Jacob lived in the land of Canaan where his father Isaac had lived. When Jacob's eleventh son, Joseph, was seventeen years old, he was helping his brothers take care of the sheep and goats and told his father about the bad things that they were doing. He was his father's favorite son and Jacob gave him a beautiful robe. This made his brothers hate him even more. One day he had a dream and he told his brothers about it, "We were all in the field tying up bundles of wheat, when my bundle stood up and yours all bowed down to it." "Do you think you are going to be king over us?" his brothers asked. Then he had another dream which he told his brothers and his father, "I saw the sun, the moon, and the stars bowing down to me." His father scolded him, "Do you think that your mother, your brothers, and I are going to bow down to you?"
Joseph's brothers took the flocks away to the country around Shechem, fifty miles away, to take care of them. So Jacob called Joseph and sent him to Shechem to see how his brothers were doing. When he got to Shechem he couldn't find them. A man asked him, "What are you looking for?" "My brothers," he answered. The man said, "I heard them say they were going to Dothan." So Joseph went on to Dothan, fifteen miles away.
His brothers saw him coming and they said, "Here comes that dreamer. Let's kill him. We can say a wild animal killed him." But the oldest brother Reuben said, "Let's not kill him. Just throw him in this dry well." So when he came up, they tore his fine robe off and threw him in the dry well. Later, while Reuben was away, some traders came by on their way to Egypt with their camels loaded with spices and resins. Then Judah said, "What will we gain by killing our brother? Let's sell him to these traders." So they pulled him up out of the well and sold him for twenty pieces of silver.
Now Reuben had planned to take Joseph out of the well and send him back to his father. When he returned to the well and found Joseph gone, he tore his clothes in sorrow and said, "What am I going to do.?"
Then the brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph's robe in its blood. They took the robe to their father and said, "We found this. Does it belong to your son?" Jacob said, "Yes. Some wild animal has killed him! My son Joseph has been torn to pieces!" He tore his clothes and began to mourn for his son. His children tried to comfort him, but he said, "I will go to my grave still mourning."
At the same time down in Egypt the traders sold Joseph to a man named Potiphar, who was a captain over the king's guards.