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, #1 Sam. 19:1; Ps. 31:13; 37:12, 32; Matt. 21:38; 26:3, 4; 27:1; Mark 14:1; John 11:53; Acts 23:12they conspired against him to kill him. 19Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! 20#Gen. 37:22; Prov. 1:11Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams!”
21But #Gen. 42:22Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, “Let us not kill him.” 22And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him”—that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father.
23So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they #Matt. 27:28stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. 24Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it.
25#Prov. 30:20And they sat down to eat a meal. Then they lifted their eyes and looked, and there was a company of #Gen. 16:11, 12; 37:28, 36; 39:1Ishmaelites, coming from Gilead with their camels, bearing spices, #Jer. 8:22balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry them down to Egypt. 26So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and #Gen. 37:20conceal his blood? 27Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and #1 Sam. 18:17let not our hand be upon him, for he is #Gen. 42:21our brother and #Gen. 29:14our flesh.” And his brothers listened. 28Then #Gen. 37:25; Judg. 6:1–3; 8:22, 24Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, #Gen. 45:4, 5; Ps. 105:17; Acts 7:9and sold him to the Ishmaelites for #Matt. 27:9twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
29Then Reuben returned to the pit, and indeed Joseph was not in the pit; and he #Gen. 37:34; 44:13; Job 1:20tore his clothes. 30And he returned to his brothers and said, “The lad #Gen. 42:13, 36is no more; and I, where shall I go?”
31So they took #Gen. 37:3, 23Joseph’s tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, “We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son’s tunic or not?”
33And he recognized it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A #Gen. 37:20wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.” 34Then Jacob #Gen. 37:29; 2 Sam. 3:31tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and #Gen. 50:10mourned for his son many days. 35And all his sons and all his daughters #2 Sam. 12:17arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, “For #Gen. 25:8; 35:29; 42:38; 44:29, 31I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.
36Now #Gen. 39:1the Midianites had sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard.
37
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.