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Bereshis 37

37
1And Ya'akov dwelt in the eretz megurei Aviv (in the land wherein his father was a ger) in Eretz Canaan. 2These are the toldot Ya'akov. Yosef, being seventeen years old, was ro'eh with his achim to the tzon; now the na'ar was with the bnei Bilhah, and with the bnei Zilpah, the ne'shei Aviv (the wives of his father); and Yosef brought unto Avihem (their father) dibbatam ra'ah (a bad, evil report of them). 3Now Yisroel loved Yosef more than all his children, because he was the ben zekunim (the son of his old age); and he made him a kesones passim (ketonet [tunic] reaching to palms and soles, [see Messianic significance Yn 19:23 OJBC]). 4And when his achim saw that Avihem loved him more than all his achim, they hated him, and could not speak with shalom unto him. 5And Yosef dreamed a chalom (dream [see Mt 2:22 OJBC]), and he told it to his achim; and they hated him yet the more. 6And he said unto them, Hear, now, this chalom which I have dreamed: 7For, hinei, we were binding alummim (sheaves of wheat) out in the sadeh, and, hinei, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, hinei, your alummot (sheaves of wheat) gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf. 8And his achim said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his chalomot (dreams), and for his devarim. 9And he dreamed yet another chalom, and told it his achim, and said, Hinei, I have dreamed a chalom more; and, hinei, the shemesh and the yarei'ach and the eleven kokhavim bowed down to me. 10And he told it to Aviv, and to his achim: and Aviv rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this chalom that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and Immecha and Achecha indeed come to bow down ourselves to the ground before thee? 11And his achim had kina (jealousy, envy) toward him; but Aviv was shomer over the saying. 12And his achim went for the purpose to be ro'eh tzon Avihem in the vicinity of Shechem. 13And Yisroel said unto Yosef, Do not thy achim ro'im in Shechem? Come and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Hineni. 14And he said to him, Go, now, see about the shalom achecha, and the shalom hatzon; and bring me devar. So he sent him out of the Emek Chevron, and he went to Shechem. 15And a certain ish found him, and, hinei, he was wandering in the sadeh; and the ish asked him, saying, What seekest thou? 16And he said, I seek my achim; tell me, now, where they ro'im (feed their flocks). 17And the ish said, They are departed from here; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dotan. And Yosef went after his achim, and found them in Dotan. 18And when they saw him merachok (afar off, in the distance), even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to kill him. 19And they said one to another, Hinei, this ba'al hachalomot cometh. 20Come now therefore, and let us kill him, and throw him into one of the borot (pits), and we will say, Some chayyah ra'ah (evil wild beast) hath devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his chalomot. 21And Reuven heard it, and he saved him out of their yadayim; and said, Let us not take his nefesh. 22And Reuven said unto them, Do no shefach dahm (shedding of blood), but throw him into this bor that is in the midbar, and lay no yad upon him; that he might rescue him out of their yadayim, to take him back to Aviv. 23And it came to pass, when Yosef was come unto his achim, that they stripped Yosef of his kesones [see Yn 19:23 OJBC], his kesones hapassim that was on him; 24And they took him, and threw him into the borah (pit); and the bor was empty, there was no mayim in it. 25And they sat down to eat lechem; and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, hinei, a caravan of Yishm'elim was coming from Gil`ad with their gemalim bearing spices and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Mitzrayim. 26And Yehudah said unto his achim, What betza (profit, gain) is it if we kill achinu (our brother), and conceal his dahm? 27Come, and let us sell him to the Yishm'elim, and let not yadeinu (our hands) be upon him; for he is achinu (our brother) and besareinu (our flesh). And his achim agreed. 28Then there passed by anashim Midyanim socharim (men of Midyan, traders); and they drew and lifted up Yosef out of the bor, and sold Yosef to the Yishm'elim for esrim kesef; and they took Yosef to Mitzrayim. 29And Reuven returned unto the bor; and, hinei, Yosef was not in the bor; and he made the keriah of his clothes [compare Mk 14:63 OJBC]. 30And he returned unto his achim, and said, The yeled is not; and I, where shall I turn? 31And they took the kesones Yosef, and did shachat the se'ir izzim (slaughtered the kid of the goats), and dipped the kesones in the dahm; 32And they sent the kesones hapassim, and they brought it to Avihem; and said, This have we found; examine for identification purposes now whether it be the kesones Binecha or no. 33And he recognized it, and said, It is the kesones beni; a chayyah ra'ah hath devoured him; Yosef is without doubt torn in pieces. 34And Ya'akov made the keriah of his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for beno yamim rabbim. 35And all his banim and all his banot rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down to beni mourning to Sheol. Thus Aviv wept for him. 36And the Midyanim sold him into Mitzrayim unto Potiphar, a seris Pharaoh (courtier of Pharaoh), a sar hatabbachim (a captain of the slaughterers, executioners, i.e., captain of the guard).
