Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 11

Genesis 37–41, John 20–21

Bible text(s)

Joseph and his Brothers

1Jacob continued to live in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived, 2and this is the story of Jacob's family.

Joseph, a young man of seventeen, took care of the sheep and goats with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's concubines. He brought bad reports to his father about what his brothers were doing.

3Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other sons, because he had been born to him when he was old. He made a long robe with full sleeves for him. 4When his brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than he loved them, they hated their brother so much that they would not speak to him in a friendly manner.

5One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him even more. 6He said, “Listen to the dream I had. 7We were all in the field tying up sheaves of wheat, when my sheaf got up and stood up straight. Yours formed a circle round mine and bowed down to it.”

8“Do you think you are going to be a king and rule over us?” his brothers asked. So they hated him even more because of his dreams and because of what he said about them.

9Then Joseph had another dream and said to his brothers, “I had another dream, in which I saw the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowing down to me.”

10He also told the dream to his father, and his father scolded him: “What kind of a dream is that? Do you think that your mother, your brothers, and I are going to come and bow down to you?” 11Joseph's brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept thinking about the whole matter.

Joseph is Sold and Taken to Egypt

12One day when Joseph's brothers had gone to Shechem to take care of their father's flock, 13Jacob said to Joseph, “I want you to go to Shechem, where your brothers are taking care of the flock.”

Joseph answered, “I am ready.”

14His father said, “Go and see if your brothers are safe and if the flock is all right; then come back and tell me.” So his father sent him on his way from the Valley of Hebron.

Joseph arrived at Shechem 15and was wandering about in the country when a man saw him and asked him, “What are you looking for?”

16“I am looking for my brothers, who are taking care of their flock,” he answered. “Can you tell me where they are?”

17The man said, “They have already left. I heard them say that they were going to Dothan.” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.

18They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted against him and decided to kill him. 19They said to one another, “Here comes that dreamer. 20Come on now, let's kill him and throw his body into one of the dry wells. We can say that a wild animal killed him. Then we will see what becomes of his dreams.”

21Reuben heard them and tried to save Joseph. “Let's not kill him,” he said. 22“Just throw him into this well in the wilderness, but don't hurt him.” He said this, planning to save him from them and send him back to his father. 23When Joseph came up to his brothers, they ripped off his long robe with full sleeves. 24Then they took him and threw him into the well, which was dry.

25While they were eating, they suddenly saw a group of Ishmaelites travelling from Gilead to Egypt. Their camels were loaded with spices and resins. 26Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother and covering up the murder? 27Let's sell him to these Ishmaelites. Then we won't have to hurt him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed, 28and when some Midianite traders came by, the brothers pulled Joseph out of the well and sold him for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

29When Reuben came back to the well and found that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes in sorrow. 30He returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is not there! What am I going to do?”

31Then they killed a goat and dipped Joseph's robe in its blood. 32They took the robe to their father and said, “We found this. Does it belong to your son?”

33He recognized it and said, “Yes, it is his! Some wild animal has killed him. My son Joseph has been torn to pieces!” 34Jacob tore his clothes in sorrow and put on sackcloth. He mourned for his son a long time. 35All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “I will go down to the world of the dead still mourning for my son.” So he continued to mourn for his son Joseph.

36Meanwhile, in Egypt, the Midianites had sold Joseph to Potiphar, one of the king's officers, who was the captain of the palace guard.

Genesis 37GNBOpen in Bible reader

Judah and Tamar

1About that time Judah left his brothers and went to stay with a man named Hirah, who was from the town of Adullam. 2There Judah met a young Canaanite woman whose father was named Shua. He married her, 3and she bore him a son, whom he named Er. 4She became pregnant again and bore another son and named him Onan. 5Again she had a son and named him Shelah. Judah was at Achzib when the boy was born.

6For his first son Er, Judah got a wife whose name was Tamar. 7Er's conduct was evil, and it displeased the LORD, so the LORD killed him. 8Then Judah said to Er's brother Onan, “Go and sleep with your brother's widow. Fulfil your obligation to her as her husband's brother, so that your brother may have descendants.” 9But Onan knew that the children would not belong to him, so whenever he had intercourse with his brother's widow, he let the semen spill on the ground, so that there would be no children for his brother. 10What he did displeased the LORD, and the LORD killed him also. 11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Return to your father's house and remain a widow until my son Shelah grows up.” He said this because he was afraid that Shelah would be killed, as his brothers had been. So Tamar went back home.

12After some time Judah's wife died. When he had finished the time of mourning, he and his friend Hirah of Adullam went to Timnah, where his sheep were being sheared. 13Someone told Tamar that her father-in-law was going to Timnah to shear his sheep. 14So she changed from the widow's clothes she had been wearing, covered her face with a veil, and sat down at the entrance to Enaim, a town on the road to Timnah. As she well knew, Judah's youngest son Shelah had now grown up, and yet she had not been given to him in marriage.

