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SBL e-journal

Ben Sandler

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2014

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Encountering the Documentary Hypothesis in the Joseph Story

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TheTorah.com

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https://thetorah.com/article/encountering-the-documentary-hypothesis-in-the-joseph-story

APA e-journal

Ben Sandler

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,

"

Encountering the Documentary Hypothesis in the Joseph Story

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TheTorah.com

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2014

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https://thetorah.com/article/encountering-the-documentary-hypothesis-in-the-joseph-story

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Encountering the Documentary Hypothesis in the Joseph Story

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Encountering the Documentary Hypothesis in the Joseph Story

The story of Joseph and his brothers is one of the most memorable stories in the Torah.  Spanning three parshiyot, the story is full of intrigue, family conflict, and suspense. In addition to the gripping narrative, this story provides a compelling case for the use of source-critical methods for unraveling intertwined stories in the biblical text.  Doing so not only resolves some challenging textual problems, but enriches our understanding of the biblical stories by presenting us with two perspectives on an important story that formed a definitive part of our national history.

On a personal note, my encounter with this way of reading the Joseph story inspired me towards further investigation into what modern scholarship can offer a student of the Bible.

The story, beginning in Genesis, Chapter 37, can be summarized as follows:

a. The brothers see Joseph coming, and conspire to kill him and throw him into a pit (37:18-20).
b. Reuben intervenes to have them throw him in the pit, but not kill him (21-22).
c. The brothers take his coat (23) and throw him into the pit (24).
d. They then go to eat, and see Ishmaelites coming on their way to Egypt (25).
e. Judah tells his brothers that they should not kill Joseph (26), but rather should sell him to the Ishmaelites (27).
f. Then, Midianites come and take Joseph out of the pit, and sell him to the Ishmaelites, who take him to Egypt (28).
g. Reuben then goes to the pit to find Joseph gone (29), tells his brothers (30), who concoct the story of him being eaten by an animal and tell this to Jacob (31-35).
h. The Medanites (Midianites?) then sell Joseph to Potiphar in Egypt (36).[1]
i. The Ishmaelites take Joseph to Egypt and sell him to Potiphar (39:1).

A few questions jump out at us immediately:[2]

  1. Reuben (b) had already suggested that the brothers refrain from killing Joseph, and the brothers agreed. Thus, Judah’s suggestion of the same (e), presumably over lunch, is redundant.
  2. The timeline makes little sense since it is unclear who sells Joseph to the Ishmaelites. The brothers are able to see the Ishmaelites approach as they eat the meal (d), but they appear to miss seeing the Ishmaelites buy Joseph and take him to Egypt (f), since Reuben only discovers later that Joseph is missing (g).[3]
  3. Verses 28 and 36 are contradictory. Verse 28 says that the Midianites sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites on the spot, and the Ishmaelites take him to Egypt, and this is repeated in 39:1. However, 37:36 states that the Midianites take him to Egypt.

Trying to make sense of this story as a unified whole seems impossible, which is one of the reasons that academic Bible scholars work with the theory that the Torah is a composite document, which often combines multiple sources that tell the same story. Referred to as “source criticism” or “the Documentary Hypothesis” in academic circles, this theory posits that there is a very good reason for the inconsistencies in story of Joseph being sold to Egypt—it is a combination of two parallel stories.

In one story (from the J source), Judah is the savior and the brothers sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites, rather than killing him and throwing him in a pit. In the other story (from the E source), Reuben saves Joseph by convincing the brothers to throw him in a pit instead of killing him, but, unbeknownst to any of them, the Midianites find Joseph in the pit and bring him to Egypt.[4]

Separated out into sources,[5] the stories read as follows (NJPS translation with some modifications):[6]

