Genesis Chapter 37 to 38 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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Joseph the Dreamer

37 Jacob stayed and lived in the land of Canaan. This is the same land where his father had lived. 2This is the story of Jacob’s family. Joseph was a young man, 17 years old. His job was to care for the sheep and the goats. Joseph did this work with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah. (Bilhah and Zilpah were his father’s wives.) Joseph told his father about the bad things that his brothers did. 3Joseph was born at a time when his father Israel (Jacob) was very old. So Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than he loved his other sons. Jacob gave his son a special coat. This coat was long and was very beautiful.* 4Joseph’s brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than he loved them. They hated their brother because of this. They refused to say nice things to Joseph. 5One time Joseph had a special dream. Later, Joseph told his brothers about this dream. After this, his brothers hated him even more. 6Joseph said, “I had a dream. 7We were all working in the field. We were tying stacks of wheat together. Then my sheaf got up. It stood there while all of your sheaves made a circle around mine. Then all of your stacks of wheat bowed down to mine.” 8His brothers said, “Do you think this means you will be a king and rule over us?” His brothers hated Joseph more now because of the dreams he had about them. 9Then Joseph had another dream. Joseph told his brothers about this dream. Joseph said, “I had another dream. I saw the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowing down to me.” 10Joseph also told his father about this dream. But his father criticized him. His father said, “What kind of dream is this? Do you believe that your mother, your brothers, and I will bow down to you?” 11Joseph’s brothers continued to be jealous of him. But Joseph’s father thought much about all these things and wondered what they could mean. 12One day, Joseph’s brothers went to Shechem to care for their father’s sheep. 13Jacob said to Joseph, “Go to Shechem. Your brothers are there with my sheep.” Joseph answered, “I will go.” 14Joseph’s father said, “Go and see if your brothers are safe. Come back and tell me if my sheep are all fine.” So Joseph’s father sent him from the Valley of Hebron to Shechem. 15At Shechem, Joseph became lost. A man found him wandering in the fields. The man said, “What are you looking for?” 16Joseph answered, “I am looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are with their sheep?” 17The man said, “They have already gone away. I heard them say that they were going to Dothan.” So Joseph followed his brothers and found them in Dothan.

Joseph Sold into Slavery

18Joseph’s brothers saw him coming from far away. They decided to make a plan to kill him. 19The brothers said to each other, “Here comes Joseph, the one who dreams. 20We should kill him now while we can. We can throw his body into one of the empty wells. We can tell our father that a wild animal killed him. Then we will show him that his dreams are useless.” 21But Reuben wanted to save Joseph. Reuben said, “Let’s not kill him. 22We can put him into a well without hurting him.” Reuben planned to save Joseph and send him back to his father. 23Joseph came to his brothers. They attacked him and tore off his long and beautiful coat. 24Then they threw him into an empty well that was dry. 25While Joseph was in the well, the brothers sat down to eat. Then they looked and saw a group of traders* traveling from Gilead to Egypt. Their camels were carrying many different spices and riches. 26So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit will we get if we kill our brother and hide his death? 27We will profit more if we sell him to these traders. Then we will not be guilty of killing our own brother.” The other brothers agreed. 28When the Midianite traders came by, the brothers took Joseph out of the well. They sold him to the traders for 20 pieces of silver. The traders took him to Egypt. 29During all this time, Reuben was not there with the brothers. He did not know they had sold Joseph. When Reuben came back to the well, he saw that Joseph was not there. Reuben tore his clothes {to show his sadness}. 30Reuben went to the brothers and said, “The boy is not in the well! What will I do?” 31The brothers killed a goat and put the goat’s blood on Joseph’s beautiful coat. 32Then the brothers showed the coat to their father. And the brothers said, “We found this coat. Is this Joseph’s coat?” 33The father saw the coat and knew that it was Joseph’s. The father said, “Yes, that is his! Maybe some wild animal has killed him. My son Joseph has been eaten by a wild animal!” 34Jacob was so sorry about his son that he tore his clothes. Then Jacob put on special clothes to show that he was sad. Jacob continued to be sad about his son for a long time. 35All of Jacob’s sons and daughters tried to comfort him. But Jacob was never comforted. Jacob said, “I will be sorry for my son until the day I die.”* So Jacob continued to be sad for his son Joseph. 36The Midianite traders later sold Joseph in Egypt. They sold him to Potiphar, the captain of the Pharaoh’s guards.

traders Literally, “Ishmaelites.” I will be sorry … die Literally, “I will go down to my son in Sheol (the place of death) in sadness.” beautiful The Hebrew means “striped” or possibly, “many colored.”