15When Judah saw her, he thought that she was a prostitute, because she had her face covered. 16He went over to her at the side of the road and said, “All right, how much do you charge?” (He did not know that she was his daughter-in-law.)

She said, “What will you give me?”

17He answered, “I will send you a young goat from my flock.”

She said, “All right, if you will give me something to keep as a pledge until you send the goat.”

18“What shall I give you as a pledge?” he asked.

She answered, “Your seal with its cord and the stick you are carrying.” He gave them to her. Then they had intercourse, and she became pregnant. 19Tamar went home, took off her veil, and put her widow's clothes back on.

20Judah sent his friend Hirah to take the goat and get back from the woman the articles he had pledged, but Hirah could not find her. 21He asked some men at Enaim, “Where is the prostitute who was here by the road?”

“There has never been a prostitute here,” they answered.

22He returned to Judah and said, “I couldn't find her. The men of the place said that there had never been a prostitute there.”

23Judah said, “Let her keep the things. We don't want people to laugh at us. I did try to pay her, but you couldn't find her.”

24About three months later someone said to Judah, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has been acting like a whore, and now she is pregnant.”

Judah ordered, “Take her out and burn her to death.”

25As she was being taken out, she sent word to her father-in-law: “I am pregnant by the man who owns these things. Look at them and see whose they are — this seal with its cord and this stick.”

26Judah recognized them and said, “She is in the right. I have failed in my obligation to her — I should have given her to my son Shelah in marriage.” And Judah never had intercourse with her again.

27When the time came for her to give birth, it was discovered that she was going to have twins. 28While she was in labour, one of them put out an arm; the midwife caught it, tied a red thread round it, and said, “This one was born first.” 29But he pulled his arm back, and his brother was born first. Then the midwife said, “So this is how you break your way out!” So he was named Perez. 30Then his brother was born with the red thread on his arm, and he was named Zerah.

Genesis 38GNBOpen in Bible reader

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife

1Now the Ishmaelites had taken Joseph to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, one of the king's officers, who was the captain of the palace guard. 2The LORD was with Joseph and made him successful. He lived in the house of his Egyptian master, 3who saw that the LORD was with Joseph and had made him successful in everything he did. 4Potiphar was pleased with him and made him his personal servant; so he put him in charge of his house and everything he owned. 5From then on, because of Joseph the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian and everything that he had in his house and in his fields. 6Potiphar handed over everything he had to the care of Joseph and did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.

Joseph was well-built and good-looking, 7and after a while his master's wife began to desire Joseph and asked him to go to bed with her. 8He refused and said to her, “Look, my master does not have to concern himself with anything in the house, because I am here. He has put me in charge of everything he has. 9I have as much authority in this house as he has, and he has not kept back anything from me except you. How then could I do such an immoral thing and sin against God?” 10Although she asked Joseph day after day, he would not go to bed with her.

11But one day when Joseph went into the house to do his work, none of the house servants was there. 12She caught him by his robe and said, “Come to bed with me.” But he escaped and ran outside, leaving his robe in her hand. 13When she saw that he had left his robe and had run out of the house, 14she called to her house servants and said, “Look at this! This Hebrew that my husband brought to the house is insulting us. He came into my room and tried to rape me, but I screamed as loud as I could. 15When he heard me scream, he ran outside, leaving his robe beside me.”

16She kept his robe with her until Joseph's master came home. 17Then she told him the same story: “That Hebrew slave that you brought here came into my room and insulted me. 18But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his robe beside me.”

19Joseph's master was furious 20and had Joseph arrested and put in the prison where the king's prisoners were kept, and there he stayed. 21But the LORD was with Joseph and blessed him, so that the jailer was pleased with him. 22He put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and made him responsible for everything that was done in the prison. 23The jailer did not have to look after anything for which Joseph was responsible, because the LORD was with Joseph and made him succeed in everything he did.

Genesis 39GNBOpen in Bible reader

Joseph Interprets the Prisoners' Dreams

1Some time later the king of Egypt's wine steward and his chief baker offended the king. 2He was angry with these two officials 3and put them in prison in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same place where Joseph was being kept. 4They spent a long time in prison, and the captain assigned Joseph as their servant.

5One night there in prison the wine steward and the chief baker each had a dream, and the dreams had different meanings. 6When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were upset. 7He asked them, “Why do you look so worried today?”

8They answered, “Each of us had a dream, and there is no one here to explain what the dreams mean.”

“It is God who gives the ability to interpret dreams,” Joseph said. “Tell me your dreams.”

9So the wine steward said, “In my dream there was a grapevine in front of me 10with three branches on it. As soon as the leaves came out, the blossoms appeared, and the grapes ripened. 11I was holding the king's cup; so I took the grapes and squeezed them into the cup and gave it to him.”