J E
19 They said to one another, “Here comes that dreamer! 20 Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we can say, ‘A savage beast devoured him.’ We shall see what comes of his dreams!” // 23 When Joseph came up to his brothers, they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the ornamented tunic that he was wearing, // 25b Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels bearing gum, balm, and ladanum to be taken to Egypt. 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? 27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed. // 28b They sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who brought Joseph to Egypt. // 31 Then they took Joseph’s tunic, slaughtered a kid, and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32 They had the ornamented tunic taken to their father, and they said, “We found this. Please examine it; is it your son’s tunic or not?”33 He recognized it, and said, “My son’s tunic! A savage beast devoured him! Joseph was torn by a beast!” 34 Jacob rent his clothes, put sackcloth on his loins, and observed mourning for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters sought to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, saying, “No, I will go down mourning to my son in Sheol.” Thus his father bewailed him. // 39:1 When Joseph was taken down to Egypt, a certain Egyptian, Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh and his chief steward, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there. 18 They saw him from afar, and before he came close to them they conspired to kill him. // 21 But when Reuben heard it, he tried to save him from them. He said, “Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben said, “Shed no blood! Cast him into that pit out in the wilderness, but do not touch him yourselves”—intending to save him from them and restore him to his father. // 24 and took him and cast him into the pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.25a Then they sat down to a meal. //28a When Midianite traders passed by, they pulled Joseph up out of the pit. //29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he rent his clothes. 30 Returning to his brothers, he said, “The boy is gone! Now, what am I to do?” // 36 The Midianites, meanwhile, sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh and his chief steward.
יט וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ אִ֣ישׁ אֶל־אָחִ֑יו הִנֵּ֗ה בַּ֛עַל הַחֲלֹמ֥וֹת הַלָּזֶ֖ה בָּֽא: כוְעַתָּ֣ה׀ לְכ֣וּ וְנַֽהַרְגֵ֗הוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵ֙הוּ֙ בְּאַחַ֣ד הַבֹּר֔וֹת וְאָמַ֕רְנוּ חַיָּ֥ה רָעָ֖ה אֲכָלָ֑תְהוּ וְנִרְאֶ֕ה מַה־יִּהְי֖וּ חֲלֹמֹתָֽיו: // כג וַֽיְהִ֕י כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־בָּ֥א יוֹסֵ֖ף אֶל־אֶחָ֑יו וַיַּפְשִׁ֤יטוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ אֶת־כֻּתָּנְתּ֔וֹ אֶת־כְּתֹ֥נֶת הַפַּסִּ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָלָֽיו: // כהb וַיִּשְׂא֤וּ עֵֽינֵיהֶם֙ וַיִּרְא֔וּ וְהִנֵּה֙ אֹרְחַ֣ת יִשְׁמְעֵאלִ֔ים בָּאָ֖ה מִגִּלְעָ֑ד וּגְמַלֵּיהֶ֣ם נֹֽשְׂאִ֗ים נְכֹאת֙ וּצְרִ֣י וָלֹ֔ט הוֹלְכִ֖ים לְהוֹרִ֥יד מִצְרָֽיְמָה: כווַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהוּדָ֖ה אֶל־אֶחָ֑יו מַה־בֶּ֗צַע כִּ֤י נַהֲרֹג֙ אֶת־אָחִ֔ינוּ וְכִסִּ֖ינוּ אֶת־דָּמֽוֹ: // כז לְכ֞וּ וְנִמְכְּרֶ֣נּוּ לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִ֗ים וְיָדֵ֙נוּ֙ אַל־תְּהִי־ב֔וֹ כִּֽי־אָחִ֥ינוּ בְשָׂרֵ֖נוּ ה֑וּא וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֖וּ אֶחָֽיו: // כחbוַיִּמְכְּר֧וּ אֶת־יוֹסֵ֛ף לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִ֖ים בְּעֶשְׂרִ֣ים כָּ֑סֶף וַיָּבִ֥יאוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵ֖ף מִצְרָֽיְמָה: // לא וַיִּקְח֖וּ אֶת־כְּתֹ֣נֶת יוֹסֵ֑ף וַֽיִּשְׁחֲטוּ֙ שְׂעִ֣יר עִזִּ֔ים וַיִּטְבְּל֥וּ אֶת־הַכֻּתֹּ֖נֶת בַּדָּֽם: לב וַֽיְשַׁלְּח֞וּ אֶת־כְּתֹ֣נֶת הַפַּסִּ֗ים וַיָּבִ֙יאוּ֙ אֶל־אֲבִיהֶ֔ם וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ זֹ֣את מָצָ֑אנוּ הַכֶּר־נָ֗א הַכְּתֹ֧נֶת בִּנְךָ֛ הִ֖וא אִם־לֹֽא: לג וַיַּכִּירָ֤הּ וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ כְּתֹ֣נֶת בְּנִ֔י חַיָּ֥ה רָעָ֖ה אֲכָלָ֑תְהוּ טָרֹ֥ף טֹרַ֖ף יוֹסֵֽף: לד וַיִּקְרַ֤ע יַעֲקֹב֙ שִׂמְלֹתָ֔יו וַיָּ֥שֶׂם שַׂ֖ק בְּמָתְנָ֑יו וַיִּתְאַבֵּ֥ל עַל־בְּנ֖וֹ יָמִ֥ים רַבִּֽים:לה וַיָּקֻמוּ֩ כָל־בָּנָ֨יו וְכָל־בְּנֹתָ֜יו לְנַחֲמ֗וֹ וַיְמָאֵן֙ לְהִתְנַחֵ֔ם וַיֹּ֕אמֶר כִּֽי־אֵרֵ֧ד אֶל־בְּנִ֛י אָבֵ֖ל שְׁאֹ֑לָה וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ אֹת֖וֹ אָבִֽיו: //לט:א וְיוֹסֵ֖ף הוּרַ֣ד מִצְרָ֑יְמָה וַיִּקְנֵ֡הוּ פּוֹטִיפַר֩ סְרִ֨יס פַּרְעֹ֜ה שַׂ֤ר הַטַּבָּחִים֙ אִ֣ישׁ מִצְרִ֔י מִיַּד֙ הַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר הוֹרִדֻ֖הוּ שָֽׁמָּה:
יח וַיִּרְא֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ מֵרָחֹ֑ק וּבְטֶ֙רֶם֙ יִקְרַ֣ב אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם וַיִּֽתְנַכְּל֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ לַהֲמִיתֽוֹ: // כא וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע רְאוּבֵ֔ן וַיַּצִּלֵ֖הוּ מִיָּדָ֑ם וַיֹּ֕אמֶר לֹ֥א נַכֶּ֖נּוּ נָֽפֶשׁ: כב וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֣ם׀ רְאוּבֵן֘ אַל־תִּשְׁפְּכוּ־דָם֒ הַשְׁלִ֣יכוּ אֹת֗וֹ אֶל־הַבּ֤וֹר הַזֶּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר וְיָ֖ד אַל־ תִּשְׁלְחוּ־ב֑וֹ לְמַ֗עַן הַצִּ֤יל אֹתוֹ֙ מִיָּדָ֔ם לַהֲשִׁיב֖וֹ אֶל־אָבִֽיו: // כד וַיִּ֨קָּחֻ֔הוּ וַיַּשְׁלִ֥כוּ אֹת֖וֹ הַבֹּ֑רָה וְהַבּ֣וֹר רֵ֔ק אֵ֥ין בּ֖וֹ מָֽיִם: כהa וַיֵּשְׁבוּ֘ לֶֽאֱכָל־לֶחֶם֒: // כחa וַיַּֽעַבְרוּ֩ אֲנָשִׁ֨ים מִדְיָנִ֜ים סֹֽחֲרִ֗ים וַֽיִּמְשְׁכוּ֙ וַיַּֽעֲל֤וּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ מִן־הַבּ֔וֹר: כט וַיָּ֤שָׁב רְאוּבֵן֙ אֶל־הַבּ֔וֹר וְהִנֵּ֥ה אֵין־יוֹסֵ֖ף בַּבּ֑וֹר וַיִּקְרַ֖ע אֶת־בְּגָדָֽיו: לוַיָּ֥שָׁב אֶל־אֶחָ֖יו וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הַיֶּ֣לֶד אֵינֶ֔נּוּ וַאֲנִ֖י אָ֥נָה אֲנִי־בָֽא: //לו וְהַ֨מְּדָנִ֔ים מָכְר֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ אֶל־מִצְרָ֑יִם לְפֽוֹטִיפַר֙ סְרִ֣יס פַּרְעֹ֔ה שַׂ֖ר הַטַּבָּחִֽים:

