While Jacob was living with his Uncle in Syria, he had twelve sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Gad, Asher, Dan, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin. He brought his entire family to Canaan, where his father Isaac had lived.
When Joseph was seventeen years old, he took care of the sheep with his older brothers. Only Benjamin was too young to join them. Joseph felt like it was his job to tell on his brothers whenever they did anything wrong. This made his brothers resent him. But then to make things worse, to show Joseph how much he loved him, Jacob gave him an incredibly beautiful coat. Back then, the most expensive clothes were made of many, many colors.
Now, his brothers didn’t just resent him, they felt jealous that their father loved him more than them.
One night, Joseph had a strange dream. He dreamed that he and his brothers were out in the field, tying up bundles of wheat. Then Joseph’s bundle of wheat stood up, and his brothers’ bundles of wheat all bowed down to it. When Joseph woke up, he told his dream to his brothers.
“Well what was that dream supposed to mean?” they asked in annoyance. “That our little baby brothers is going to rule over us one day?”
Another night, Joseph dreamt that the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed down to him. Joseph told his father about this dream, and Jacob also was annoyed.
“Oh, I suppose this dream means that I’m the sun and your mother is the moon and your eleven brothers are the stars. And we are all going to bow down to you one day, is that right?”
Later on, Joseph’s brothers had stayed away with the sheep for longer than they were supposed to. Jacob suspected they were goofing off, and sent Joseph to check up on them, because he knew Joseph would always report back when they weren’t doing the right thing.
As the brothers saw Joseph approaching, they decided they wanted to teach him a lesson for always tattling. Joseph’s brothers ripped his coat off of him and threw him into a pit.
When a group of traveling merchants passed by on their way to Egypt, the brothers made Joseph go with them.
When they returned to their father, they lied about what had happened.
Jacob cried like he had never cried before. He believed Joseph had run into a wild animal.
Meanwhile, Joseph was taken to Egypt to work for a man named Potiphar, a very important person who was in charge of the Pharaoh’s palace guards.