Joseph Sold into Egypt. 1Jacob settled in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan. 2This is his family history. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he was tending the flocks with his brothers; he was an assistant to the sons of his father's wives Bilhah and Zilpah, and he brought his father bad reports about them.
3Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him a long tunic. 4When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.
5Once Joseph had a dream, which he told to his brothers: g Gn 42, 9 . 6“Listen to this dream I had. 7There we were, binding sheaves in the field, when suddenly my sheaf rose to an upright position, and your sheaves formed a ring around my sheaf and bowed down to it.” 8“Are you really going to make yourself king over us?” his brothers asked him. “Or impose your rule on us?” So they hated him all the more because of his talk about his dreams. h Gn 50, 17 .
9Then he had another dream, and this one, too, he told to his brothers. “I had another dream,” he said; “this time, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10When he also told it to his father, his father reproved him. “What is the meaning of this dream of yours?” he asked. “Can it be that I and your mother and your brothers are to come and bow to the ground before you?” 11So his brothers were wrought up against him but his father pondered the matter.
12One day, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father's flocks at Shechem, 13Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem. Get ready; I will send you to them.” “I am ready,” Joseph answered. 14“Go then,” he replied; “see if all is well with your brothers and the flocks, and bring back word.” So he sent him off from the valley of Hebron. When Joseph reached Shechem, 15a man met him as he was wandering about in the fields. “What are you looking for?” the man asked him. 16“I am looking for my brothers,” he answered. “Could you please tell me where they are tending the flocks?” 17The man told him, “They have moved on from here; in fact, I heard them say, ‘Let us go on to Dothan.' ” So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan. 18They noticed him from a distance, and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him. 19They said to one another: “Here comes that master dreamer! 20Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here; we could say that a wild beast devoured him. We shall then see what comes of his dreams.” i Gn 44, 28 .
21 * When Reuben heard this, he tried to save him from their hands, saying, “We must not take his life. 22Instead of shedding blood,” he continued, “just throw him into that cistern there in the desert; but don't kill him outright.” His purpose was to rescue him from their hands and restore him to his father. j Gn 42, 22 . 23So when Joseph came up to them, they stripped him of the long tunic he had on; 24then they took him and threw him into the cistern, which was empty and dry.
25They then sat down to their meal. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, balm and resin to be taken down to Egypt. k Gn 43, 11 . 26Judah said to his brothers: “What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood? l Jb 16, 18 . 27Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites, instead of doing away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed. 28They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.*
Some Midianite traders passed by, and they pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and took him to Egypt. m Ps 105, 17; Wis 10, 13; Acts 7, 9 . 29When Reuben went back to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not in it, he tore his clothes, 30and returning to his brothers, he exclaimed: “The boy is gone! And I—where can I turn?” 31They took Joseph's tunic, and after slaughtering a goat, dipped the tunic in its blood. 32They then sent someone to bring the long tunic to their father, with the message: “We found this. See whether it is your son's tunic or not.” 33He recognized it and exclaimed: “My son's tunic! A wild beast has devoured him! Joseph has been torn to pieces!” n Gn 44, 28 . 34Then Jacob rent his clothes, put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned his son many days. 35Though his sons and daughters tried to console him, he refused all consolation, saying, “No, I will go down mourning to my son in the nether world.” Thus did his father lament him. o Gn 42, 38 .
36The Midianites, meanwhile, sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh and his chief steward. p Ps 105, 17 .