Thus it is only in the Judah story that the brothers sell Joseph; in the Reuben version, he gets captured and later sold without the brothers’ knowledge or involvement.  In fact, Reuben has no idea what happened to Joseph when he returns to find the pit empty.

Two Stories from Two Different Kingdoms

According to many scholars who work with source criticism and the Documentary Hypothesis, E and J are works that stem from the Northern (Israel) and Southern (Judah) kingdoms respectively.[7] This explains the difference relating to which brother tried to save Joseph. Joseph represents the core of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (the Ephraim and Manasseh region covers the central hill country in the north of the Cisjordan.) Thus, it makes sense that J, a Judahite source, would have its eponymous ancestor Judah as the savior of Joseph. E, on the other hand, is more interested in internal Israelite politics, and gives the nod to a tribe that was once powerful and important in the Northern Kingdom, the Transjordanian tribe of Reuben.

Joseph’s Long or Short Walk

The redactor or compiler of these two stories did not harmonize them by adding material, with one possible exception.  37:14, where Joseph goes from Hebron to Shechem looking for his brothers, may be an addition by the redactor so that the two stories fit together better.

So he (Jacob) sent him (Joseph) from the valley of Hebron and he came to Shechem.[8]

The text makes it sound like he is walking a short distance, but the two towns are quite far apart; Google Maps[9] places it at a 26-hour walk, which would have taken about three days.  It appears more likely that J had the story taking place near Hebron, which was in the southern kingdom, and E had it taking place in the northern cities of Shechem and Dothan; verse 14b incorporates both traditions.

Although this could simply be an example of a harmonizing redaction or supplement, Baruch Schwartz suggests that this verse originally contained the name of a different valley, particularly as Hebron is in the hills and there is no valley called Hebron Valley.  However, since the last mention of Jacob’s location, in 35:27, indicated that he was in Hebron, the original valley would have been replaced with the “Hebron Valley” to harmonize the sources.[10]

Joseph Reveals Himself – Twice?

The Joseph story reaches its climax eight chapters later, in Chapter 45, when Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers.

3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dumfounded were they on account of him.
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come forward to me.” And when they came forward, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, he whom you sold into Egypt.[11]

Why the Repetition? Taken on its own, the repetition can be interpreted as Joseph’s effort to convince his brothers of his identity,[12] since the brothers did not respond the first time. But given the strong evidence of two parallel stories beginning in Chapter 37, could these two verses each belong to one of the sources? As it did with the beginning of the story, the division of the verses into E and J sources works quite nicely.

In the first revelation (verse 3), Joseph asks if his father is still alive. In context this is a puzzling question since 43:27-28 suggest that Joseph already knew this answer to this question, and in the preceding verses Judah speaks of their father.[13]These verses are all from the J source (Judah is the speaker), and thus, verse 3 would have to be from the E source, where the topic has not yet been broached.  Furthermore, it is noteworthy that it is only in the second revelation (verse 4), which must be attributed to the J source, that Joseph references the sale. This makes sense since it is only in the J version of the story that the brothers were involved in the sale.

In E, Reuben goes back to find an empty pit, and neither he nor the brothers ever knew what happened. In fact, it seems clear from verse 42:22 that Reuben believes Joseph has been killed!

Then Reuben spoke up and said to them, “Did I not tell you, ‘Do no wrong to the boy’? But you paid no heed. Now comes the reckoning for his blood.”[14]

This comment makes the most sense in the context of the E story, where Joseph has not been sold by the brothers but has disappeared, never to be seen again.

Personal Reflection

For some people, the realization that some stories in the Torah, like the Joseph story, are actually composites made up of multiple contradictory accounts detracts from the story’s importance. How can we take contradictory stories that come down to us seriously? Nevertheless, the realization has the opposite effect on me. What I see is that the story of Joseph has been central to Jewish thought and identity for thousands of years, beginning with early Israel. Thus, the fact that both the northern and southern kingdoms maintained a largely similar story of how Joseph ended up in Egypt (albeit adjusted to match their national heroes and locations) highlights the importance of the story to multiple different groups who formed the basis of our national identity.

In addition, both versions of the story feature similar underpinnings – sibling rivalry gone terribly wrong, regret about mistakes in the past, and ultimately reunion and reconciliation. Thus, the Joseph story, in all its forms, is a timeless story that likely riveted audiences in ancient Israel as it still does for us today.

