JOSEPH’S DREAM Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age, and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Joseph had a dream and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. So when Joseph came to his brothers they stripped him of his robe—the richly ornamented robe he was wearing—and they took him and threw him into the cistern. As they sat down to eat their meat, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.” He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.” JOSEPH AND POTIPHAR’S WIFE Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt, Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of the Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused. …she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house… Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison… THE CUPBEARER AND THE BAKER Some time later the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. …each of the two men—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison—had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. “We both had a dream,” (they said), “but here is no-one to interpret them.” Then Joseph said to them. “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. He said to him, “In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its cluster ripened into grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup and put the cup in his hand.” “This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to when you were his cupbearer. But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness, mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison.” When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I too had a dream. On my head were three baskets of bread. In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.” This is what it means,” Joseph said. “The three baskets are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat away your flesh.” (On the third day Pharaoh) restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand, but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation. PHARAOH’S DREAMS When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream. He was standing by the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. He fell asleep again and had a second dream. Seven ears of corn, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. After then, seven other ears of corn sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven healthy, full ears. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream. In the morning, his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no-one could interpret them for him. Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years and seven good ears of corn are seven years, it is one and the same dream. The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterwards are seven years, and so are the seven worthless ears of corn scorched by the east wind. They are seven years of famine. It is just as I said to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. The Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this know to you, there is no-one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” JOSEPH IN CHARGE OF EGYPT Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. And all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in the whole world. JOSEPH’S BROTHERS GO TO EGYPT So, Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan also. As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. THE SECOND JOURNEY TO EGYPT When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground. He asked them how they were, and then he said, “How is your aged father you told me about?” Is he still living? They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed low to pay him honor. As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he said “God be gracious to you, my son.” Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there. After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, “Serve the food.” A SILVER CUP IN A SACK Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house. “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his sack. Then put my cup, the silver one, in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver for his grain.” And he did as Joseph said. As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, “Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.’” When he caught up with them he repeated these words to them. But they said to him, “Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants to do anything like that! We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan the silver we found inside the mouths of our sacks. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? If any of your servants is found to have it, he will die; and the rest of us will become the lord’s slaves.” ”Very well, then,” he said, “let it be as you say. Whoever is found to have it will become my slave; the rest of you will be free from blame.” Each of them quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opening it. Then the steward proceeded to search, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. (And Judah said) “Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers.” JOSEPH MAKES HIMSELF KNOWN Then Joseph said to his brother, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. ”Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.” JACOB GOES TO EGYPT Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time.