12Joseph said, “This is what it means: the three branches are three days. 13In three days the king will release you, pardon you, and restore you to your position. You will give him his cup as you did before when you were his wine steward. 14But please remember me when everything is going well for you, and please be kind enough to mention me to the king and help me to get out of this prison. 15After all, I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here in Egypt I didn't do anything to deserve being put in prison.”

16When the chief baker saw that the interpretation of the wine steward's dream was favourable, he said to Joseph, “I had a dream too; I was carrying three bread baskets on my head. 17In the top basket there were all kinds of pastries for the king, and the birds were eating them.”

18Joseph answered, “This is what it means: the three baskets are three days. 19In three days the king will release you — and have your head cut off! Then he will hang your body on a pole, and the birds will eat your flesh.”

20On his birthday three days later the king gave a banquet for all his officials; he released his wine steward and his chief baker and brought them before his officials. 21He restored the wine steward to his former position, 22but he executed the chief baker. It all happened just as Joseph had said. 23But the wine steward never gave Joseph another thought — he forgot all about him.

Genesis 40GNBOpen in Bible reader

Joseph Interprets the King's Dreams

1After two years had passed, the king of Egypt dreamt that he was standing by the River Nile, 2when seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the river and began to feed on the grass. 3Then seven other cows came up; they were thin and bony. They came and stood by the other cows on the river bank, 4and the thin cows ate up the fat cows. Then the king woke up. 5He fell asleep again and had another dream. Seven ears of corn, full and ripe, were growing on one stalk. 6Then seven other ears of corn sprouted, thin and scorched by the desert wind, 7and the thin ears of corn swallowed the full ones. The king woke up and realized that he had been dreaming. 8In the morning he was worried, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. He told them his dreams, but no one could explain them to him.

9Then the wine steward said to the king, “I must confess today that I have done wrong. 10You were angry with the chief baker and me, and you put us in prison in the house of the captain of the guard. 11One night each of us had a dream, and the dreams had different meanings. 12A young Hebrew was there with us, a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us. 13Things turned out just as he said: you restored me to my position, but you executed the baker.”

14The king sent for Joseph, and he was immediately brought from the prison. After he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came into the king's presence. 15The king said to him, “I have had a dream, and no one can explain it. I have been told that you can interpret dreams.”

16Joseph answered, “I cannot, Your Majesty, but God will give a favourable interpretation.”

17The king said, “I dreamt that I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18when seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the river and began feeding on the grass. 19Then seven other cows came up which were thin and bony. They were the poorest cows I have ever seen anywhere in Egypt. 20The thin cows ate up the fat ones, 21but no one would have known it, because they looked just as bad as before. Then I woke up. 22I also dreamt that I saw seven ears of corn which were full and ripe, growing on one stalk. 23Then seven ears of corn sprouted, thin and scorched by the desert wind, 24and the thin ears of corn swallowed the full ones. I told the dreams to the magicians, but none of them could explain them to me.”

25Joseph said to the king, “The two dreams mean the same thing; God has told you what he is going to do. 26The seven fat cows are seven years, and the seven full ears of corn are also seven years; they have the same meaning. 27The seven thin cows which came up later and the seven thin ears of corn scorched by the desert wind are seven years of famine. 28It is just as I told you — God has shown you what he is going to do. 29There will be seven years of great plenty in all the land of Egypt. 30After that, there will be seven years of famine, and all the good years will be forgotten, because the famine will ruin the country. 31The time of plenty will be entirely forgotten, because the famine which follows will be so terrible. 32The repetition of your dream means that the matter is fixed by God and that he will make it happen in the near future.

33“Now you should choose some man with wisdom and insight and put him in charge of the country. 34You must also appoint other officials and take a fifth of the crops during the seven years of plenty. 35Order them to collect all the food during the good years that are coming, and give them authority to store up corn in the cities and guard it. 36The food will be a reserve supply for the country during the seven years of famine which are going to come on Egypt. In this way the people will not starve.”

Joseph is Made Governor over Egypt

37The king and his officials approved this plan, 38and he said to them, “We will never find a better man than Joseph, a man who has God's Spirit in him.” 39The king said to Joseph, “God has shown you all this, so it is obvious that you have greater wisdom and insight than anyone else. 40I will put you in charge of my country, and all my people will obey your orders. Your authority will be second only to mine. 41I now appoint you governor over all Egypt.” 42The king removed from his finger the ring engraved with the royal seal and put it on Joseph's finger. He put a fine linen robe on him, and placed a gold chain round his neck. 43He gave him the second royal chariot to ride in, and his guard of honour went ahead of him and cried out, “Make way! Make way!” And so Joseph was appointed governor over all Egypt. 44The king said to him, “I am the king — and no one in all Egypt shall so much as lift a hand or a foot without your permission.” 45-46He gave Joseph the Egyptian name Zaphenath Paneah, and he gave him a wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in the city of Heliopolis.

