1 So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived.
2 This is the history of Jacob's family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father's flocks with his half brothers, the sons of his father's wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.
3 Now Jacob* loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day he gave Joseph a special gift--a beautiful robe.*1
4 But his brothers hated Joseph because of their father's partiality. They couldn't say a kind word to him.
5 One night Joseph had a dream and promptly reported the details to his brothers, causing them to hate him even more.
6 "Listen to this dream," he announced.
7 "We were out in the field tying up bundles of grain. My bundle stood up, and then your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before it!"
8 "So you are going to be our king, are you?" his brothers taunted. And they hated him all the more for his dream and what he had said.
9 Then Joseph had another dream and told his brothers about it. "Listen to this dream," he said. "The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!"
10 This time he told his father as well as his brothers, and his father rebuked him. "What do you mean?" his father asked. "Will your mother, your brothers, and I actually come and bow before you?"
11 But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father gave it some thought and wondered what it all meant.
12 Soon after this, Joseph's brothers went to pasture their father's flocks at Shechem.
13 When they had been gone for some time, Jacob said to Joseph, "Your brothers are over at Shechem with the flocks. I'm going to send you to them." "I'm ready to go," Joseph replied.
14 "Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are getting along," Jacob said. "Then come back and bring me word." So Jacob sent him on his way, and Joseph traveled to Shechem from his home in the valley of Hebron.
15 When he arrived there, a man noticed him wandering around the countryside. "What are you looking for?" he asked.
16 "For my brothers and their flocks," Joseph replied. "Have you seen them?"
17 "Yes," the man told him, "but they are no longer here. I heard your brothers say they were going to Dothan." So Joseph followed his brothers to Dothan and found them there.
18 When Joseph's brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance and made plans to kill him.
19 "Here comes that dreamer!" they exclaimed.
20 "Come on, let's kill him and throw him into a deep pit. We can tell our father that a wild animal has eaten him. Then we'll see what becomes of all his dreams!"
21 But Reuben came to Joseph's rescue. "Let's not kill him," he said.
22 "Why should we shed his blood? Let's just throw him alive into this pit here. That way he will die without our having to touch him." Reuben was secretly planning to help Joseph escape, and then he would bring him back to his father.
23 So when Joseph arrived, they pulled off his beautiful robe
24 and threw him into the pit. This pit was normally used to store water, but it was empty at the time.
25 Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they noticed a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking spices, balm, and myrrh from Gilead to Egypt.
26 Judah said to the others, "What can we gain by killing our brother? That would just give us a guilty conscience.
27 Let's sell Joseph to those Ishmaelite traders. Let's not be responsible for his death; after all, he is our brother!" And his brothers agreed.
28 So when the traders* came by, his brothers pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him for twenty pieces* of silver, and the Ishmaelite traders took him along to Egypt.2
29 Some time later, Reuben returned to get Joseph out of the pit. When he discovered that Joseph was missing, he tore his clothes in anguish and frustration.