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Genesis 37

37
Joseph’s Dream
1So Jacob (Israel) lived in the land #Lit of his father’s sojournings.where his father [Isaac] had been a stranger (sojourner, resident alien), in the land of Canaan. 2These are the generations of Jacob.
Joseph, when he was seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers [Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher]; the boy was with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s [#I.e. concubines (see note 22:24).secondary] wives; and Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father. 3Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a [distinctive] #The meaning of this word is uncertain; some sources indicate that it refers to a long-sleeved tunic that reaches the ankles, essentially a light robe. In any case, the tunic was a visible reminder to Joseph’s brothers of their father’s favoritism toward him.multicolored tunic. 4His brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than all of his brothers; so they hated him and could not [find it within themselves to] speak to him on friendly terms.
5Now Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brothers, and they #In both vv 5 and 8 “hated him even more” is properly translated, but there is an interesting play on words. The literal Hebrew says, “they added to hate”—the Hebrew word for “added” is the same for the word for Joseph—“they ‘Josephed’ their hate for him.”hated him even more. 6He said to them, “Please listen to [the details of] this dream which I have dreamed; 7we [brothers] were binding sheaves [of grain stalks] in the field, and lo, my sheaf [suddenly] got up and stood upright and remained standing; and behold, your sheaves stood all around my sheaf and bowed down [in respect].” 8His brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Are you really going to rule and govern us as your subjects?” So they hated him even more for [telling them about] his dreams and for his [arrogant] words.
9But Joseph dreamed still another dream, and told it to his brothers [as well]. He said, “See here, I have again dreamed a dream, and lo, [this time I saw] eleven stars and the sun and the moon bowed down [in respect] to me!” 10He told it to his father as well as to his brothers; but his father rebuked him and said to him [in disbelief], “What is [the meaning of] this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow down to the ground [in respect] before you?” 11Joseph’s brothers were envious and jealous of him, but his father kept the words [of Joseph] in mind [wondering about their meaning].
12Then his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. 13Israel (Jacob) said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing [the flock] at Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.” And he said, “Here I am [ready to obey you].” 14Then Jacob said to him, “Please go and see whether everything is all right with your brothers and all right with the flock; then bring word [back] to me.” So he sent him from the Hebron Valley, and he went to Shechem.
15Now a certain man found Joseph, and saw that he was wandering around and had lost his way in the field; so the man asked him, “What are you looking for?” 16He said, “I am looking for my brothers. Please tell me where they are pasturing our flocks.” 17Then the man said, “[They were here, but] they have moved on from this place. I heard them say, ‘Let us go to #Located about twelve miles north of Shechem.Dothan.’ ” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
The Plot against Joseph
18And when they saw him from a distance, even before he came close to them, they plotted to kill him. 19They said to one another, “Look, here comes this #Lit master of dreams.dreamer. 20Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the #These were earthen tanks that were dug or carved into rocky ground (perhaps limestone), designed to collect rainwater in the desert during winters. Some were cavernous, with a staircase carved into one of the walls for access to the bottom. The cistern selected by Joseph’s brothers must have been deep enough to make escape very difficult for someone of his size, but constructed without a staircase or other means of access (other than a rope).pits (cisterns, underground water storage); then we will say [to our father], ‘A wild animal killed and devoured him’; and we shall see what will become of his dreams!” 21Now Reuben [the eldest] heard this and rescued him from their hands and said, “Let us not take his life.” 22Reuben said to them, “Do not shed his blood, but [instead] throw him [alive] into the pit that is here in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him [to kill him]”—[he said this so] that he could rescue him from them and return him [safely] to his father. 23Now when Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped him of his tunic, the [distinctive] #See note v 3.multicolored tunic which he was wearing; 24then they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty; there was no water in it.
25Then they sat down to eat their meal. When they looked up, they saw a caravan of #Descendants of Abraham and Hagar (Sarah’s maid, 16:15).Ishmaelites coming from Gilead [east of the Jordan], with their camels bearing ladanum resin [for perfume] and balm and #A valuable tree resin.myrrh, going on their way to carry the cargo down to Egypt. 26Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood (murder)? 27Come, let us [instead] sell him to these Ishmaelites [and #Descendants of Abraham and Keturah, his concubine.Midianites] and not lay our hands on him, because he is our brother and our flesh.” So his brothers listened to him and agreed. 28Then as the #The relationship between the Midianites and the Ishmaelites as they are mentioned here is unclear. It is possible, as some have suggested, that “Ishmaelites” came to be used as a general term for desert tribes, and that the same merchants are called by both names in this verse. This would also explain the reference to the “Midianites” in v 36. Another explanation, which was offered by the rabbis, is that Joseph was sold first to the Ishmaelites, who then sold him to the Midianites. Another possibility is that they were Ishmaelites from the area of Midian.Midianite [and Ishmaelite] traders were passing by, the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and they sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And so they took Joseph [as a captive] into Egypt.
