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Genesis 37

37
Joseph dreams of power
1Jacob lived in the land of Canaan where his father was an immigrant. 2This is the account of Jacob’s descendants. Joseph was 17 years old and tended the flock with his brothers. While he was helping the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives, Joseph told their father unflattering things about them. 3Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he was born when Jacob was old. Jacob had made for him a long#37.3 LXX many-colored robe. 4When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him and couldn’t even talk nicely to him.
5Joseph had a dream and told it to his brothers, which made them hate him even more. 6He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had. 7When we were binding stalks of grain in the field, my stalk got up and stood upright, while your stalks gathered around it and bowed down to my stalk.”
8His brothers said to him, “Will you really be our king and rule over us?” So they hated him even more because of the dreams he told them.
9Then Joseph had another dream and described it to his brothers: “I’ve just dreamed again, and this time the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
10When he described it to his father and brothers, his father scolded him and said to him, “What kind of dreams have you dreamed? Am I and your mother and your brothers supposed to come and bow down to the ground in front of you?” 11His brothers were jealous of him, but his father took careful note of the matter.
Joseph’s brothers take revenge
12Joseph’s brothers went to tend their father’s flocks near Shechem. 13Israel said to Joseph, “Aren’t your brothers tending the sheep near Shechem? Come, I’ll send you to them.”
And he said, “I’m ready.”
14Jacob said to him, “Go! Find out how your brothers are and how the flock is, and report back to me.”
So Jacob sent him from the Hebron Valley. When he approached Shechem, 15a man found him wandering in the field and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16Joseph said, “I’m looking for my brothers. Tell me, where are they tending the sheep?”
17The man said, “They left here. I heard them saying, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.
18They saw Joseph in the distance before he got close to them, and they plotted to kill him. 19The brothers said to each other, “Here comes the big dreamer. 20Come on now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns, and we’ll say a wild animal devoured him. Then we will see what becomes of his dreams!”
21When Reuben heard what they said, he saved him from them, telling them, “Let’s not take his life.” 22Reuben said to them, “Don’t spill his blood! Throw him into this desert cistern, but don’t lay a hand on him.” He intended to save Joseph from them and take him back to his father.
23When Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped off Joseph’s long robe, 24took him, and threw him into the cistern, an empty cistern with no water in it. 25When they sat down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with camels carrying sweet resin, medicinal resin, and fragrant resin on their way down to Egypt. 26Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain if we kill our brother and hide his blood? 27Come on, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites. Let’s not harm him because he’s our brother; he’s family.” His brothers agreed. 28When some Midianite traders passed by, they pulled Joseph up out of the cistern. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, and they brought Joseph to Egypt.
29When Reuben returned to the cistern and found that Joseph wasn’t in it, he tore his clothes. 30Then he returned to his brothers and said, “The boy’s gone! And I—where can I go now?”
31His brothers took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a male goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. 32They took the long robe, brought it to their father, and said, “We found this. See if it’s your son’s robe or not.”
33He recognized it and said, “It’s my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him. Joseph must have been torn to pieces!” 34Then Jacob tore his clothes, put a simple mourning cloth around his waist, and mourned for his son for many days. 35All of his sons and daughters got up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted, telling them, “I’ll go to my grave mourning for my son.” And Joseph’s father wept for him. 36Meanwhile the Midianites had sold Joseph to the Egyptians, to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief officer, commander of the royal guard.
37
Joseph’s Dreams
1So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived as a foreigner.
2This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.
3Jacob#37:3a Hebrew Israel; also in 37:13. See note on 35:21. loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe.#37:3b Traditionally rendered a coat of many colors. The exact meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. 4But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.
5One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever. 6“Listen to this dream,” he said. 7“We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”
8His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.
9Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!”
10This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. “What kind of dream is that?” he asked. “Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?” 11But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.
12Soon after this, Joseph’s brothers went to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem. 13When they had been gone for some time, Jacob said to Joseph, “Your brothers are pasturing the sheep at Shechem. Get ready, and I will send you to them.”
“I’m ready to go,” Joseph replied.
14“Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are getting along,” Jacob said. “Then come back and bring me a report.” So Jacob sent him on his way, and Joseph traveled to Shechem from their home in the valley of Hebron.
15When he arrived there, a man from the area noticed him wandering around the countryside. “What are you looking for?” he asked.
16“I’m looking for my brothers,” Joseph replied. “Do you know where they are pasturing their sheep?”
17“Yes,” the man told him. “They have moved on from here, but I heard them say, ‘Let’s go on to Dothan.’” So Joseph followed his brothers to Dothan and found them there.
Joseph Sold into Slavery
18When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. 19“Here comes the dreamer!” they said. 20“Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”
21But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. 22“Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.
23So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing. 24Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. 25Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.
26Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime.#37:26 Hebrew cover his blood. 27Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. 28So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces#37:28 Hebrew 20 [shekels], about 8 ounces or 228 grams in weight. of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.
29Some time later, Reuben returned to get Joseph out of the cistern. When he discovered that Joseph was missing, he tore his clothes in grief. 30Then he went back to his brothers and lamented, “The boy is gone! What will I do now?”
31Then the brothers killed a young goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in its blood. 32They sent the beautiful robe to their father with this message: “Look at what we found. Doesn’t this robe belong to your son?”
33Their father recognized it immediately. “Yes,” he said, “it is my son’s robe. A wild animal must have eaten him. Joseph has clearly been torn to pieces!” 34Then Jacob tore his clothes and dressed himself in burlap. He mourned deeply for his son for a long time. 35His family all tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “I will go to my grave#37:35 Hebrew go down to Sheol. mourning for my son,” he would say, and then he would weep.
36Meanwhile, the Midianite traders#37:36 Hebrew the Medanites. The relationship between the Midianites and Medanites is unclear; compare 37:28. See also 25:2. arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Potiphar was captain of the palace guard.