The Bible in Its Traditions

Genesis 37:1–36

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And Jacob dwelt in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan.

Now Jacob lived in the land of Canaan, where his father sojourned.

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These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren, being still a lad even with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives; and Joseph brought evil report of them unto their father.

And these are the generations of Jacob. And Joseph was seventeen years old, feeding the sheep of his father with his brethren, being young; with the sons of Balla, and with the sons of Zelpha, the wives of his father; and Joseph brought to Israel their father their evil reproach.

And these are his generations. Joseph, when he was sixteen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers, when he was still a boy. And he was with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, the wives of his father. And he accused his brothers to their father of a most sinful crime.

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Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a coat of many colours.

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And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

And Jacob loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was to him the son of old age; and he made for him a coat of many colours.

Then his brothers, seeing that he was loved by his father more than all his other sons, hated him, and they were not able to say anything peacefully to him.

And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren; and they hated him yet the more.

And his brethren having seen that his father loved him more than all his sons, hated him, and could not speak anything peaceable to him.

Then it also happened that he recounted the vision of a dream to his brothers, for which reason a greater hatred began to be nurtured.

And he said unto them: 'Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed

And Joseph dreamed a dream, and reported it to his brethren.

And he said to them, “Listen to my dream that I saw.

for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves came round about, and bowed down to my sheaf.'

And he said to them, Hear this dream which I have dreamed.

I thought we were binding sheaves in the field. And my sheaf seemed to rise up and stand, and your sheaves, standing in a circle, reverenced my sheaf.”

And his brethren said to him: 'Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?' And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

I thought ye were binding sheaves in the middle of the field, and my sheaf stood up and was erected, and your sheaves turned round, and did obeisance to my sheaf.

His brothers responded: “Would you be our king? Or will we be subject to your dominion?” Therefore, this matter of his dreams and words provided kindling to their envy and hatred.

And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said: 'Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream: and, behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me.'

And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us, or shalt thou indeed be lord over us? And they hated him still more for his dreams and for his words.

Likewise, he saw another dream, which he explained to his brothers, saying, “I saw by a dream, as if the sun, and the moon, and eleven stars were reverencing me.”

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10  And he told it to his father, and to his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him: 'What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down to thee to the earth?'

10  And he dreamed another dream, and related it to his father, and to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed another dream: as it were the sun, and the moon, and the eleven stars did me reverence.

10  And when he had related this to his father and brothers, his father rebuked him, and he said: “What does it mean to you, this dream that you have seen? Should I, and your mother, and your brothers reverence you upon the earth?”

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11  And his brethren envied him; but his father kept the saying in mind.

11  And his father rebuked him, and said to him, What is this dream which thou hast dreamed? shall indeed both I and thy mother and thy brethren come and bow before thee to the earth?

11  Therefore, his brothers were envious of him. Yet truly, his father considered the matter silently.

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12  And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem.

12  And while his brothers were lodging at Shechem, pasturing their father’s flocks,

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13  And Israel said unto Joseph: 'Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them.' And he said to him: 'Here am I.'

13  And his brethren went to feed the sheep of their father to Sychem.

13  Israel said to him: “Your brothers are pasturing the sheep at Shechem. Come, I will send you to them.” And when he answered,

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14  And he said to him: 'Go now, see whether it is well with thy brethren, and well with the flock; and bring me back word.' So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.

14  And Israel said to Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed their flock in Sychem? Come, I will send thee to them; and he said to him, Behold, I am here.

14  “I am ready,” he said to him, “Go, and see if everything is prospering with your brothers and the cattle, and report to me what is happening.” So, having been sent from the valley of Hebron, he arrived at Shechem.

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15  And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying: 'What seekest thou?'

15  And Israel said to him, Go and see if thy brethren and the sheep are well, and bring me word; and he sent him out of the valley of Chebron, and he came to Sychem.

15  And a man found him wandering in a field, and he asked him what he was seeking.

16  And he said: 'I seek my brethren. Tell me, I pray thee, where they are feeding the flock.'

16  And a man found him wandering in the field; and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou?

16  So he responded: “I seek my brothers. Tell me where they pasture the flocks.”

17  And the man said: 'They are departed hence; for I heard them say: Let us go to Dothan.' And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.

17  And he said, I am seeking my brethren; tell me where they feed their flocks.

17  And the man said to him: “They have withdrawn from this place. But I heard them saying, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’ ” Therefore, Joseph continued on after his brothers, and he found them at Dothan.

18  And they saw him afar off, and before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.

18  And the man said to him, They have departed hence, for I heard them saying, Let us go to Dothaim; and Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothaim.

18  And, when they had seen him from afar, before he approached them, they decided to kill him.

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19  And they said one to another: 'Behold, this dreamer cometh.

