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Genesis 37

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.
37
Joseph the Dreamer
1Jacob stayed and lived in the land of Canaan. This is the same land where his father had lived. 2This is the story of Jacob’s family.
Joseph was a young man, 17 years old. His job was to take care of the sheep and the goats. Joseph did this work with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah. (Bilhah and Zilpah were his father’s wives.) Joseph told his father about the bad things that his brothers did. 3Joseph was born at a time when his father Israel was very old, so Israel loved him more than he loved his other sons. Jacob gave him a special coat, which was long and very beautiful.#37:3 beautiful The Hebrew means “striped,” or possibly, “many colored.” 4When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than he loved them, they hated their brother because of this. They refused to say nice things to him.
5One time Joseph had a special dream. Later, he told his brothers about this dream, and after that his brothers hated him even more.
6Joseph said, “I had a dream. 7We were all working in the field, tying stacks of wheat together. Then my stack got up. It stood there while all of your stacks of wheat made a circle around mine and bowed down to it.”
8His brothers said, “Do you think this means that you will be a king and rule over us?” His brothers hated Joseph more now because of the dreams he had about them.
9Then Joseph had another dream, and he told his brothers about it. He said, “I had another dream. I saw the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowing down to me.”
10Joseph also told his father about this dream, but his father criticized him. His father said, “What kind of dream is this? Do you believe that your mother, your brothers, and I will bow down to you?” 11Joseph’s brothers continued to be jealous of him, but his father thought about all these things and wondered what they could mean.
12One day Joseph’s brothers went to Shechem to care for their father’s sheep. 13Jacob said to Joseph, “Go to Shechem. Your brothers are there with my sheep.”
Joseph answered, “I will go.”
14His father said, “Go and see if your brothers are safe. Come back and tell me if my sheep are all fine.” So Joseph’s father sent him from the Valley of Hebron to Shechem.
15At Shechem, Joseph got lost. A man found him wandering in the fields. The man said, “What are you looking for?”
16Joseph answered, “I am looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are with their sheep?”
17The man said, “They have already gone away. I heard them say that they were going to Dothan.” So Joseph followed his brothers and found them in Dothan.
Joseph Sold Into Slavery
18Joseph’s brothers saw him coming from far away. They decided to make a plan to kill him. 19They said to each other, “Here comes Joseph the dreamer. 20We should kill him now while we can. We could throw his body into one of the empty wells and tell our father that a wild animal killed him. Then we will show him that his dreams are useless.”
21But Reuben wanted to save Joseph. He said, “Let’s not kill him. 22We can put him into a well without hurting him.” Reuben planned to save Joseph and send him back to his father. 23When Joseph came to his brothers, they attacked him and tore off his long and beautiful coat. 24Then they threw him into an empty well that was dry.
25While Joseph was in the well, the brothers sat down to eat. They looked up and saw a group of traders#37:25 traders Literally, “Ishmaelites.” traveling from Gilead to Egypt. Their camels were carrying many different spices and riches. 26So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit will we get if we kill our brother and hide his death? 27We will profit more if we sell him to these traders. Then we will not be guilty of killing our own brother.” The other brothers agreed. 28When the Midianite traders came by, the brothers took Joseph out of the well and sold him to the traders for 20 pieces of silver. The traders took him to Egypt.
29Reuben had been gone, but when he came back to the well, he saw that Joseph was not there. He tore his clothes to show that he was upset. 30Reuben went to the brothers and said, “The boy is not in the well! What will I do?” 31The brothers killed a goat and put the goat’s blood on Joseph’s beautiful coat. 32Then the brothers showed the coat to their father. And the brothers said, “We found this coat. Is this Joseph’s coat?”
33His father saw the coat and knew that it was Joseph’s. He said, “Yes, that is his! Maybe some wild animal has killed him. My son Joseph has been eaten by a wild animal!” 34Jacob was so sorry about his son that he tore his clothes. Then Jacob put on special clothes to show that he was sad. He continued to be sad about his son for a long time. 35All of Jacob’s sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but Jacob was never comforted. He said, “I will be sad about my son until the day I die.” So Jacob continued to mourn his son Joseph.
36The Midianite traders later sold Joseph in Egypt. They sold him to Potiphar, an officer of the king of Egypt and the captain of his palace guards.