Genesis 37:12-36. Joseph was put down a well by his half-brothers to keep him there until they sold him to the Midianite merchants, who then on-sold him to Egyptians as a slave.
Joseph’s brothers had meant to harm Joseph but God protected him as He wanted Joseph to be in Egypt so that he could one day save his family, in accordance with the dreams God had given Joseph.
As Jacob had tricked his own father, Jacob’s own sons tricked him.
Joseph was about seventeen when he had his dreams and about thirty years of age when he started to be second in charge in Egypt, including ruling over the family in Egypt.
Joseph is Sent to Visit His Brothers
37:12 Some time later, his brothers left to tend their father’s flock in Shechem. 13 And Israel instructed Joseph, “Your brothers are tending the flock in Shechem. Come here, because I’m going to send you to them.”
“Here I am!” he responded.
14 “Go and see how things are with your brothers,” Israel ordered him. “And see how things are with the flock. Bring back a report for me.” Then he sent Joseph from the valley of Hebron.
When Joseph reached Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering around in a field. So the man asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16 “I’m searching for my brothers,” he responded. “Tell me, where are they tending the flock?”
17 “They’ve already left,” the man answered. “I heard them saying that they were headed to Dothan.” So Joseph followed his brothers to Dothan and found them there.
Joseph’s Brothers Plot to Kill Him
18 Now as soon as they saw him approaching from a distance, before he arrived they plotted together to kill him. 19 “Look!” they said. “Here comes the Dream Master! 20 Come on! Let’s kill him and toss him into one of the cisterns. Then we’ll report that some wild animal devoured him and wait to see what becomes of his dreams!”
21 When Reuben heard about it, he tried to save Joseph from their plot. “Let’s not do any killing,” 22 Reuben told them. “And no blood shedding, either. Instead, let’s toss him into this cistern that’s way out here in the wilderness. But don’t lay a hand on him.” (Reuben intended to free Joseph and return him to his father.)
Joseph is Sold into Slavery
23 As it was, when Joseph arrived where his brothers were, they stripped off the tunic that Jacob had given him—that is, the richly-embroidered tunic that he was wearing. 24 They grabbed him and tossed him into the cistern, but the cistern was empty. (There was no water in it.) 25 After this, while they were seated, eating their food, they looked around and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead with camels carrying spices, balm, and myrrh for sale down in Egypt.
26 Then Judah suggested to his brothers, “Where’s the profit in just killing our brother and shedding his blood? 27 Come on! Let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites! That way, we won’t have laid our hands on him. After all, he’s our brother, our own flesh.”
So Judah’s brothers listened to him. 28 As the Midianite merchants were passing through, they extracted Joseph from the cistern and sold Joseph for 20 pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who then took Joseph down to Egypt.
29 Later, when Reuben returned to the cistern, Joseph wasn’t there! In mounting panic, he tore his clothes, 30returned to his brothers, and shouted, “He’s not there! Now what? Where am I to go?”
31 So they took Joseph’s coat, slaughtered a young goat, and dipped the coat in the blood. 32 Then they stretched out the richly-embroidered tunic to dry, and brought it to their father.
“We’ve found this,” they reported. “Look at it and see if this is or isn’t your son’s tunic.”
33 Examining it, he cried out, “It’s my son’s tunic! A wild animal has no doubt torn Joseph to pieces.”
34 So Jacob tore his clothes, dressed himself in sackcloth, and then mourned many days for his son. 35 All his sons and daughters showed up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. He kept saying, “Leave me alone! I’ll go down to the next world,p still mourning for my son.” So Joseph’s father wept for him.
Joseph is Enslaved to Potiphar
36 Meanwhile, down in Egypt, the Midianites sold Joseph to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s court officials, who was also Commander-in-Chief of the imperial guards.
Other modules in this unit:
- Jacob steals Isaac’s blessing
- Jacob dreams about a ladder and angels at Bethel
- Laban meets Jacob
- Jacob marries Rachel the daughter of Laban
- Leah the older sister of Rachel
- Bilhah, the servant of Rachel
- Zilpah, servant of Leah
- Jacob had twelve sons
- Reuben finds some mandrakes for Leah
- Jacob flees with his family from Laban
- Esau’s descendants
- Joseph’s Dreams
- Joseph is put down a well
- Tamar and Judah
- Joseph runs from Potiphar’s Wife
- The Cup that held the wine for the King of Egypt
- The head chef to the King of Egypt
- Joseph’s brothers’ first trip to Egypt for food
- The Second Journey to Egypt
- A silver cup belonging to Joseph was put in a Sack
- Jacob moves to Egypt in a cart
- Two Sons of Joseph, Genesis
- Manasseh, Joseph’s older son
- Ephraim, Joseph’s younger son
- 12 sons of Jacob whom he blesses before he dies
- Death of Jacob at one hundred and forty-seven years old
- Death of Joseph at one hundred and ten years old
- Questions and Answers 1-28
- 300-year gap between Joseph and Moses
- Life of Moses » »
- Timeline for the book of Genesis parts one and two »
- Resources – Genesis Part Two