19  And they spied him from a distance before he drew nigh to them, and they wickedly took counsel to slay him.

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20  Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say: An evil beast hath devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.'

20  And each said to his brother, Behold, that dreamer comes.

20  Come, let us kill him and cast him into the old cistern. And let us say: ‘an evil wild beast has devoured him.’ And then it will become apparent what his dreams will do for him.”

21  And Reuben heard it, and delivered him out of their hand; and said: 'Let us not take his life.'

21  Now then come, let us kill him, and cast him into one of the pits; and we will say, An evil wild beast has devoured him; and we shall see what his dreams will be.

21  But Reuben, on hearing this, strove to free him from their hands, and he said

22  And Reuben said unto them: 'Shed no blood; cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him'--that he might deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father.

22  And Ruben having heard it, rescued him out of their hands, and said, Let us not kill him.

22  “Do not take away his life, nor shed blood. But throw him into this cistern, which is in the wilderness, and so keep your hands harmless.” But he said this, wanting to rescue him from their hands, so as to return him to his father.

23  And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colours that was on him;

23  And Ruben said to them, Shed not blood; cast him into one of these pits in the wilderness, but do not lay your hands upon him; that he might rescue him out of their hands, and restore him to his father.

23  And so, as soon as he came to his brothers, they very quickly stripped him of his tunic, which was ankle-length and woven of many colors,

24  and they took him, and cast him into the pit--and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

24  And it came to pass, when Joseph came to his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his many-coloured coat that was upon him.

24  and they cast him into an old cistern, which held no water.

25  And they sat down to eat bread; and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites came from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery and balm and ladanum, going to carry it down to Egypt.

25  And they took him and cast him into the pit; and the pit was empty, it had not water.

25  And sitting down to eat bread, they saw some Ishmaelites, travelers coming from Gilead, with their camels, carrying spices, and resin, and oil of myrrh into Egypt.

26  And Judah said unto his brethren: 'What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood?

26  And they sat down to eat bread; and having lifted up their eyes they beheld, and lo, Ismaelitish travellers came from Galaad, and their camels were heavily loaded with spices, and resin, and myrrh; and they went to bring them to Egypt.

26  Therefore, Judah said to his brothers: “What will it profit us, if we kill our brother and conceal his blood?

27  Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother, our flesh.' And his brethren hearkened unto him.

27  And Judas said to his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?

27  It is better that he be sold to the Ishmaelites, and then our hands will not be defiled. For he is our brother and our flesh.” His brothers agreed to his words.

28  And there passed by Midianites, merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they brought Joseph into Egypt.

28  Come, let us sell him to these Ismaelites, but let not our hands be upon him, because he is our brother and our flesh; and his brethren hearkened.

28  And when the Midianite merchants were passing by, they drew him from the cistern, and they sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And these led him into Egypt.

29  And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.

29  And the men, the merchants of Madian, went by, and they drew and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ismaelites for twenty pieces of gold; and they brought Joseph down into Egypt.

29  And Reuben, returning to the cistern, did not find the boy.

30  And he returned unto his brethren, and said: 'The child is not; and as for me, whither shall I go?'

30  And Ruben returned to the pit, and sees not Joseph in the pit; and he rent his garments.

30  And rending his garments, he went to his brothers and said, “The boy is not present, and so where shall I go?”

31  And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a he-goat, and dipped the coat in the blood;

31  And he returned to his brethren and said, The boy is not; and I, whither am I yet to go?

31  Then they took his tunic, and they dipped it in the blood of a young goat, which they had killed,

32  and they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said: 'This have we found. Know now whether it is thy son's coat or not.'

32  And having taken the coat of Joseph, they slew a kid of the goats, and stained the coat with the blood.

32  sending those who carried it to their father, and they said: “We found this. See whether it is the tunic of your son or not.”

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33  And he knew it, and said: 'It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces.'

33  And they sent the coat of many colours; and they brought it to their father, and said, This have we found; know if it be thy son’s coat or no. And he recognised it, and said, It is my son’s coat, an evil wild beast has devoured him; a wild beast has carried off Joseph.

33  And when the father acknowledged it, he said: “It is the tunic of my son. An evil wild beast has eaten him; a beast has devoured Joseph.”

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34  And Jacob rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

34  And tearing his garments, he was clothed in haircloth, mourning his son for a long time.

34  Then Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

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35  And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said: 'Nay, but I will go down to the grave to my son mourning.' And his father wept for him.

35  Then, when all of his sons gathered together to ease their father’s sorrow, he was not willing to accept consolation, but he said: “I will descend in mourning to my son in the underworld.” And while he persevered in weeping,

36  And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, the captain of the guard.

36  the Midianites in Egypt sold Joseph to Potiphar, a eunuch of Pharaoh, instructor of the soldiers.