Study Guide

Book of Genesis Chapter 37 - 38

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Chapter 37 - 38

Enter Joseph!

  • Now the story shifts to Jacob's son. Yep, it's still a family affair.
  • Joseph is Jacob's favorite (come on, everyone has one), so Jacob gives him a fancy coat. Oh, also, Joseph dreams of his brothers' sheaves bowing down to his sheaf. Then he goes and tells them about all about it. 
  • First, a fancy coat and now this? Cue jealous brothers.
  • What does he think he's going to do? Rule over them or something? 
  • Then Joseph dreams a second similar dream and blabs to everyone all about it.
  • His brothers are fuming at this point. Joseph's the second youngest of Jacob's children, so he definitely shouldn't be getting all this attention.
  • Joseph's brothers are pasturing their father's sheep at Shechem, when Israel sends Joseph out to meet up with his brothers and report back to him.
  • Joseph's brothers see him coming and conspire to kill him. The only question is how they should they do it. 
  • Plan A: they kill Joseph, then throw him into a pit and say some wild animals killed him.
  • Plan B: throw Joseph into a pit, but don't kill him. 
  • When Joseph arrives near his brothers, they strip off his big fancy coat and throw him into a pit. Guess it was Plan B FTW.
  • Meanwhile, the brothers are eating and see a group of Ishmaelite businessmen traveling from Gilead to Egypt. 
  • Judah, one of Joseph's older brothers, suggests selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites so that technically they are not guilty of murder. Plus, they can make some money while they're at it.
  • And that's just what they do. The brothers sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. 
  • The brothers take Joseph's robe, kill a goat, dip the robe in the blood, and bring it to their father as if Joseph is dead. Jacob is upset, to say the least.
  • Meanwhile, the businessmen who bought Joseph take him to Egypt and sell him to one of the higher-ups in the Pharaoh's court, "the captain of the bodyguard" (37:36 NRSV).

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