29Now Reuben [unaware of what had happened] returned to the pit, and [to his great alarm found that] Joseph was not in the pit; so he tore his clothes [in deep sorrow]. 30He rejoined his brothers and said, “The boy is not there; as for me, where shall I go [to hide from my father]?” 31Then they took Joseph’s tunic, slaughtered a male goat and dipped the tunic in the blood; 32and they brought the multicolored tunic to their father, saying, “We have found this; please examine it and decide whether or not it is your son’s tunic.” 33He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild animal has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces!” 34So Jacob tore his clothes [in grief], put #An uncomfortable material woven from goat hair and worn in mourning.on sackcloth and mourned many days for his son. 35Then all his sons and daughters attempted to console him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “I will go down to Sheol (the place of the dead) in mourning for my son.” And his father wept for him. 36Meanwhile, in Egypt the Midianites sold Joseph [as a slave] to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the [royal] guard.
37
1And Ya’akov (he who holds onto the heel of) dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Kena’an (merchant; trader; or that humbles and subdues).
2These [are] the generations of Ya’akov (he who holds onto the heel of). Yosef (Increaser; May God the Powerful One add [Yah]), [being] seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the boy [was] with the sons of Bilhah (troubled; timid), and with the sons of Zilpah (a tickling; a sprinkle), his father’s wives: and Yosef brought unto his father their evil report.
3Now Isra’el loved Yosef more than all his children, because he [was] the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of [many] colors.
4And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
5And Yosef (Increaser; May God the Powerful One add [Yah]) dreamed a dream, and he told [it] his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
6And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
7For, behold, we [were] binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, youri sheaves stood round about, and made obesiance (bowing or kneeling in respect) to my sheaf.
8And his brethren said to him, Shalt youi indeed reign over us? or shall youi indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
9And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obesiance (bowing or kneeling in respect) [a bow, curtsy, or other similar gesture] to me.
10And he told [it] to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What [is] this dream that youi have dreamed? Shall I and youri mother and youri brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to youi to the earth?
11And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
12And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Sh’khem [back or shoulder, portion].
13And Isra’el (he who holds onto God-The Creator) said unto Yosef (Increaser; May God the Powerful One add [Yah]), Do not youri brethren feed [the flock] in Sh’khem [back or shoulder, portion]? come, and I will send youi unto them. And he said to him, Here [am I].
14And he said to him, Go, I pray youi, see whether it be well with youri brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the valley of Hevron, and he came to Sh’khem [back or shoulder, portion].
15And a certain man found him, and, behold, [he was] wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What [do] youi seek?
16And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray youi, where they feed [their flocks].
17And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dotan (two wells, double feast). And Yosef (Increaser; May God the Powerful One add [Yah]) went after his brethren, and found them in Dotan (two wells, double feast).
18And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
19And they said one to another, ‘Behold, this dreamer comes!’
20Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast has devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
21And Re’uven (behold a son) heard [it], and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.
22And Re’uven said unto them, Shed no blood, [but] cast him into this pit that [is] in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
23And it came to pass, when Yosef was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Yosef out of his coat, [his] coat of [many] colors that [was] on him;
24And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit [was] empty, [there was] no water in it.
25And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Yishma’elim [Yishma’elim (Ishmaelites) [God will Hear]] (They Will Hear God [EL]) came from Gil’ad (hill of testimony or mound of witness) with their camels bearing spices and balm (a medicine; rosin from a bush) and myrrh, going to carry [it] down to Mitzrayim [Egypt] (Double Distress or Double Stronghold, Black Land). Egypt.
26And Y’hudah (Let the Powerful One be Praised [Yah]) said unto his brethren, What profit [is it] if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
27Come, and let us sell him to the Yishma’elim (They Will Hear God [EL]), and let not our hand be upon him; for he [is] our brother [and] our flesh. And his brethren were content.
28Then there passed by Midyanim [Strife] (People of Strife; Place Of Judgment) merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Yosef (Increaser; May God the Powerful One add [Yah]) out of the pit, and sold Yosef (Increaser; May God the Powerful One add [Yah]) to the Yishma’elim (They Will Hear God [EL]) for twenty [pieces] of silver: and they brought Yosef (Increaser; May God the Powerful One add [Yah]) into Mitzrayim [Egypt] (Double Distress or Double Stronghold, Black Land).
29And Re’uven (behold a son) returned unto the pit; and, behold, Yosef (Increaser; May God the Powerful One add [Yah]) [was] not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
30And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child [is] not; and I, to where shall I go?
31And they took Yosef’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
32And they sent the coat of [many] colors, and they brought [it] to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it [be] youri son’s coat or no.
33And he knew it, and said, [It is] my son’s coat; an evil beast has devoured him; Yosef (Increaser; May God the Powerful One add [Yah]) is without doubt rent in pieces.
34And Ya’akov (he who holds onto the heel of) rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his waist, and mourned for his son many days.
35And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. In the following manner his father wept for him.
36And the Midyanim [Strife] (People of Strife; Place Of Judgment) sold him into Mitzrayim unto Potifar (He Whom The Ra Gave, Priest of the Bull), an officer of Pharaoh’s, [and] captain of the guard.