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Joseph is Sold into Egypt

Jacob was living in the land of Canaan and his flocks and his herds fed upon the rich grass of the plains and valleys. He had twelve sons, the youngest of whom was Benjamin who was born after Jacob had come back to Canaan. The next to the youngest was Joseph whom his father loved very tenderly. He made him a coat of many colors and showed him other favors above his brethren. Seeing that his father loved him more than all the others, his brothers hated Joseph and would not speak peaceably to him.

Now Joseph was a dreamer and one night he dreamed a dream and told it to his brethren. He said: "We were binding sheaves in the field and my sheaf arose and stood upright, and your sheaves stood round about and bowed down to my sheaf."

"Will you reign over us, and will you have dominion over us?" asked his brethren. And they hated him more for his dreams and for his words.

Joseph dreamed again and told his brethren his dream. He said: "I dreamed that the sun and the moon and eleven stars all bowed down to me." And he told this dream to his father also. His father rebuked him and said: "Shall I and your mother and your eleven brethren bow ourselves down to you?" And his brothers envied him all the more but his father did not forget the dream that Joseph had told him.

One day the sons of Jacob went to feed their father's flocks in a far off land and Jacob said to Joseph: "Go and see whether it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks and bring me word again." And Joseph went looking for his brothers in the place where he thought they were.

A stranger found him wandering in the fields, looking for his brothers and asked Joseph: "For what are you seeking?" Joseph replied: "I am seeking for my brethren. I pray you tell me where they feed their flocks."

"Your brethren have departed from this place and have gone to Dothan," answered the stranger. And Joseph went to Dothan seeking for his brothers.

As he came across the fields, his brothers saw him approaching. They said one to another: "Behold the dreamer comes. Let us slay him and cast him into some pit and then we will say to our father, Some evil beast has devoured him, and then we shall see what will become of his dreams."

Then they took the young Joseph who was only seventeen years of age and began to carry out their threats. One of the brothers named Reuben, however, would not allow them to kill the young Joseph but took him from the hands of his angry brothers, for he did not want to shed the blood of the lad. Reuben said to the others: "Let us cast him into this pit alive, then we will be rid of him."

So they took Joseph and stripped him of his coat of many colors and cast him into the pit. Perhaps they thought there was water in the bottom of the pit and the lad would drown, but there was no water in the pit and Joseph remained alive.

After a while the brethren sat down to eat, and while they were at their meal they saw a company of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead with their camels loaded with spices and other things which they were going to carry into Egypt.

"What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, let us not kill him for he is our brother and our flesh," Judah said to his brothers. With this the brothers were content. They lifted Joseph out of the pit, washed the dirt from his body, and put on his clothes, though they kept the coat of many colors in their own hands.

When the Ishmaelites drew near the brothers stopped them and offered to sell Joseph for twenty pieces of silver. The Ishmaelites were glad of this bargain because they could sell Joseph in Egypt for a slave, so they bought the lad and passed on their way.

Joseph and brothers
JOSEPH DRAWN UP FROM THE PIT.


Then the brothers took Joseph's coat of many colors and dipped it in the blood of a kid which they killed. When they returned to their homes, they went to Jacob and said to him: "We have found this coat, do you know whether it is Joseph's coat or not?" And Jacob looked at the coat and said: "It is my son's coat; an evil beast had devoured him, and Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces." The brothers said nothing and the old Jacob believed that Joseph had been killed in the wilderness.

Jacob was heartbroken at the loss of his son and went into mourning for him many days. His sons and his daughters tried to comfort him but he would not be comforted and cried out in his sorrow: "I will go down into the grave mourning for my son," by which he meant that he would mourn for him the rest of his life.

The Ishmaelites traveled many days until at last they came to Egypt and there they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh the king, and also a captain of the guard. Joseph became Potiphar's servant and lived in his house. He was such a good servant that his master was much pleased with him and gave him authority over his other servants.

Joseph had not only the care of the house but also everything in it and Potiphar trusted him with all things. The Lord took care of Joseph in the land of Egypt and of all the household of Potiphar because Joseph was a faithful servant.