Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he was born when Jacob was old. Jacob had made for him a long robe. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him and couldn’t even talk nicely to him.
Joseph had a dream and told it to his brothers, which made them hate him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had. When we were binding stalks of grain in the field, my stalk got up and stood upright, while your stalks gathered around it and bowed down to my stalk.”
His brothers said to him, “Will you really be our king and rule over us?” So they hated him even more because of the dreams he told them.
Joseph’s brothers went to tend their father’s flocks near Shechem. Israel said to Joseph, “Aren’t your brothers tending the sheep near Shechem? Come, I’ll send you to them.”
And he said, “I’m ready.”
Jacob said to him, “Go! Find out how your brothers are and how the flock is, and report back to me.”
So Jacob sent him from the Hebron Valley. When he approached Shechem,
The man said, “They left here. I heard them saying, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.
They saw Joseph in the distance before he got close to them, and they plotted to kill him. The brothers said to each other, “Here comes the big dreamer. Come on now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns, and we’ll say a wild animal devoured him. Then we will see what becomes of his dreams!”
When Reuben heard what they said, he saved him from them, telling them, “Let’s not take his life.” Reuben said to them, “Don’t spill his blood! Throw him into this desert cistern, but don’t lay a hand on him.” He intended to save Joseph from them and take him back to his father.
When Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped off Joseph’s long robe, took him, and threw him into the cistern, an empty cistern with no water in it. When they sat down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with camels carrying sweet resin, medicinal resin, and fragrant resin on their way down to Egypt. Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain if we kill our brother and hide his blood? Come on, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites. Let’s not harm him because he’s our brother; he’s family.” His brothers agreed. When some Midianite traders passed by, they pulled Joseph up out of the cistern. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, and they brought Joseph to Egypt.
His brothers took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a male goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the long robe, brought it to their father, and said, “We found this. See if it’s your son’s robe or not.”
He recognized it and said, “It’s my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him. Joseph must have been torn to pieces!” Then Jacob tore his clothes, put a simple mourning cloth around his waist, and mourned for his son for many days.
Genesis 45:1–9, 11–13
Joseph could no longer control himself in front of all his attendants, so he declared, “Everyone, leave now!” So no one stayed with him when he revealed his identity to his brothers. He wept so loudly that the Egyptians and Pharaoh’s household heard him. Joseph said to his brothers, “I’m Joseph! Is my father really still alive?” His brothers couldn’t respond because they were terrified before him.
Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me,” and they moved closer. He said, “I’m your brother Joseph! The one you sold to Egypt. Now, don’t be upset and don’t be angry with yourselves that you sold me here. Actually, God sent me before you to save lives. We’ve already had two years of famine in the land, and there are five years left without planting or harvesting. God sent me before you to make sure you’d survive and to rescue your lives in this amazing way. You didn’t send me here; it was God who made me a father to Pharaoh, master of his entire household, and ruler of the whole land of Egypt.
“Hurry! Go back to your father. Tell him this is what your son Joseph says: ‘God has made me master of all of Egypt. Come down to me. Don’t delay.
I will support you there, so you, your household, and everyone with you won’t starve, since the famine will still last five years.’ You and my brother Benjamin have seen with your own eyes that I’m speaking to you. Tell my father about my power in Egypt and about everything you’ve seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.”
When Joseph’s brothers realized that their father was now dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us, and wants to pay us back seriously for all of the terrible things we did to him?” So they approached Joseph and said, “Your father gave orders before he died, telling us, ‘This is what you should say to Joseph. “Please, forgive your brothers’ sins and misdeeds, for they did terrible things to you. Now, please forgive the sins of the servants of your father’s God.”’” Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
His brothers wept too, fell down in front of him, and said, “We’re here as your slaves.”
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I God? You planned something bad for me, but God produced something good from it, in order to save the lives of many people, just as he’s doing today. Now, don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your children.” So he put them at ease and spoke reassuringly to them.