Daily Word

Sold to slavery | Genesis 37:25-30

25 Then they sat down to eat their meal. When they looked up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead [east of the Jordan], with their camels bearing ladanum resin [for perfume] and balm and myrrh, going on their way to carry the cargo down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood (murder)? 27 Come, let us [instead] sell him to these Ishmaelites [and Midianites] and not lay our hands on him, because he is our brother and our flesh.” So his brothers listened to him and agreed. 

28 Then as the Midianite [and Ishmaelite] traders were passing by, the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and they sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And so they took Joseph [as a captive] into Egypt. 

29 Now Reuben [unaware of what had happened] returned to the pit, and [to his great alarm found that] Joseph was not in the pit; so he tore his clothes [in deep sorrow]. 30 He rejoined his brothers and said, “The boy is not there; as for me, where shall I go [to hide from my father]?”

Genesis 37:25-30 (AMP)

Tea and crumpets

The brothers (minus Reuben) sit down to share a meal together…while Joseph languishes in the cistern. In yesterday’s passage we saw the brothers throw him in to let nature take its course. As they ate, Judah modifies their plan in a corrupt attempt to expiate their guilt of murder using the slave traders. The others (minus Reuben) all agree.

Sold to slavery

So Joseph is hauled up out of the cistern and sold off to the slave traders. These guys were fellow descendents of Abraham (through his first son, Ishmael). Their business was trading between Canaan and Egypt – including slaves.

Heart of Reuben

Here we see more of the heart of Reuben. “Jacob would have held him responsible for Joseph’s safety, since Reuben was the oldest of the brothers.” (planobiblechapel.org) He at least cared for his father, and possibly for his brother as well. Judah also seems to care for Joseph – at least enough to not kill him, but not enough to save him. Had Reuben and Judah both expressed their opposition, maybe things would have turned out differently.


  • Have you been in a situation where you know the right thing to do but don’t have the courage or will to do it? “So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17)”
Slavery cotton picking in Savanah, GA. Image from Pxfuel.com

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