Joseph was thirty years old when he began to serve the king of Egypt. He left the king's court and travelled all over the land. 47During the seven years of plenty the land produced abundant crops, 48all of which Joseph collected and stored in the cities. In each city he stored the food from the fields around it. 49There was so much corn that Joseph stopped measuring it — it was like the sand of the sea.

50Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons by Asenath. 51He said, “God has made me forget all my sufferings and all my father's family”; so he named his first son Manasseh. 52He also said, “God has given me children in the land of my trouble”; so he named his second son Ephraim.

53The seven years of plenty that the land of Egypt had enjoyed came to an end, 54and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every other country, but there was food throughout Egypt. 55When the Egyptians began to be hungry, they cried out to the king for food. So he ordered them to go to Joseph and do what he told them. 56The famine grew worse and spread over the whole country, so Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold corn to the Egyptians. 57People came to Egypt from all over the world to buy corn from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.

Genesis 41GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Empty Tomb

(Mt 28.1–8; Mk 16.1–8; Lk 24.1–12)

1Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the entrance. 2She went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!”

3Then Peter and the other disciple went to the tomb. 4The two of them were running, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent over and saw the linen wrappings, but he did not go in. 6Behind him came Simon Peter, and he went straight into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there 7and the cloth which had been round Jesus' head. It was not lying with the linen wrappings but was rolled up by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed. 9(They still did not understand the scripture which said that he must rise from death.) 10Then the disciples went back home.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

(Mt 28.9–10; Mk 16.9–11)

11Mary stood crying outside the tomb. While she was still crying, she bent over and looked in the tomb 12and saw two angels there dressed in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13“Woman, why are you crying?” they asked her.

She answered, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!”

14Then she turned round and saw Jesus standing there; but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15“Woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who is it that you are looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener, so she said to him, “If you took him away, sir, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

16Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned towards him and said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (This means “Teacher”.)

17“Do not hold on to me,” Jesus told her, “because I have not yet gone back up to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am returning to him who is my Father and their Father, my God and their God.”

18So Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and related to them what he had told her.

Jesus Appears to his Disciples

(Mt 28.16–20; Mk 16.14–18; Lk 24.36–49)

19It was late that Sunday evening, and the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. Then Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 20After saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” 22Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive people's sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus and Thomas

24One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26A week later the disciples were together again indoors, and Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then stretch out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting, and believe!”

28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

29Jesus said to him, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!”

The Purpose of this Book

30In his disciples' presence Jesus performed many other miracles which are not written down in this book. 31But these have been written in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you may have life.

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

1After this, Jesus appeared once more to his disciples at Lake Tiberias. This is how it happened. 2Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael (the one from Cana in Galilee), the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples of Jesus were all together. 3Simon Peter said to the others, “I am going fishing.”

“We will come with you,” they told him. So they went out in a boat, but all that night they did not catch a thing. 4As the sun was rising, Jesus stood at the water's edge, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Then he asked them, “Young men, haven't you caught anything?”

“Not a thing,” they answered.

6He said to them, “Throw your net out on the right side of the boat, and you will catch some.” So they threw the net out and could not pull it back in, because they had caught so many fish.

7The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Peter heard that it was the Lord, he wrapped his outer garment round him (for he had taken his clothes off) and jumped into the water. 8The other disciples came to shore in the boat, pulling the net full of fish. They were not very far from land, about a hundred metres away. 9When they stepped ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there with fish on it and some bread. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”

11Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net ashore full of big fish, 153 in all; even though there were so many, still the net did not tear. 12Jesus said to them, “Come and eat.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13So Jesus went over, took the bread, and gave it to them; he did the same with the fish.

14This, then, was the third time Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from death.

Jesus and Peter

15After they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Take care of my lambs.” 16A second time Jesus said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep.” 17A third time Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was sad because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” so he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you!”

Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep. 18I am telling you the truth: when you were young, you used to get ready and go anywhere you wanted to; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will bind you and take you where you don't want to go.” 19(In saying this, Jesus was indicating the way in which Peter would die and bring glory to God.) Then Jesus said to him, “Follow me!”

Jesus and the Other Disciple

20Peter turned round and saw behind him that other disciple, whom Jesus loved — the one who had leaned close to Jesus at the meal and had asked, “Lord, who is going to betray you?” 21When Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”

22Jesus answered him, “If I want him to live until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!”

23So a report spread among the followers of Jesus that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he said, “If I want him to live until I come, what is that to you?”

24He is the disciple who spoke of these things, the one who also wrote them down; and we know that what he said is true.

Conclusion

25Now, there are many other things that Jesus did. If they were all written down one by one, I suppose that the whole world could not hold the books that would be written.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
Find us on