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Genesis 37

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1Jacob settled down and lived in Canaan as his father had done.
2This is the story of Jacob and his family. Joseph was seventeen, and helped look after the flock with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives. Joseph told his father about some of the bad things his brothers were doing.
3Israel#37:3. “Israel,” that is, Jacob. loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because Joseph had been born to him when he was already old. He made a colorful robe with long sleeves for Joseph. 4When his brothers noticed that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and had nothing good to say about him.
5Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him even more. 6“Listen to this dream I had,” he told them. 7“We were tying up bundles of grain out in the fields when all of a sudden my bundle stood up, and your bundles came over and bowed down to it.”
8“Do you really think you're going to be our king?” they asked. “Do you honestly believe you're going to rule over us?” They hated him even more because of his dream and how he described it.
9Then he had another dream and told his brothers about it. “Listen, I had another dream,” he explained. “The sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down before me.”
10He also told his father as well as his brothers, and his father told him off, saying, “What's this dream that you've had? Are we—I and your mother and brothers—really going to come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11Joseph's brothers became jealous of him, but his father puzzled over the meaning of the dream.
12One day Joseph's brothers took their father's flocks to graze near Shechem. 13Israel told Joseph, “Your brothers are looking after the sheep near Shechem. Get ready because I want you to go and see them.”
“I'll do it,” Joseph replied.
14So he told him, “Off you go and see how your brothers and the flocks are doing, and come back and let me know.” So he sent him off.
Joseph set out from the Hebron Valley, 15and arrived in Shechem. A man there found him wandering about in the field, so he asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16“I'm looking for my brothers,” Joseph replied. “Can you please tell me where they're looking after the flock?”
17“They've already left,” the man replied. “I heard them say, ‘Let's go to Dothan.’” So Joseph followed his brothers and caught up with them at Dothan.
18But they saw him coming way off in the distance, and before he got to them, they made plans to kill him. 19“Look, here comes the Lord of Dreams!” they said to each other. 20“Come on, let's kill him and throw him into one of the pits. We'll say that some wild animal has eaten him. Then we'll see what happens to his dreams!”
21When Reuben heard all this, he tried to save Joseph from them. 22“Let's not attack and kill him,” he suggested. “Don't murder him, just throw him into this pit here in the desert. You don't need to be guilty of violence.”#37:22. “You don't need to be guilty of violence”: literally “you must not send a hand against him.” Reuben is suggesting that they don't have to actively kill Joseph, but if they throw him into a pit he will die without them being guilty of committing murder. Reuben said this so that he could come back later and rescue Joseph from them and take him home to his father.
23So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off his robe—the colorful long-sleeved robe he was wearing— 24grabbed him and threw him into a pit. (The pit was empty—it didn't have any water in it.) 25They were just sitting down to have a meal when they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were carrying aromatic spices, balm, and myrrh to take to Egypt.
26“What's the point of killing our brother?” Judah asked his brothers. “Then we'd have to cover up his death! 27Instead, why don't we sell him to these Ishmaelites? We don't have to kill him. After all he's our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.
28So when the Ishmaelites (who were traders from Midian)#37:28. The text sometimes refers to them as Ishmaelites and sometimes as Midianites but are clearly one and the same group. Also verse 36. came by, they pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. The Ishmaelites took him to Egypt.
29When Reuben came back later and looked into the pit, Joseph was gone. He tore his clothes in grief. 30He returned to his brothers. “The boy's gone!” he moaned. “What am I going to do now?”
31They slaughtered a goat and dipped Joseph's robe in the blood. 32Then they sent the colorful robe to their father with the message, “We found this. Please examine it and see if it's your son's robe or not.”
33His father recognized it right away and said, “This is my son's robe! Some wild animal must have eaten him. Poor Joseph has been ripped to pieces, no doubt about it!”
34Jacob tore his clothes in grief and dressed in sackcloth. He mourned the death of his son for a long time. 35All his sons and daughters tried to console him, but he rejected their attempts. “No,” he said, “I will go down into my grave mourning for my son.” So Joseph's father went on weeping for him.
36In the meantime the Ishmaelites had arrived in Egypt and had sold Joseph to Potiphar. Potiphar was one of Pharaoh's officers, the captain of the guard.
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Chapter 37
Joseph and his brothers
1Jacob lived in Canaan, the land where his father had lived. #37:1 God gave Jacob the new name ‘Israel’. See Genesis 32:28; 35:10. The Bible uses both names for the same person, but here we have used ‘Jacob’.
2This is the report about Jacob and his family.
Joseph was Jacob's son. When he was 17 years old, he took care of his father's sheep and goats. He did this together with his brothers. These were the sons of his father's wives, Bilhah and Zilpah. Sometimes Joseph told his father bad things about his brothers.
