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Joseph

1JACOB settled in Canaan, the country in which his father had made his home,

2and this is an account of Jacob's descendants. When Joseph was a youth of seventeen, he used to accompany his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives, when they were in charge of the flock, and he told tales about them to their father.

3Because Joseph was a child of his old age, Israel loved him best of all his sons, and he made him a long robe with sleeves.

4When his brothers saw that their father loved him best, it aroused their hatred and they had nothing but harsh words for him.

5Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, their hatred of him became still greater.

6He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had.

7We were out in the field binding sheaves, when all at once my sheaf rose and stood upright, and your sheaves gathered round and bowed in homage before my sheaf.”

8His brothers retorted, “Do you think that you will indeed be king over us and rule us?” and they hated him still more because of his dreams and what he had said.

9Then he had another dream, which he related to his father and his brothers. “Listen!” he said. “I have had another dream, and in it the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

10When he told his father and his brothers, his father took him to task: “What do you mean by this dream of yours?” he asked. “Are we to come and bow to the ground before you, I and your mother and your brothers?”

11His brothers were jealous of him, but his father did not forget the incident.

12Joseph's brothers had gone to herd their father's flocks at Shechem.

13Israel said to him, “Your brothers are herding the flocks at Shechem; I am going to send you to them.” Joseph answered, “I am ready to go.”

14Israel told him to go and see if all was well with his brothers and the flocks, and to bring back word to him. So Joseph was sent off from the vale of Hebron and came to Shechem, where

15a man met him wandering in the open country and asked him what he was looking for.

16“I am looking for my brothers,” he replied. “Can you tell me where they are herding the flocks?”

17The man said, “They have moved from here; I heard them speak of going to Dothan.” Joseph went after his brothers and came up with them at Dothan.

18They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.

19“Here comes that dreamer,” they said to one another.

20“Now is our chance; let us kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns; we can say that a wild beast has devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams.”

21When Reuben heard, he came to his rescue, urging them not to take his life.

22“Let us have no bloodshed,” he said. “Throw him into this cistern in the wilderness, but do him no injury.” Reuben meant to rescue him from their clutches in order to restore him to his father.

23When Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped him of the long robe with sleeves which he was wearing,

24picked him up, and threw him into the cistern. It was empty, with no water in it.

25They had sat down to eat when, looking up, they saw an Ishmaelite caravan coming from Gilead on the way down to Egypt, with camels carrying gum tragacanth and balm and myrrh.

26Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain by killing our brother and concealing his death?

27Why not sell him to these Ishmaelites? Let us do him no harm, for after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood”; his brothers agreed.

28Meanwhile some passing Midianite merchants drew Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites; they brought Joseph to Egypt.

29When Reuben came back to the cistern, he found Joseph had gone. He tore his clothes

30and going to his brothers he said, “The boy is not there. Whatever shall I do?”

31Joseph's brothers took the long robe with sleeves, and dipped it in the blood of a goat which they had killed.

32After tearing the robe, they brought it to their father and said, “Look what we have found. Do you recognize it? Is this your son's robe or not?”

33Jacob recognized it. “It is my son's,” he said. “A wild beast has devoured him. Joseph has been torn to pieces.”

34Jacob tore his clothes; he put on sackcloth and for many days he mourned his son.

35Though his sons and daughters all tried to comfort him, he refused to be comforted. He said, “No, I shall go to Sheol mourning for my son.” Thus Joseph's father wept for him.

36The Midianites meanwhile had sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's court officials, the captain of the guard.


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