Appendix

Source Division in Combined Document

יח וַיִּרְא֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ מֵרָחֹ֑ק וּבְטֶ֙רֶם֙ יִקְרַ֣ב אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם וַיִּֽתְנַכְּל֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ לַהֲמִיתֽוֹ:
18 They saw him from afar, and before he came close to them they conspired to kill him.
יט וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ אִ֣ישׁ אֶל־אָחִ֑יו הִנֵּ֗ה בַּ֛עַל הַחֲלֹמ֥וֹת הַלָּזֶ֖ה בָּֽא: כ וְעַתָּ֣ה׀ לְכ֣וּ וְנַֽהַרְגֵ֗הוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵ֙הוּ֙ בְּאַחַ֣ד הַבֹּר֔וֹת וְאָמַ֕רְנוּ חַיָּ֥ה רָעָ֖ה אֲכָלָ֑תְהוּ וְנִרְאֶ֕ה מַה־יִּהְי֖וּ חֲלֹמֹתָֽיו:
19 They said to one another, “Here comes that dreamer! 20Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we can say, ‘A savage beast devoured him.’ We shall see what comes of his dreams!”
כא וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע רְאוּבֵ֔ן וַיַּצִּלֵ֖הוּ מִיָּדָ֑ם וַיֹּ֕אמֶר לֹ֥א נַכֶּ֖נּוּ נָֽפֶשׁ: כב וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֣ם׀ רְאוּבֵן֘ אַל־תִּשְׁפְּכוּ־דָם֒ הַשְׁלִ֣יכוּ אֹת֗וֹ אֶל־הַבּ֤וֹר הַזֶּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר וְיָ֖ד אַל־ תִּשְׁלְחוּ־ב֑וֹ לְמַ֗עַן הַצִּ֤יל אֹתוֹ֙ מִיָּדָ֔ם לַהֲשִׁיב֖וֹ אֶל־אָבִֽיו:
21 But when Reuben heard it, he tried to save him from them. He said, “Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben went on, “Shed no blood! Cast him into that pit out in the wilderness, but do not touch him yourselves”— intending to save him from them and restore him to his father.
כג וַֽיְהִ֕י כַּֽאֲשֶׁר־בָּ֥א יוֹסֵ֖ף אֶל־אֶחָ֑יו וַיַּפְשִׁ֤יטוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ אֶת־כֻּתָּנְתּ֔וֹ אֶת־כְּתֹ֥נֶת הַפַּסִּ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָלָֽיו:
23 When Joseph came up to his brothers, they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the ornamented tunic that he was wearing,
כד וַיִּ֨קָּחֻ֔הוּ וַיַּשְׁלִ֥כוּ אֹת֖וֹ הַבֹּ֑רָה וְהַבּ֣וֹר רֵ֔ק אֵ֥ין בּ֖וֹ מָֽיִם: כה וַיֵּשְׁבוּ֘ לֶֽאֱכָל־לֶחֶם֒
24 and took him and cast him into the pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. 25 Then they sat down to a meal.
וַיִּשְׂא֤וּ עֵֽינֵיהֶם֙ וַיִּרְא֔וּ וְהִנֵּה֙ אֹרְחַ֣ת יִשְׁמְעֵאלִ֔ים בָּאָ֖ה מִגִּלְעָ֑ד וּגְמַלֵּיהֶ֣ם נֹֽשְׂאִ֗ים נְכֹאת֙ וּצְרִ֣י וָלֹ֔ט הוֹלְכִ֖ים לְהוֹרִ֥יד מִצְרָֽיְמָה: כו וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהוּדָ֖ה אֶל־אֶחָ֑יו מַה־בֶּ֗צַע כִּ֤י נַהֲרֹג֙ אֶת־אָחִ֔ינוּ וְכִסִּ֖ינוּ אֶת־דָּמֽוֹ: כז לְכ֞וּ וְנִמְכְּרֶ֣נּוּ לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִ֗ים וְיָדֵ֙נוּ֙ אַל־תְּהִי־ב֔וֹ כִּֽי־אָחִ֥ינוּ בְשָׂרֵ֖נוּ ה֑וּא וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֖וּ אֶחָֽיו:
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels bearing gum, balm, and ladanum to be taken to Egypt. 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? 27Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed.
כח וַיַּֽעַבְרוּ֩ אֲנָשִׁ֨ים מִדְיָנִ֜ים סֹֽחֲרִ֗ים וַֽיִּמְשְׁכוּ֙ וַיַּֽעֲל֤וּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ מִן־הַבּ֔וֹר
28 When Midianite traders passed by, they pulled Joseph up out of the pit.