3Jacob loved Joseph more than he loved any of his other sons. This was because Joseph was born when Jacob was old. So Jacob made a special coat for Joseph. 4Joseph's brothers knew that Jacob loved him more than he loved them. So they hated Joseph. They could not say anything nice to him.
5One night, Joseph had a dream and he told his brothers about it. When they heard about the dream, Joseph's brothers hated him even more than they did before. 6Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Listen to what happened in my dream: 7We were out in the field tying the crops together into bundles. Then my bundle stood up. Your bundles stood in a circle round my bundle. And all your bundles bent down to respect my bundle.’
8Joseph's brothers said to him, ‘Do you really think that you will be like a king and rule over us like that?’ They hated Joseph even more because of what he told them about his dream.
9Then Joseph had another dream and he told his brothers about it. He said, ‘Listen to me. I have had another dream. This is what happened: The sun, the moon and 11 stars bent down in front of me.’ 10Joseph told his father and his brothers about the dream. Jacob, his father, was angry with him. He said to Joseph, ‘You should not tell us about a dream like that! Do you really think that I, your mother and your brothers will come and bend down in front of you?’ 11Joseph's brothers were very jealous of him. But Jacob thought carefully about what Joseph had said.
12One day, Joseph's brothers had taken their father's sheep to eat grass in the fields. This was near Shechem city. 13Jacob said to Joseph, ‘You know that your brothers have taken my sheep to eat grass near Shechem. I want you to go to them.’ Joseph replied, ‘I am ready to go.’ 14So Jacob said to Joseph, ‘Go and see if your brothers are well. See if the sheep have enough grass to eat. Then come back and tell me news about them.’ Then Jacob sent Joseph from the Valley of Hebron to go to them. 15When Joseph arrived near Shechem and he was walking in the fields there, a man met him. He asked Joseph, ‘What are you looking for?’ 16Joseph replied, ‘I am looking for my brothers. They have taken the sheep to eat grass. Please tell me where they are.’ 17The man said, ‘They have moved away from here. I heard them say, “Let us go to Dothan.” ’
So Joseph went to look for his brothers. He found them at Dothan. 18But his brothers recognized Joseph, while he was still far away. Before he had arrived where they were, they decided on a way to kill him. 19They said to each other, ‘Here comes the man who likes to dream! 20We will kill him. We can throw him into one of the dry wells. We can tell people that a wild animal ate him. Then his dreams will never become true!’
21When Reuben heard this, he tried to save Joseph from the other brothers. He said, ‘We should not kill him. 22Do not even get his blood on your hands. Just throw him into this dry well here in the wilderness. But do not attack him.’ Reuben said this to save Joseph, so that his brothers would not kill him. Then later, Reuben could take Joseph back to his father.
23So Joseph arrived at where his brothers were. He was wearing his special coat, but they took it off him. 24Then they took hold of Joseph and they threw him into the empty well. It had no water in it.
25Then the brothers sat down to eat their meal. They looked up and they saw a group of Ishmaelites coming towards them. They were coming from the region that is called Gilead. They were riding on camels that carried spices, and different kinds of oils for medicine. They were taking them to sell in Egypt.
26Judah said to his brothers, ‘We could kill our brother and then hide his body. But then we will not get anything for ourselves. 27So, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites. We do not need to hurt him. Then we will not have to kill him. We should remember that he is our brother. He is our own relative.’ Judah's brothers agreed with what he said. 28When the Midianite traders came near to Joseph's brothers, they pulled him out of the dry well. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 silver coins. The Ishmaelites took Joseph with them to Egypt.
29Later, Reuben returned to the dry well. He saw that Joseph was not there. He tore his clothes because he was very upset. 30Reuben went back to his brothers. He said to them, ‘The boy is not in the well! What can I do now?’ #37:30 Reuben was upset because he had tried to save Joseph. He was the oldest of all the brothers. Now he will have to tell his father that Joseph has gone.
31Then the brothers killed a goat. They took its blood and they put the blood all over Joseph's special coat. 32They took the coat back to their father and they told him, ‘We found this coat. Look at it. Tell us if it is your son's coat.’ 33Jacob saw that it was Joseph's coat. He said, ‘It is my son's coat! A wild animal must have eaten him! The animal has torn Joseph's body into pieces.’
34Jacob was so upset that he tore his own clothes. He put on clothes made from sackcloth to show how sad he was. He wept for many days because his son had died.
35All Jacob's sons and daughters came to comfort him. But Jacob was very sad, so they could not make him happy. Jacob said, ‘I will be sad until the day that I die, because my son is dead.’ Jacob wept because Joseph was dead.
36While this was happening, the Midianites took Joseph into Egypt. They sold him to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officers. Potiphar had authority over all of Pharaoh's guards.