Old Testament

The Pentateuch

How did the brothers handle their resentment?

The brothers considered killing Joseph, but Reuben persuaded them to throw Joseph in a pit instead. (Reuben planned to retrieve him later.) So the brothers tossed Joseph into a pit. Then Judah came up with the idea to get a little money out of the escapade and sell Joseph as a slave. Some Midianite traders who happened by pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him to a band of Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. The Ishmaelites (descendants of Abraham and Hagar’s son, Ishmael) took Joseph to Egypt. Because they wished to cover their tracks, the brothers dipped Joseph’s coat in goat blood and showed the coat to Jacob. Upon seeing the bloody garment, Jacob recognized it, and said, “‘It is my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.’ Then Jacob tore his garments, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and all his daughters sought to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and said, ‘No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.’ Thus his father bewailed him.” (NRSV, Genesis 37:33–35)


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