Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome – The Story Of Joseph

Now Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age, and he made him a coat of many colors. 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 Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren, and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, ” Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed : Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose and also stood upright ; and behold, your sheaves stood round about and made obeisance to my sheaf.”

And his brethren said unto 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.

And he dreamed yet another dream and told it to his brethren and said, ” Behold, I have dreamed a dream more ; and behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.”

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 ourselves to thee to the earth?” And his brethren envied him, but his father observed the saying.

And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Jacob 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.”

And he said to him, ” Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks ; and bring me word again.”

So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. And a certain man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field, and the man asked him, saying, ” What seekest thou ? ”

And he said, ” I seek my brethren ; tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.”

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. And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another: “Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now, therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say some evil beast hath devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.”

And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands and said, ” Let us not kill him, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him,” that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.

And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat of many colors, and they took him and cast him into a pit.

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

And Judah said unto his brethren: ” What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.” And his brethren were content.

Then there passed by Midianites, merchantmen; and his brethren drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

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

And he returned unto his brethren and said, The child is not, and I, whither shall I go ? ”

And they took Joseph’s coat and killed a kid of the goats and dipped the coat in the blood, and they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, ” This have we found; know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.”

And he knew it and said, ” It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.”

And Jacob rent his clothes and put sackcloth upon his loins and mourned for his son many days.

And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted, and he said, ” I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.

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

And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man, and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.

And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him, and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake.

And it came to pass that Pharaoh dreamed and that his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all the wise men thereof, and Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.

Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, ” I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it, and I have heard say of thee that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.”

And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, ” It is not in me ; God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, ” In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of a river; and behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fat-fleshed and well-favored, and they fed in a meadow; and behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill-favored and lean-fleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness ; and the lean and ill-favored kine did eat up the first seven fat kine ; and when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them ; but they were still ill-favored, as at the beginning. So I awoke.

“And I saw in my dream, and behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good ; and behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprang up after them ; and the thin ears devoured the seven good ears ; and I told this unto the magicians, but there was none that could declare it unto me.”

And Joseph said unto Pharaoh : ” The dream of Pharaoh is one ; God bath showed Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good kine are seven years ; and the seven good ears are seven years ; the dream is one. And the seven thin and ill-favored kine that came up after them are seven years ; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, and there shall arise after them seven years of famine, and all the years of plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine shall consume the land. Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this and let him appoint officers over the land and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store in the land against the seven years of famine.”

And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: ” Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art. Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled ; only in the throne will I be greater than thou.” And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand and put it upon Joseph’s hand and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck ; and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had, and they cried before him, ” Bow the knee ! ” And he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.

And Joseph went throughout all the land of Egypt. And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years and laid up the food in the cities.

And the seven years of plenteousness were ended. And the seven years of dearth began to come, and the dearth was in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.

And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy corn, because the famine was so sore in all lands. And Joseph’s brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. And Joseph was the governor over the land, and Joseph’s brethren came and bowed down them-selves before him with their faces to the earth.

Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him, and he cried, ” Cause every man to go out from me.”

And there stood no man with him while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud. And Joseph said unto his brethren, ” I am Joseph ; doth my father yet live? ”

And his brethren could not answer him, for they were troubled at his presence.

And Joseph said unto his brethren: ” Come near to me, I pray you. I am Joseph, your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now, therefore, be not grieved, nor be angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither, for God did send me before you to preserve you, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now, it was not you that sent me hither, but God ; and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Haste ye and go up to my father and say unto him, ` Thus saith thy son Joseph, “God hath made me lord of all Egypt ; come down unto me; tarry not ; and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me,—thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou bast and there will I nourish thee, — for there are yet five years of famine,—lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast come to poverty.” ‘ And ye shall haste and bring down my father hither.”

So he sent his brethren away, and they went up out of Egypt and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, and told him, saying, “Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt.” And they told him all the words of Joseph.

And Jacob said, ” It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive ; I will go and see him before I die.”

Adapted from Genesis xxxvii—x1v

Shechem (she’kem): an ancient city of Palestine.—Hebron (he’brun) : an ancient city of southern Palestine. — Dothan (do’than) : a town of Palestine, about twelve miles north of Samaria.— Ishmaelites (ish’md el its): a wandering tribe of the desert, the descendants of Ishmael (Ish’ma el), the son of Abraham and Hagar (ha gar). — Midianites (mid’i an its): a wandering tribe, also descendants of Abraham ; here used interchange-ably with Ishmaelites. — Potiphar (pot’i far). — Goshen (go’shen): a grazing region near the mouth of the Nile. — Canaan (ca nan) : an ancient name for Palestine.