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Joseph Sold into Egypt. 1Jacob settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan.#The statement points ahead to 47:27, “Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the region of Goshen.” These two statements frame the Joseph narrative; the later material (47:28–49:33) is about Jacob; chap. 50 brings to a conclusion themes remaining from the earlier story. One aim of the Joseph story is to explain how Israel came to Egypt after sojourning so long in Canaan. 2This is the story of the family of Jacob.#The Joseph story is great literature not only in its themes but in its art. The stories show an interest in the psychology of the characters; everyone acts “in character” yet there is never a doubt that a divine purpose is bringing events to their conclusion. According to a literary analysis, vv. 1–4 set the scene; vv. 5–36 introduce the dramatic tension in the form of a conflict within the family; chaps. 38–41 describe the journeys away from their family of the eponymous ancestors of the two great tribes of later times, Judah (chap. 38) and Joseph (chaps. 39–41) and their preliminary conclusions; chaps. 42–44 detail the famine and journeys for food (chaps. 42, 43) that bring the brothers and (indirectly) the father into fresh contact with a mature Joseph who now has the power of life and death over them; 45:1–47:27 is the resolution (reconciliation of Joseph to his brothers) and the salvation of the family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he was tending the flocks with his brothers; he was an assistant to the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah, and Joseph brought their father bad reports about them. 3Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him a long ornamented tunic.#Jacob’s favoring Joseph over his other sons is a cause of the brothers’ attempt on his life. Throughout the story, Jacob is unaware of the impact of his favoritism on his other sons (cf. vv. 33–35; 42:36). Long ornamented tunic: the meaning of the Hebrew phrase is unclear. In 2 Sm 13:18–19, it is the distinctive dress of unmarried royal daughters. The “coat of many colors” in the Septuagint became the traditional translation. Ancient depictions of Semites in formal dress show them with long, ornamented robes and that is the most likely meaning here. Possibly, the young Joseph is given a coat that symbolizes honor beyond his years. Later, Pharaoh will clothe Joseph in a robe that symbolizes honor (41:42). 4When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his brothers, they hated him so much that they could not say a kind word to him.
5#Joseph’s dreams of ruling his brothers appear at first glance to be merely adolescent grandiosity, and they bring him only trouble. His later successes make it clear, however, that they were from God. Another confirmation of their divine source is the doubling of dreams (cf. 41:32). Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers, they hated him even more.#Gn 42:9. 6He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had. 7There we were, binding sheaves in the field, when suddenly my sheaf rose to an upright position, and your sheaves formed a ring around my sheaf and bowed down to it.” 8His brothers said to him, “Are you really going to make yourself king over us? Will you rule over us?” So they hated him all the more because of his dreams and his reports.#Gn 50:17–18.
9Then he had another dream, and told it to his brothers. “Look, I had another dream,” he said; “this time, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10When he told it to his father and his brothers, his father reproved him and asked, “What is the meaning of this dream of yours? Can it be that I and your mother and your brothers are to come and bow to the ground before you?” 11So his brothers were furious at him but his father kept the matter in mind.
12One day, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem, 13Israel said to Joseph, “Are your brothers not tending our flocks at Shechem? Come and I will send you to them.” “I am ready,” Joseph answered. 14“Go then,” he replied; “see if all is well with your brothers and the flocks, and bring back word.” So he sent him off from the valley of Hebron. When Joseph reached Shechem, 15a man came upon him as he was wandering about in the fields. “What are you looking for?” the man asked him. 16“I am looking for my brothers,” he answered. “Please tell me where they are tending the flocks.” 17The man told him, “They have moved on from here; in fact, I heard them say, ‘Let us go on to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan. 18They saw him from a distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19They said to one another: “Here comes that dreamer! 20Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here; we could say that a wild beast devoured him. We will see then what comes of his dreams.”#Gn 44:28.
21#The chapter thus far is from the Yahwist source, as are also vv. 25–28a. But vv. 21–24 and 28b–36 are from another source (sometimes designated the Elohist source). In the latter, Reuben tries to rescue Joseph, who is taken in Reuben’s absence by certain Midianites; in the Yahwist source, it is Judah who saves Joseph’s life by having him sold to certain Ishmaelites. Although the two variant forms in which the story was handed down in early oral tradition differ in these minor points, they agree on the essential fact that Joseph was brought as a slave into Egypt because of the jealousy of his brothers. But when Reuben heard this, he tried to save him from their hands, saying: “We must not take his life.” 22Then Reuben said, “Do not shed blood! Throw him into this cistern in the wilderness; but do not lay a hand on him.” His purpose was to save him from their hands and restore him to his father.#Gn 42:22.
23So when Joseph came up to his brothers, they stripped him of his tunic, the long ornamented tunic he had on; 24then they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
25Then they sat down to eat. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, balm, and resin to be taken down to Egypt.#Gn 43:11. 26Judah said to his brothers: “What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?#Jb 16:18. 27Come, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites, instead of doing away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed.
28Midianite traders passed by, and they pulled Joseph up out of the cistern. They sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver#They sold Joseph…silver: editors tried to solve the confusion, created by different sources, by supposing that it was the Midianite traders who pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him to Ishmaelites. In all probability, one source had the brothers selling Joseph to Ishmaelites, whereas the other had them cast him into the pit whence he was taken by Midianite traders. to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.#Ps 105:17; Wis 10:13; Acts 7:9. 29When Reuben went back to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not in it, he tore his garments,#Tore his garments: the traditional sign of mourning in the ancient Near East. 30and returning to his brothers, he exclaimed: “The boy is gone! And I—where can I turn?” 31They took Joseph’s tunic, and after slaughtering a goat, dipped the tunic in its blood. 32Then they sent someone to bring the long ornamented tunic to their father, with the message: “We found this. See whether it is your son’s tunic or not.” 33He recognized it and exclaimed: “My son’s tunic! A wild beast has devoured him! Joseph has been torn to pieces!”#Gn 44:28. 34Then Jacob tore his garments, put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned his son many days. 35Though his sons and daughters tried to console him, he refused all consolation, saying, “No, I will go down mourning to my son in Sheol.”#Sheol: see note on Ps 6:6. Thus did his father weep for him.#Gn 42:38.
36The Midianites, meanwhile, sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, an official of Pharaoh and his chief steward.#Ps 105:17.