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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.
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CHAPTER 37
1Forsooth Jacob dwelled in the land of Canaan, in which his father was a pilgrim;
2and these were the generations of him. Joseph when he was of sixteen years, yet a child, kept a flock with his brethren, and he was with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, the wives of his father; and he accused his brethren at the father of the worst sin.
3Forsooth Israel loved Joseph above all his sons, for he had begotten him in his eld age; and he made to Joseph a coat of many colours.
4Forsooth his brethren saw that he was loved of the father more than all they, and they hated him, and might not speak anything peaceably to him.
5And it befelled that he told to his brethren a sweven that he saw, which cause was the seed of more hatred.
6And Joseph said to his brethren, Hear ye the sweven which I saw,
7I guessed that we bound together sheaves, or handfuls, [in the field], and that as mine handful rose up, and stood upright, and that your handfuls stood about, and worshipped or honoured mine handful.
8His brethren answered, Whether thou shalt be our king, either we shall be made subject to thy lordship? Therefore this cause of dreams and words ministered the nourishing of envy, and of hatred.
9Also Joseph saw another sweven, which he told to his brethren, and said, I saw a dream that as the sun, and the moon, and the eleven stars worshipped me.
10And when he had told this dream to his father, and his brethren, his father blamed him, and said, What will this dream mean to itself that thou hast seen? Whether I, and thy mother, and thy brethren, shall worship thee on earth?
11Therefore his brethren had envy to him. Forsooth the father beheld privily the thing,
12and when his brethren dwelled in Shechem, about [the] keeping of [the] flocks of their father,
13Israel said to Joseph, Thy brethren keep sheep in Shechem; come thou, I shall send thee to them. And when Joseph answered, I am ready,
14Israel said, Go thou, and see whether all things be welsome with thy brethren, and the sheep; and then tell thou to me what is done. And so he was sent from the valley of Hebron, and came into Shechem;
15and a man found him erring in the field, and the man asked him, what he sought.
16And he answered, I seek my brethren; show thou to me where they keep their flocks.
17And the man said to him, They went away from this place; forsooth I heard them saying, Go we into Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.
18And when they had seen him afar, before he nighed to them, they thought to slay him,
19and they spake together, Lo! the dreamer cometh,
20come ye, slay we him, and put we him into an eld [or old] cistern, and we shall say, A wild beast full wicked hath devoured him; and then it shall appear what his dreams profit to him.
21Soothly Reuben heard this, and enforced or endeavoured to deliver him from their hands, and said, Slay we not the life of him,
22neither shed we out his blood, but cast ye him into an eld [or old] cistern, which is in the wilderness, and keep ye your hands guiltless. Forsooth he said this, willing to deliver him from their hands, and to yield him to his father.
23Therefore anon as Joseph came to his brethren, they despoiled him of his coat, that went down to the heel, and was of many colours,
24and they put him in[to] an eld [or old] cistern, that had no water.
25And they sat to eat bread; and they saw that Ishmaelite way-goers came from Gilead, and that their camels bare sweet smelling spiceries, and resin, and stacte, into Egypt.
26Therefore Judah said to his brethren, What shall it profit to us, if we shall slay our brother, and shall hide his blood?
27It is better that he be sold to Ishmaelites, and our hands be not defouled, for he is our brother and our flesh. His brethren assented to these words;
28and when [the] merchants of Midian passed thereforth, they drew Joseph out of the cistern, and sold him to Ishmaelites, for twenty pieces of silver; which led him into Egypt.
29And Reuben turned again to the cistern, and found not the child; and he rent his clothes,
30and he went to his brethren, and said, The child appeareth not, and whither shall I go?
31Forsooth they took his coat, and dipped it in the blood of a kid, which they had slain;
32and they sent men that bare it to their father, and said, We have found this coat; see thou, whether it is the coat of thy son, or nay.
33And when their father had known it, he said, It is the coat of my son; a wild beast full wicked hath eaten him; a beast hath devoured Joseph.
34And he rent his clothes, and he was clothed with an hair-shirt, and bewailed his son in much time.
35Soothly when his free children were gathered together, that they should appease the sorrow of their father, he would not take comfort; but said, I shall go down into hell, and shall bewail my son. And while Jacob continued in weeping,
36Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, a chaste and honest servant [or the gelding] of Pharaoh, master of the chivalry.