Joseph was the oldest son of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel. Jacob loved Joseph and made Joseph a lovely coat which made his brothers jealous.
One day Joseph had a dream, and he dreamed that he and his brothers were out in the field cutting grain and tying the stalks into bundles called sheaves, as they did in those days. Then the sheaves that his brothers had tied up, all bent over and bowed down to Joseph’s sheaves. Joseph told his brothers about the dream, and they jeered him and asked if he thought they were going to bow down to him, and they hated him because of it.
Then again Joseph had another dream; this time he dreamed that the sun and the moon and eleven stars all bowed down to him. This time he told his father and his brothers about it, and his father said, “Do you really think that your mother and I, and all your brothers, are going to bow down to you?” They used to bow down to important people. His brothers were jealous of him again, but his father just thought about it. They didn’t know that one day the dreams would really come true.
One day, when Joseph was 17 years old, Jacob sent him to see how his brothers were; they were a long way away looking after their flocks and taking them to where there was food for them.
They saw him coming because they recognised the coat their father had made Joseph, and said “Look, this dreamer is coming”. They thought up a plan to kill him and get rid of him, and they would tell their father that an animal had killed him. But his brother Reuben talked them out of doing it; when Joseph arrived they took his coat from him, and put him down into a dry well, and Reuben intended to rescue him later. However a train of camels came near, the camels were loaded with all sorts of spices being taken down to sell in Egypt. So they sold Joseph to the merchants for twenty pieces of silver and he was taken into Egypt to be sold as a slave.
When Reuben returned, he found that Joseph was gone and he was very upset. The other brothers killed a goat and dipped the coat into the blood, then they took it back to show Jacob. Of course Jacob was very distressed and cried a lot, and noone could comfort him over the loss of his loved son Joseph.
Meantime, once the merchants got to Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar who was an important person in Pharaoh’s house.
You can read this story for yourself in Genesis chapter 37.
See if you can answer these questions:
1. Why were his brother’s jealous of Joseph?
2. What did his father make for him?
3. What did the brothers think that the dreams meant?
4. Did the brothers kill Joseph?