1 But Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed,1 in the land of Canaan.2
2 This is the account of Jacob.
Joseph, his seventeen-year-old son,3 was taking care of4 the flocks with his brothers. Now he was a youngster5 working with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives.6 Joseph brought back a bad report about them7 to their father.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons8 because he was a son born to him late in life,9 and he made a special10 tunic for him. 4 When Joseph’s11 brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them,12 they hated Joseph13 and were not able to speak to him kindly.14
5 Joseph15 had a dream,16 and when he told his brothers about it,17 they hated him even more.18 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had:19 7 There we were,20 binding sheaves of grain in the middle of the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose up and stood upright and your sheaves surrounded my sheaf and bowed down21 to it!” 8 Then his brothers asked him, “Do you really think you will rule over us or have dominion over us?”22 They hated him even more23 because of his dream and because of what he said.24
9 Then he had another dream,25 and told it to his brothers. “Look,”26 he said. “I had another dream. The sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 When he told his father and his brothers, his father rebuked him, saying, “What is this dream that you had?27 Will I, your mother, and your brothers really come and bow down to you?”28 11 His brothers were jealous29 of him, but his father kept in mind what Joseph said.30
12 When his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers31 are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I will send you to them.” “I’m ready,”32 Joseph replied.33 14 So Jacob34 said to him, “Go now and check on35 the welfare36 of your brothers and of the flocks, and bring me word.” So Jacob37 sent him from the valley of Hebron.
15 When Joseph reached Shechem,38 a man found him wandering39 in the field, so the man asked him, “What are you looking for?” 16 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Please tell40 me where they are grazing their flocks.” 17 The man said, “They left this area,41 for I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
18 Now Joseph’s brothers42 saw him from a distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this master of dreams!43 20 Come now, let’s kill him, throw him into one of the cisterns, and then say that a wild44 animal ate him. Then we’ll see how his dreams turn out!”45
21 When Reuben heard this, he rescued Joseph46 from their hands,47 saying,48 “Let’s not take his life!”49 22 Reuben continued,50 “Don’t shed blood! Throw him into this cistern that is here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.”51 (Reuben said this52 so he could rescue Joseph53 from them54 and take him back to his father.)
23 When Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped him55 of his tunic, the special tunic that he wore. 24 Then they took him and threw him into the cistern. (Now the cistern was empty;56 there was no water in it.)
25 When they sat down to eat their food, they looked up57 and saw58 a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were carrying spices, balm, and myrrh down to Egypt.59 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let’s not lay a hand on him,60 for after all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed.61 28 So when the Midianite62 merchants passed by, Joseph’s brothers pulled63 him64 out of the cistern and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. The Ishmaelites65 then took Joseph to Egypt.
29 Later Reuben returned to the cistern to find that Joseph was not in it!66 He tore his clothes, 30 returned to his brothers, and said, “The boy isn’t there! And I, where can I go?” 31 So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a young goat,67 and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32 Then they brought the special tunic to their father68 and said, “We found this. Determine now whether it is your son’s tunic or not.”
33 He recognized it and exclaimed, “It is my son’s tunic! A wild animal has eaten him!69 Joseph has surely been torn to pieces!” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth,70 and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters stood by71 him to console him, but he refused to be consoled. “No,” he said, “I will go to the grave mourning my son.”72 So Joseph’s73 father wept for him.
36 Now74 in Egypt the Midianites75 sold Joseph76 to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.77