Level 1, Lesson 5
Jealousy and Hatred
Joseph's brothers were tending their sheep in the green fields of Dothan. They were far away from their home. It was a long time since they had seen their father and their little brother Benjamin. It was a long time since they had seen their brother Joseph, but they did not care about that, for they hated Joseph. They could not speak pleasantly to him. They could not even to say to him,"Peace be unto you."
As the brothers tended their sheep they looked off across the green fields. They saw somebody coming towards them. It was a boy. He was far away. They could not see him plainly. He wore a long coat and it shone like a rainbow. It was the coat of many colors. "Here comes Joseph!" the brothers said.
They watched Joseph come nearer and nearer. They could see plainly the coat of many colors. They remembered that their father had not given them such a coat. They remembered that he loved Joseph best. They remembered what the coat meant — that Joseph would be head of the family. They made fun of him. They said, "Here comes the dreamer!" As they talked about him they hated him even more.
Joseph had seen the white sheep feeding in the green fields. He knew that the men with them were his brothers. He waved his hand as he came towards them. The brothers did not wave back. He shouted. They did not answer. Their faces were cross and ugly as they talked about how they hated Joseph. At last they said, "Let's kill him!"
In the field there was a deep deep hole — a pit. "Yes, let us kill him," the brothers said, "and throw him into the pit, and we will say, 'A wild animal has eaten him.'"
Reuben heard this. Reuben was the oldest brother. "Let us not kill him," Reuben said. "Throw him into the pit." He thought that by and by he would take Joseph out and give him back to his father.
Then Joseph came into the field. With scowling faces his brothers pulled off his coat — the coat of many colors. They threw him into the pit roughly. There they left him, at the very bottom. He could only see a bit of blue sky above him. The sides were too steep to climb up. He called. The brothers did not answer. He begged them to take him out. They did not go near him. They sat down and ate supper, as if they did not hear his cries.
By and by they saw a line of camels coming towards them. On their backs were very heavy bundles. Some men drove the camels. These men were taking spices and sweet- smelling perfumes down to Egypt to sell. Judah said to his brothers, "Why should we kill Joseph when we can sell him and get some money? Come, let us sell him to these men!"
The brothers lifted Joseph out of the pit. They called to the men on the camels to stop. "Here is a boy," they said. "Would you like to buy him? How much will you pay for him?" The men said, "We will buy him for twenty pieces of silver."
So Joseph's brothers sold him. The men counted out twenty pieces of silver and gave them to the brothers. Then they led Joseph away, and their camel train started; soon they were only black specks, far, far off.
Now, Reuben had not been with the other brothers when they sold Joseph. He came back to the pit and looked in. "The boy is not here!" he cried. "Where shall I go? What shall I do to find him?"
Then the brothers took Joseph's coat, the coat of many colors, and they killed a goat, and dipped it into the blood of the goat.
They took the coat of many colors home to their father, and showed it to him, all covered with blood. "We have found this," they said. "Do you know if it is Joseph's coat or not?"
Jacob knew it. It was the coat of many colors that he had given Joseph. "It's my son's coat," he said. "A wild animal has eaten him. Joseph has been torn in pieces."
Oh, how unhappy Jacob was! All his sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but they could not. "I shall always long for my son," he said.
And where was Joseph all this time? The men with the camels had taken him far from home. But the heavenly Father knew where Joseph was. God was caring for him. And all the wonderful things that happened to Joseph, and how God took care of him belong to another story.