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37Â So Jacob settled again in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived as a foreigner.
2Â This is the account of Jacob and his family. When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his fatherâ€™s flocks. He worked for his half brothers, the sons of his fatherâ€™s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.
3Â JacobÂ loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Josephâ€”a beautiful robe.Â 4Â But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldnâ€™t say a kind word to him.
5Â One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.Â 6Â â€œListen to this dream,â€ he said.Â 7Â â€œWe were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!â€
8Â His brothers responded, â€œSo you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?â€ And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.
9Â Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. â€œListen, I have had another dream,â€ he said. â€œThe sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!â€
10Â This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. â€œWhat kind of dream is that?â€ he asked. â€œWill your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you?â€Â 11Â But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.
12Â Soon after this, Josephâ€™s brothers went to pasture their fatherâ€™s flocks at Shechem.Â 13Â When they had been gone for some time, Jacob said to Joseph, â€œYour brothers are pasturing the sheep at Shechem. Get ready, and I will send you to them.â€
â€œIâ€™m ready to go,â€ Joseph replied.
14Â â€œGo and see how your brothers and the flocks are getting along,â€ Jacob said. â€œThen come back and bring me a report.â€ So Jacob sent him on his way, and Joseph traveled to Shechem from their home in the valley of Hebron.
15Â When he arrived there, a man from the area noticed him wandering around the countryside. â€œWhat are you looking for?â€ he asked.
16Â â€œIâ€™m looking for my brothers,â€ Joseph replied. â€œDo you know where they are pasturing their sheep?â€
17Â â€œYes,â€ the man told him. â€œThey have moved on from here, but I heard them say, â€˜Letâ€™s go on to Dothan.â€™â€ So Joseph followed his brothers to Dothan and found them there.
Joseph Sold into Slavery
18Â When Josephâ€™s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him.Â 19Â â€œHere comes the dreamer!â€ they said.Â 20Â â€œCome on, letâ€™s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, â€˜A wild animal has eaten him.â€™ Then weâ€™ll see what becomes of his dreams!â€
21Â But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Josephâ€™s rescue. â€œLetâ€™s not kill him,â€ he said.Â 22Â â€œWhy should we shed any blood? Letâ€™s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then heâ€™ll die without our laying a hand on him.â€ Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.
23Â So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing.Â 24Â Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.Â 25Â Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.
26Â Judah said to his brothers, â€œWhat will we gain by killing our brother? Weâ€™d have to cover up the crime.Â 27Â Instead of hurting him, letâ€™s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brotherâ€”our own flesh and blood!â€ And his brothers agreed.28Â So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Josephâ€™s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty piecesÂ of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.
29Â Some time later, Reuben returned to get Joseph out of the cistern. When he discovered that Joseph was missing, he tore his clothes in grief.Â 30Â Then he went back to his brothers and lamented, â€œThe boy is gone! What will I do now?â€
31Â Then the brothers killed a young goat and dipped Josephâ€™s robe in its blood.Â 32Â They sent the beautiful robe to their father with this message: â€œLook at what we found. Doesnâ€™t this robe belong to your son?â€
33Â Their father recognized it immediately. â€œYes,â€ he said, â€œit is my sonâ€™s robe. A wild animal must have eaten him. Joseph has clearly been torn to pieces!â€Â 34Â Then Jacob tore his clothes and dressed himself in burlap. He mourned deeply for his son for a long time.Â 35Â His family all tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. â€œI will go to my graveÂ mourning for my son,â€ he would say, and then he would weep.
36Â Meanwhile, the Midianite tradersÂ arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Potiphar was captain of the palace guard.
Judah and Tamar
38Â About this time, Judah left home and moved to Adullam, where he stayed with a man named Hirah.Â 2Â There he saw a Canaanite woman, the daughter of Shua, and he married her. When he slept with her,Â 3Â she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and he named the boy Er.Â 4Â Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to another son, and she named him Onan.Â 5Â And when she gave birth to a third son, she named him Shelah. At the time of Shelahâ€™s birth, they were living at Kezib.
6Â In the course of time, Judah arranged for his firstborn son, Er, to marry a young woman named Tamar.Â 7Â But Er was a wicked man in theÂ Lordâ€™s sight, so theÂ LordÂ took his life.Â 8Â Then Judah said to Erâ€™s brother Onan, â€œGo and marry Tamar, as our law requires of the brother of a man who has died. You must produce an heir for your brother.â€
9Â But Onan was not willing to have a child who would not be his own heir. So whenever he had intercourse with his brotherâ€™s wife, he spilled the semen on the ground. This prevented her from having a child who would belong to his brother.Â 10Â But theLordÂ considered it evil for Onan to deny a child to his dead brother. So theÂ LordÂ took Onanâ€™s life, too.
11Â Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, â€œGo back to your parentsâ€™ home and remain a widow until my son Shelah is old enough to marry you.â€ (But Judah didnâ€™t really intend to do this because he was afraid Shelah would also die, like his two brothers.) So Tamar went back to live in her fatherâ€™s home.
