Jacob and his family were back safely in Canaan
and, by now, Jacob had 12 sons. His youngest son was Benjamin
but his favourite was Joseph. He loved him more than all
his other children and, as a result, Jacob's other sons
grew to hate Joseph.
One day Jacob gave Joseph a fine coat. It
was a long coat made of many pieces with long sleeves. It
was the kind of coat that a lord or master would wear so
you can imagine how angry this made his brothers, especially
when Joseph was so much younger than they were. They would
go off, muttering and grumbling, to look after Jacob's flocks,
their hatred of Joseph growing all the time.
One day, when he was 17 years old, Joseph
told his brothers of two dreams that he had dreamt. In his
first dream he and his brothers were binding sheaves of
corn in a field. Joseph's sheaf stood straight up and the
sheaves of his brothers came and bowed down to it, almost
as if they were paying homage to it.
In his second dream, which Joseph also told
to his father, he saw the sun, moon and eleven stars all
bowing down to his star.
In Eastern lands dreams are often seen as
signs of what is going to happen in the future so, if Joseph
thought his brothers would be interested to hear of his
dreams, he was wrong. Joseph's brothers could not mistake
what was meant by the dreams. They were to bow down to Joseph?
They hated him even more.
It was some time later when Jacob asked Joseph
to find out how his brothers were getting on. They were
busy looking after the sheep at a place called Shechem and
Jacob asked Joseph to bring him news of them. Joseph set
off but by the time he reached Shechem his brothers had
moved on to a place called Dothan.
As Joseph approached them, his brothers espied
him coming and immediately thought of plans to be rid of
him. The oldest brother, Reuben, tried to stop the others
killing him and suggested they put Joseph into a pit after
they had taken hold of him in the hope that he would be
able to rescue Joseph later. When Joseph approached his
brothers, instead of being met with friendly greetings,
he was caught, his fine coat was ripped off, and he was
pushed down into a pit in the ground.
Joseph was a prisoner.
Some time later his brothers were sitting
enjoying a meal when they noticed a company of traders with
their camels going by. They were on their way to Egypt carrying
spices and other goods and the sight of them gave one of
the brothers, Judah, an idea. Instead of killing Joseph,
they could sell him. The brothers agreed and Joseph was
quickly brought up from the pit and sold to the traders
for 20 pieces of silver.
The brothers then killed a goat and dipped
the coat of Joseph into its blood - the same coat his father
had given him as a special gift. When Jacob saw the coat
he was distraught. He was sure a wild animal had killed
his favourite son and he wept bitterly.
Joseph meanwhile, securely bound, was led
as a slave into Egypt, but he was not alone. God was with
him and, later on, Joseph would see that everything that
happened to him was all part of God's great plan and purpose.