Of his sons, Israel, nee Jacob, loved Joseph the most. Israel told his sons that he loved all of them equally, but he fooled no one. To show his love for Joseph, Israel, who had gone into the clothing business because he thought he could make a comfortable living at it, made for Joseph a robe of many colors and long sleeves. Joseph was very proud of his robe and he wore it whenever he went out.
When the other men saw Joseph in his rainbow-striped robe they looked at him funny, snickered at him behind his back, and feigned limped wrists in his presence. But Joseph did not notice.
One night, Joseph had a dream that, through some cockamamie system of pseudo-logic, was interpreted as suggesting that Joseph would have dominion over his brothers.
When Joseph told his brothers about his dream they sneered onto him, “You’re going to reign over us? Yeah, like that’s going to happen.” And Joseph’s brothers went off to tend their flocks in distant fields, while Joseph went back into the house to redecorate his room.
Sensing some friction among his sons, Jacob … I mean Israel … wanted to reconcile them. So he sent Joseph to meet his brothers.
When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they said to each other, “Here comes that limp-wristed brother of ours who dreams about lording it over us.” And, blood being thicker than water, they decided to draw his blood and kill him. They couldn’t follow their own logic that led them to this conclusion, but it made sense to them nonetheless.
Before they could kill him, brotherly love fell over one of Joseph’s brothers, Judah. And Judah said to his conspiring brothers, “No, let’s not kill him. What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ish’maelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh, and, more important, we can make a few bucks off him.” His brothers heeded him because they were short of cash.
Brotherly Love: Joseph is Sold into Bondage
Joseph was sold to the Ish’maelites for 20 shekels and the Ish’maelites took Joseph to Egypt. On the way to Egypt, a lion with a thorn in its paw approached Joseph and the Ish’maelites, but the lion realized that it was in the wrong story and it left quickly. Joseph and the Ish’maelites then proceeded to Egypt without any further adventures.
Meanwhile, back at the encampment, Joseph’s brothers had taken his robe, killed a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. They brought the blood-soaked robe to their father and said, “Look what we found, pops. This is our brother’s coat, is it not? I guess your favorite son is dead. Pity.”
And Israel, who was having trouble remembering that he was now Israel and no longer Jacob, mourned greatly.
In course of time, the wife of Judah, Shua’s daughter, died; and when Judah was comforted, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers. And when Tamar, Judah’s daughter-in-law, whose husband had been slain by God One for being a no-goodnik, was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” she put off her widow’s garments, and put on a veil. When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot, for she had covered her face, and don’t all harlots cover their faces? Of course, covering her face probably meant that she was ugly and wouldn’t fetch a good price if her face were exposed. But Judah cared not. He, who was never one to pass up a good harlot, or even an ugly one, went over to her at the road side, and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” He answered, “I will send you a kid from the flock.” And she said, “Will you give me a pledge, till you send it?” He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She replied, “Your signet and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him.
When Judah learned that Tamar was his daughter-in-law and not a harlot, except for that one incident, he required years of expensive therapy. And so began the psychiatric profession in the land of the Israelites.
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