וַיִּמְכְּר֧וּ אֶת־יוֹסֵ֛ף לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִ֖ים בְּעֶשְׂרִ֣ים כָּ֑סֶף וַיָּבִ֥יאוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵ֖ף מִצְרָֽיְמָה:
They sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who brought Joseph to Egypt.
כט וַיָּ֤שָׁב רְאוּבֵן֙ אֶל־הַבּ֔וֹר וְהִנֵּ֥ה אֵין־יוֹסֵ֖ף בַּבּ֑וֹר וַיִּקְרַ֖ע אֶת־בְּגָדָֽיו: ל וַיָּ֥שָׁב אֶל־אֶחָ֖יו וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הַיֶּ֣לֶד אֵינֶ֔נּוּ וַאֲנִ֖י אָ֥נָה אֲנִי־בָֽא:
29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he rent his clothes.30 Returning to his brothers, he said, “The boy is gone! Now, what am I to do?”
לא וַיִּקְח֖וּ אֶת־כְּתֹ֣נֶת יוֹסֵ֑ף וַֽיִּשְׁחֲטוּ֙ שְׂעִ֣יר עִזִּ֔ים וַיִּטְבְּל֥וּ אֶת־הַכֻּתֹּ֖נֶת בַּדָּֽם: לבוַֽיְשַׁלְּח֞וּ אֶת־כְּתֹ֣נֶת הַפַּסִּ֗ים וַיָּבִ֙יאוּ֙ אֶל־אֲבִיהֶ֔ם וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ זֹ֣את מָצָ֑אנוּ הַכֶּר־נָ֗א הַכְּתֹ֧נֶת בִּנְךָ֛ הִ֖וא אִם־לֹֽא: לג וַיַּכִּירָ֤הּ וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ כְּתֹ֣נֶת בְּנִ֔י חַיָּ֥ה רָעָ֖ה אֲכָלָ֑תְהוּ טָרֹ֥ף טֹרַ֖ף יוֹסֵֽף: לד וַיִּקְרַ֤ע יַעֲקֹב֙ שִׂמְלֹתָ֔יו וַיָּ֥שֶׂם שַׂ֖ק בְּמָתְנָ֑יו וַיִּתְאַבֵּ֥ל עַל־בְּנ֖וֹ יָמִ֥ים רַבִּֽים:לה וַיָּקֻמוּ֩ כָל־בָּנָ֨יו וְכָל־בְּנֹתָ֜יו לְנַחֲמ֗וֹ וַיְמָאֵן֙ לְהִתְנַחֵ֔ם וַיֹּ֕אמֶר כִּֽי־אֵרֵ֧ד אֶל־בְּנִ֛י אָבֵ֖ל שְׁאֹ֑לָה וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ אֹת֖וֹ אָבִֽיו:
31 Then they took Joseph’s tunic, slaughtered a kid, and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32 They had the ornamented tunic taken to their father, and they said, “We found this. Please examine it; is it your son’s tunic or not?” 33He recognized it, and said, “My son’s tunic! A savage beast devoured him! Joseph was torn by a beast!”34 Jacob rent his clothes, put sackcloth on his loins, and observed mourning for his son many days.35 All his sons and daughters sought to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, saying, “No, I will go down mourning to my son in Sheol.” Thus his father bewailed him.
לו וְהַ֨מְּדָנִ֔ים מָכְר֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ אֶל־מִצְרָ֑יִם לְפֽוֹטִיפַר֙ סְרִ֣יס פַּרְעֹ֔ה שַׂ֖ר הַטַּבָּחִֽים: ***
36 The Midianites, meanwhile, sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh and his chief steward.***
לט:א וְיוֹסֵ֖ף הוּרַ֣ד מִצְרָ֑יְמָה וַיִּקְנֵ֡הוּ פּוֹטִיפַר֩ סְרִ֨יס פַּרְעֹ֜ה שַׂ֤ר הַטַּבָּחִים֙ אִ֣ישׁ מִצְרִ֔י מִיַּד֙ הַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר הוֹרִדֻ֖הוּ שָֽׁמָּה:
39:1 When Joseph was taken down to Egypt, a certain Egyptian, Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh and his chief steward, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there.

Published

December 8, 2014

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Last Updated

September 23, 2019

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Ben Sandler is a professional software developer and amateur Bible scholar. He studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion and Yeshiva University. Ben lives in Teaneck and chronicles his Torah study with his daughters at http://teachyourdaughter.wordpress.com.