12Â Some years later Judahâ€™s wife died. After the time of mourning was over, Judah and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went up to Timnah to supervise the shearing of his sheep.Â 13Â Someone told Tamar, â€œLook, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.â€
14Â Tamar was aware that Shelah had grown up, but no arrangements had been made for her to come and marry him. So she changed out of her widowâ€™s clothing and covered herself with a veil to disguise herself. Then she sat beside the road at the entrance to the village of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah.Â 15Â Judah noticed her and thought she was a prostitute, since she had covered her face.Â 16Â So he stopped and propositioned her. â€œLet me have sex with you,â€ he said, not realizing that she was his own daughter-in-law.
â€œHow much will you pay to have sex with me?â€ Tamar asked.
17Â â€œIâ€™ll send you a young goat from my flock,â€ Judah promised.
â€œBut what will you give me to guarantee that you will send the goat?â€ she asked.
18Â â€œWhat kind of guarantee do you want?â€ he replied.
She answered, â€œLeave me your identification seal and its cord and the walking stick you are carrying.â€ So Judah gave them to her. Then he had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant.Â 19Â Afterward she went back home, took off her veil, and put on her widowâ€™s clothing as usual.
20Â Later Judah asked his friend Hirah the Adullamite to take the young goat to the woman and to pick up the things he had given her as his guarantee. But Hirah couldnâ€™t find her.Â 21Â So he asked the men who lived there, â€œWhere can I find the shrine prostitute who was sitting beside the road at the entrance to Enaim?â€
â€œWeâ€™ve never had a shrine prostitute here,â€ they replied.
22Â So Hirah returned to Judah and told him, â€œI couldnâ€™t find her anywhere, and the men of the village claim theyâ€™ve never had a shrine prostitute there.â€
23Â â€œThen let her keep the things I gave her,â€ Judah said. â€œI sent the young goat as we agreed, but you couldnâ€™t find her. Weâ€™d be the laughingstock of the village if we went back again to look for her.â€
24Â About three months later, Judah was told, â€œTamar, your daughter-in-law, has acted like a prostitute. And now, because of this, sheâ€™s pregnant.â€
â€œBring her out, and let her be burned!â€ Judah demanded.
25Â But as they were taking her out to kill her, she sent this message to her father-in-law: â€œThe man who owns these things made me pregnant. Look closely. Whose seal and cord and walking stick are these?â€
26Â Judah recognized them immediately and said, â€œShe is more righteous than I am, because I didnâ€™t arrange for her to marry my son Shelah.â€ And Judah never slept with Tamar again.
27Â When the time came for Tamar to give birth, it was discovered that she was carrying twins.Â 28Â While she was in labor, one of the babies reached out his hand. The midwife grabbed it and tied a scarlet string around the childâ€™s wrist, announcing, â€œThis one came out first.â€Â 29Â But then he pulled back his hand, and out came his brother! â€œWhat!â€ the midwife exclaimed. â€œHow did you break out first?â€ So he was named Perez.Â 30Â Then the baby with the scarlet string on his wrist was born, and he was named Zerah.
Joseph in Potipharâ€™s House
39Â When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.
2Â TheÂ LordÂ was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.Â 3Â Potiphar noticed this and realized that theÂ LordÂ was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did.Â 4Â This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned.Â 5Â From the day Joseph was put in charge of his masterâ€™s household and property, theÂ LordÂ began to bless Potipharâ€™s household for Josephâ€™s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished.Â 6Â So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didnâ€™t worry about a thingâ€”except what kind of food to eat!
Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man,Â 7Â and Potipharâ€™s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. â€œCome and sleep with me,â€ she demanded.
8Â But Joseph refused. â€œLook,â€ he told her, â€œmy master trusts me with everything in his entire household.Â 9Â No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.â€
10Â She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible.Â 11Â One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work.Â 12Â She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, â€œCome on, sleep with me!â€ Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.
13Â When she saw that she was holding his cloak and he had fled,Â 14Â she called out to her servants. Soon all the men came running. â€œLook!â€ she said. â€œMy husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed.Â 15Â When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me.â€
16Â She kept the cloak with her until her husband came home.Â 17Â Then she told him her story. â€œThat Hebrew slave youâ€™ve brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me,â€ she said.Â 18Â â€œBut when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!â€
Joseph Put in Prison
19Â Potiphar was furious when he heard his wifeâ€™s story about how Joseph had treated her.Â 20Â So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the kingâ€™s prisoners were held, and there he remained.Â 21Â But theÂ LordÂ was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And theÂ LordÂ made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden.Â 22Â Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison.Â 23Â The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. TheÂ LordÂ was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.
26Â â€œBut donâ€™t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.Â 27Â What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!
28Â â€œDonâ€™t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.Â 29Â What is the price of two sparrowsâ€”one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.Â 30Â And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.Â 31Â So donâ€™t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
32Â â€œEveryone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.Â 33Â But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
34Â â€œDonâ€™t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.
35Â â€˜I have come to set a man against his father,
37Â â€œIf you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.Â 38Â If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.Â 39Â If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
40Â â€œAnyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me.Â 41Â If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God,Â you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs.Â 42Â And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.â€