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Joseph and said, "Your brethren are now feeding their sheep in Shechem. I want you to go to them and see if all things be well and prosperous, and then come again and tell me what they are doing."
Joseph answered, "I am ready." So he went from the vale of Hebron and came unto Shechem; but here he could find no trace of either his brethren or their flocks.
At last, however, a man spied him wandering in the fields, and asked him what he sought. Joseph answered, "I am looking for my brethren. Tell me where they have fled with their flocks."
The man answered, "They have gone from this place. I heard them say, 'Let us go to Dothan.'"
So Joseph passed on into Dothan, and there he found his brethren, who, when they saw him approach, began to talk among themselves after this fashion: "Lo! here the dreamer comes. Let us slay him and throw his body into this old cistern. Then shall we tell our father that some evil beast has devoured him, and then shall he know how little Joseph's dreams profited him."
Reuben, one of the elder brothers, for his father's sake tried to save Joseph. "Let us not slay him nor shed his blood, but keep our hands clean. Follow me and do as I direct."
So when Joseph came to them, they stripped off his coat of many colors and dropped him down into the well, where there was no water. Having done this, they sat down to rest, and as they were eating their noonday meal they saw a company of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, who had, on their camels, loads of spices and raisins which they were carrying down to sell in Egypt.
When Judah saw the Ishmaelites, he called to his brothers, "How can it profit us if we slay our brother and shed his blood? It is better for us to sell him to these Ishmaelites. He is our own brother, and of our own flesh. Let us not slay him."
The brothers agreed to this, and drawing Joseph out of the well, they sold him to the merchants for thirty pieces of silver, and Joseph was led away into Egypt.
At the time Joseph was sold, Reuben was not with the other brothers, but was tending his flock in another place. When he returned, he went to the well, and finding that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes in sorrow and cried out to his brethren, "The child, my brother, is not yonder. Where shall I go to find him?"
Then the brethren told Reuben that they had not slain Joseph, but they had sold him into Egypt, and all agreed not to tell their father what had happened. Instead, they slew a kid and dipped Joseph's coat in the blood and sent the coat to their father, saying, "Is not this coat, which we have found thus sprinkled with blood, the coat of your son Joseph, our brother?"
When Jacob saw the coat, he wept and said, "This is indeed my son's coat. Some evil beast must have devoured him." So Jacob, believing his boy to be dead, rent his clothes, donned sackcloth and threw ashes upon his head, while he wailed in sorrow for his son.
All the brethren gathered together to comfort their father and ease his sorrow, but Jacob would take no comfort, saying, "I shall die and go to my son and sorrow with him where he is."
The merchants carried Joseph with them away into Egypt, and sold him to Potiphar, master of Pharaoh's knights. Here God was always with Joseph and made him wise, ready, and prosperous in everything he undertook. He dwelt in Potiphar's house, and so well pleased his lord that he was given charge of the whole household, and ruled it wisely and well. Moreover, God blessed Egypt, and Pharaoh's flocks and herds increased, and wealth and plenty filled the land.
But after a time, the Egyptians grew jealous of Joseph, and Potiphar's wife, accusing him falsely, made her lord think that Joseph was a traitorous friend. So Potiphar threw Joseph into prison and kept him there for many days.
But still God was with Joseph and made him win favor in the eyes of the chief keeper of the prison to so great an extent that he was placed in charge of all the other prisoners, and here he acted wisely and ruled well.
After this, it happened that two of the king's officers, one a butler and the other a baker, fell into disgrace, and they were put into the prison where Joseph was.
One night, while they lay in prison, each officer had a dream which astonished him greatly, and which he could not in any way understand.
When Joseph came in the next morning to serve them, he noticed that they were troubled, and said, "Whv are vou more sad this morning than on other days?"
And they answered, "We have dreamed strange dreams, and there is no one who can interpret them to us."
Joseph replied, "Perhaps God will give me grace to interpret your dreams. Let me know what it was you saw in your sleep."
The butler told his dream first: "I thought I saw a vine that had three branches, and after they had flowered and the grapes were ripe, I took the cup of Pharaoh in my hand and wrung wine out of the grapes into the cup and gave it to Pharaoh."
Joseph answered, "The three branches are three days, after which Pharaoh shall remember your service and restore you to your office, so that you may serve him as you were wont to do. Then, I pray you, remember me, and be so merciful as to beg Pharaoh to take me out of this prison, for I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and am innocent of the sin with which I am charged."
Then the baker told his dream, as follows: "I thought that I walked with three baskets upon my head, and in the one basket that was highest, I bore all the bread from the bakehouse, and the birds came and ate of it."
Joseph answered, "This is the interpretation of your dream: The three baskets are the three days that yet remain before Pharaoh shall come, take you from the prison and hang you on the cross. There shall the birds tear your flesh."
The third day after this, Pharaoh gave a great feast, and while he was eating he remembered the baker and the butler, whom he had cast into prison, and he summoned them to him. The butler he restored to office and permitted him again to serve the cup at the feast, but the baker he caused to be taken out and hanged, as Joseph had predicted. The butler, however, did not remember his promise to Joseph, who still remained forgotten in prison for many long months.
Two years after Joseph was thrown into prison, Pharaoh himself had a dream. He thought he stood upon the river, from which he saw seven fair, fat oxen come up to the land and feed in a pasture. Then seven other poor and lean oxen came out of the river and were fed in the green pastures until they grew strong and devoured even the seven oxen that were so fat and fair at first.
At this he started out of his sleep and wondered, but after a time slept again and saw another dream. This time there were seven ears of corn, each fair to see and full of kernels, all standing on one stalk; but there were also seven other ears, small and gnarly, smitten with drought, and these seven small ears destroyed the full ones and left them all barren and worthless.
In the morning, when Pharaoh arose, he was greatly troubled by his dreams, and sent for all the wise men and diviners of Egypt. When they were gathered together, he told them his dreams and asked them to interpret them for him, but there was no one of all the wise men who could tell what the strange dreams might mean.
At last the butler who had been in prison remembered Joseph, and said to the king, "Once, you remember, O king, you became angered at your servants and sent the master of the bakers and me into prison. There, one night, we dreamed strange dreams that foretold things coming. There was then in the prison a servant of the jailer, a child of the Hebrews, and when we told him our dreams he explained them to us and foretold what should happen. As he pre