Judah and Tamar

38 About that time, Judah left his brothers and went to stay with a man named Hirah. Hirah was from the town of Adullam. 2Judah met a Canaanite girl there and married her. The girl’s father was named Shua. 3The Canaanite girl gave birth to a son. She named him Er. 4Later, she gave birth to another son. She named him Onan. 5Later she had another son named Shelah. Judah lived in Kezib when his third son was born. 6Judah chose a woman to be the wife of his first son Er. The woman’s name was Tamar. 7But Er did many bad things. The Lord was not happy with him. So the Lord killed him. 8Then Judah said to Er’s brother Onan, “Go and sleep with your dead brother’s wife.* Become like a husband to her. If children are born, then they will belong to your brother Er.” 9Onan knew that the children from this union would not belong to him. Onan had sexual relations with Tamar, but he did not allow himself to stay inside her. 10This made the Lord angry. So the Lord killed Onan also. 11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Go back to your father’s house. Stay there and don’t marry until my young son Shelah grows up.” Judah was afraid that Shelah would also be killed like his brothers. Tamar went back to her father’s home. 12Later, Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. After Judah’s time of sadness, he went to Timnah with his friend Hirah from Adullam. Judah went to Timnah to have the wool cut from his sheep. 13Tamar learned that Judah, her father-in-law, was going to Timnah to cut the wool from his sheep. 14Tamar always wore clothes that showed that she was a widow. So she put on some different clothes and covered her face with a veil. Then she sat down near the road going to Enaim, a town near Timnah. Tamar knew that Judah’s younger son Shelah was now grown up. But Judah would not make plans for her to marry him. 15Judah traveled on that road. He saw her but thought that she was a prostitute.* (Her face was covered with a veil like a prostitute.) 16So Judah went to her and said, “Let me have sexual relations with you” (Judah did not know that she was Tamar, his daughter-in-law.) She said, “How much will you give me?” 17Judah answered, “I will send you a young goat from my flock.” She answered, “I agree to that. But first you must give me something to keep until you send me the goat.” 18Judah asked, “What do you want me to give you as proof that I will send you the goat?” Tamar answered, “Give me your seal and its string* that you use on your letters. And give me your walking stick.” Judah gave these things to her. Then Judah and Tamar had sexual relations, and Tamar became pregnant. 19Tamar went home and took off the veil that covered her face. Then she again wore the special clothes that showed she was a widow. 20Later, Judah sent his friend Hirah to Enaim to give the prostitute* the goat he promised. Also Judah told Hirah to get the special seal and the walking stick from her. But Hirah could not find her. 21Hirah asked some of the men at the town of Enaim, “Where is the prostitute that was here by the road?” The men answered, “There has never been a prostitute here.” 22So Judah’s friend went back to Judah and said, “I could not find the woman. The men that lived in that place said that there was never a prostitute there.” 23So Judah said, “Let her keep the things. I don’t want people to laugh at us. I tried to give her the goat, but we could not find her. That is enough.”

Tamar Is Pregnant

24About three months later, someone told Judah, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar sinned like a prostitute,* and now she is pregnant.” Then Judah said, “Take her out and burn her.” 25The men went to Tamar to kill her. But she sent a message to her father-in-law. Tamar said, “The man who made me pregnant is the man who owns these things. Look at these things. Whose are they? Whose special seal and string* is this? Whose walking stick is this?” 26Judah recognized those things and said, “She is right. I was wrong. I did not give her my son Shelah like I promised.” And Judah did not sleep with her again. 27The time came for Tamar to give birth. They saw she was going to have twins. 28While she was giving birth, one baby put his hand out. The nurse tied a red string on the hand and said, “This baby was born first.” 29But that baby pulled his hand back in. Then the other baby was born first. So the nurse said, “So you were able to break out first!” So they named him Perez.* 30After this, the other baby was born. This was the baby with the red string on his hand. They named him Zerah*

Go and sleep … wife In Israel if a man died without children, one of his brothers would take the widow. If a child was born, it would be considered the dead man’s child. prostitute A woman paid by men for sexual sins. seal … string People wrote a contract, folded it, tied it with string, put wax or clay on the string, and pressed the seal onto it to seal it. This was like signing the agreement. Perez This name is like the word meaning “to break out.” Zerah This name is like the word meaning “bright.”

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