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Genesis 37

37
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 17 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 when Jacob was very old. Jacob had even given Joseph a fancy coat#37.3 fancy coat: Or “a coat of many colors” or “a coat with long sleeves.” 4which showed that Joseph was his favorite 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 to you?” 11#Ac 7.9. Joseph's brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept wondering about the dream.
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 anymore,” 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 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 fancy coat#37.23 fancy coat: See the note at 37.3. 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.
28 # Ws 10.13; Ac 7.9. When the Midianite merchants came by, Joseph's brothers took him out of the well, and for 20 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.
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 fancy 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-colored cloth made from goat or camel hair and used to make grain sacks. It was worn in times of trouble or sorrow. 35All of 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
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.