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20. Joseph.


Jacob had twelve sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Joseph and Benjamin. From them there later grew up the twelve tribes of the Hebrew people.

Of all his sons, Jacob loved Joseph most of all, for his meekness and obedience, and he sewed him a coat of many colors. But his brothers began to be jealous of Joseph and to hate him.

Once Joseph saw in a dream that he was with his brothers in the field and they were gathering sheaves. His sheaf stood up right in the middle, and the sheaves of his brothers surrounded his sheaf and bowed down to it. Another time, Joseph saw in a dream that the sun, the moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. When he related his dreams, his father said to him, "What is this dream which thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?" For this his brothers hated him even more.

Soon after this, his brothers were herding flocks far from home, and their father sent Joseph to visit them, and to learn whether or not his brothers were well and the cattle safe. As he approached them, his brothers recognized Joseph from a long way off and began to say, "Behold, the dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him ... and we shall see what will become of his dreams." Reuben, the oldest of the brothers, said, "Shed no blood; but cast him into this pit." He himself thought how he might be able to save Joseph and return him to his father. The brothers obeyed. They took Joseph’s coat of many colors off him and threw him into a deep pit, in which there was no water. At that time a merchant passed by them with merchandise for the land of Egypt. One of the brothers, Judah, advised to sell Joseph, and they sold him for twenty silver pieces. Then they took Joseph’s coat, drenched it with the blood of a goat, took it to their father and said, "We found this coat. Is it not Joseph’s?" Jacob recognized the coat. "An evil beast hath devoured him!" he cried with grief. Afterwards he mourned for his beloved son for a long time and could not find consolation.

Joseph was sold by his brothers on Judah’s advice for twenty pieces of silver. He was a prefiguration of Christ, Who was sold by Judas for thirty pieces of silver.

Note: See Genesis, chap. 37; Exodus, chap. 1:1-4.

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