This is a story about brothers acting badly to each other.

Now Joseph was his father Jacob’s favorite.  Jacob even made Joseph a fancy coat (sometimes called a “coat of many colors”.)  So Jacob’s other eleven sons saw the coat and they hated Joseph.

To make matters worse, Jacob told his brothers two dreams he had. In the first, he dreamed they were all out in the field binding up wheat and everybody’s sheaf of wheat bowed down to Joseph’s.  In the second dream, the sun, moon and eleven stars were bowing to Joseph.

Did Joseph mean to be so arrogant?  (“Ha, ha. I’m going to rule over you!”) Who knows?  Maybe he just had those dreams and wanted to share them. Or maybe, as his brothers thought, he was trying to be a bigshot.

Well, one day, Joseph was sent to join his brothers in tending sheep.  When they saw him coming — would you believe — they said “Let’s kill him.”

His brother Reuben said “No. Let’s just throw him in a pit.”  (Reuben meant to pull him out later.)

So the brothers took away Joseph’s fancy coat and threw him in a pit.

Bad luck for Reuben, a caravan came by, bound for Egypt.  The other brothers pulled him out of the pit and sold him to the caravan, into slavery.

Then the brothers took that fancy coat that had caused so much trouble and they dipped it into a goat’s blood.

Imagine how Jacob felt when he saw that bloodstained coat!  He said “Joseph was eaten by an animal!” And he refused to be comforted.  Poor Jacob.

coat of many colors
A man shown in an Egyptian tomb painting, wearing a coat of many colors