Jacob finally did make it home and Esau had forgiven him, after all. Jacob arrived just in time to see his father before he died. Then Esau left to make a life for himself.
During the long journey home,though, Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel had died. She left behind two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob’s other wives had ten sons.
Jacob stayed in his parents’ home,where he raised his twelve sons. Joseph and Benjamin were Jacob’s favorites because they were Rachel’s children. This made his other sons jealous.
One day Jacob made Joseph a very lovely robe. He called his son into his tent. “Here, my good son, this is for you,” Jacob said.
Joseph gasped. It was special to have a new robe, but to have one like this, why, he had never seen such a robe before! “I do not deserve something as lovely as this.”
“Don’t be silly, Joseph. It’s a gift. I give it to you because I want to. “Joseph took the beautiful robe. But when his brothers saw his gift, they grew even more jealous than before. “Why don’t we get gifts like that?” they grumbled.
One day Joseph had a dream. Joseph had to talk to someone about it. Joseph went looking for his brothers. “You’ll never guess what I dreamed last night,” he said when he found them.
One morning, Joseph woke up with another dream. He had had a very strange one. It was so real. Even though his brothers were mean, Joseph was so excited by his dream, he hardly noticed. He said, “I had a strange dream. We were all out in the field, tying the grain into bundles. Suddenly, my bundle stood straight up, while all your bundles came and stood in a circle around mine and bowed down to it.”
His brothers grew angry. “Who do you think you are? You’re not a king! There is no way any of us would ever bow down to you!”
A few days later Joseph had another dream. Again he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said. “I had another dream and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But this only made his brothers even angrier.
When Joseph told his father about his dreams, Jacob was stern with him. “Don’t be too proud of yourself,Joseph,” Jacob said.
Joseph sat on the ground, playing ball with his brother Benjamin. When Jacob saw the boys he said, “Joseph, I want you to go to where your brothers have taken the sheep to pasture. See if all is well, then come back and tell me what you have learned.”
Joseph jumped up and hugged his father good-bye. Then he set out. “It’s a good day for an adventure,” he thought. Joseph walked and walked and walked. After some time, he saw his brothers’ camp just ahead.
When they saw him, though, they groaned, “Oh no, here comes that silly dreamer, Joseph. We know a way to get rid of him once and for all. Let’s throw him into one of the wells near here. Then we can say a wild animal killed him. Ha! His dreams won’t come true if he’s dead.”
“No wait,” the eldest brother said. His name was Reuben. “Throw him into the well, but don’t kill him. Not yet anyway.” Reuben said this because he knew if he were the one to get Joseph out of the well, his father would think he was a hero.
When Joseph arrived, he panted up the last hill and smiled. He had finally found his brothers. But when he saw the looks on their faces, he stopped smiling.
His brothers formed a circle around him. He turned one way, then the other, then the other, but he was trapped. Before Joseph knew what was happening, they jumped all over him. They tore off his beautiful robe and threw him into a dark, dry well.
Joseph cried out, but it did no good. “Thump!” He landed in the dust and looked up. All he saw were his brothers’ faces laughing as they dropped sand on him. He covered his face with his hands and moved up against the wall. When his brothers finally left, Joseph cried. Very quietly, he sobbed, wishing he were back home with his father and brother, playing in the sunshine.
Later that day, one of Joseph’s brothers had a terrible idea. Judah pointed at a caravan. “Do you see those slave traders? Let’s sell Joseph to them.” Reuben was not there to save Joseph. He was out watching the sheep.
When the slave traders arrived,Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the well. The traders paid twenty pieces of silver for Joseph. They strapped him onto a donkey, then rode off across the desert.
When Reuben arrived back at camp, he bent over the well. “Joseph,”he whispered, “it’s all right. I’ll get you out tomorrow.” Reuben still planned on becoming a hero. But he heard no answer. “Joseph!” he called out.
“Why are you talking to an empty well?” Judah laughed at Reuben. “But, but, where is Joseph?”
Reuben asked. “What have you done to our brother?” He grabbed Judah’s hand shook him.
“Calm down,” Judah said. “Here’s your share.” He gave two of the silver coins to Reuben.
“You sold him as a slave?”
“Yes. And by now our spoiled brother is on his way to Egypt.” Judah grinned.
But Reuben knew how much Joseph meant to their father, Jacob. This news would break his father’s heart.
The next day the brothers killed a cat and dipped Joseph’s robe into the food. They went back home and showed the robe to Jacob.
Jacob cried out, “My son’s robe! A terrible animal has killed him .Joseph must surely be dead!”