Joseph's Dream

After the death of his father Isaac, Jacob, with his whole household, his sons, his servants, his flocks and herds and sheep-dogs, came to sojourn in the green and wooded vale of Hebron which is in Canaan. Here they pitched their tents, and led their flocks afield, for Hebron lies in a country rich in pastures and in clear well-springs of water.

Now of all his eleven sons Jacob loved Joseph the best. Until Benjamin was born, he was the youngest of them all, and he was too the only son of his beautiful mother Rachel, who was very dear to Jacob. Not only for this reason but for the child’s own sake also, Joseph was Jacob’s best-beloved; and, with no thought of any ill that might come of it, he favoured him in all things, delighted to talk to him, and he gave him many presents.

He made him also a loose tunic or coat of many colours, sewn together in delicate needlework in a bright pattern, and with sleeves to the wrists. And Joseph, being in age still little more than a child, delighted in his bright-coloured coat. But when his brothers saw it, they envied and hated him. For in this his father had yet again shown his great love for Joseph and had favoured him above themselves, and they could not speak a friendly or peaceable word to him.

As Joseph grew older, and in all that he was and did showed himself more and more unlike themselves, jealousy gnawed in their hearts like the fretting of a canker-worm. Above everything, they scorned, and even began to fear him, because of his dreams. They too, as they lay with their flocks, wrapped in their goat-skin cloaks beneath the dews and burning stars of the night, had their dreams; but these either vanished on waking or were broken and senseless. But the dreams that came to Joseph in his sleep were not only of a strange reality, but seemed to carry with them a hidden meaning. They were like the crystal shimmering pictures of the air, called mirage, seen by wanderers in the desert, the reflections of things afar off.

One late summer evening when he chanced to be with them in the fields, and sat a little apart from them, lost to all around him, in the light of the moon—a moon so dazzling clear that even the colours of his coat were faintly distinguishable—they asked him sourly what ailed him.

‘He sits out there,’ said one of them, ‘mumbling his thoughts like an old sheep too sick to graze.’ Joseph answered that he had been haunted all day by the memory of a dream. He was but a boy and he told his dream out to them, thinking no evil.

‘I dreamed,’ he said, ‘it was the time of harvest, and we were reaping together in the fields. It was sunrise, and the corn being cut, we were tying it up into sheaves. Even now I seem to feel the roughness of the binder in my hand, though the place we were in was none I have ever seen in waking. I tied up my sheaf and laid it down, as you did your sheaves. And in my dream the sheaf that I had bound rose up as if of its own motion from the stubble and stood up there in the burning sunshine, and your own sheaves, that lay scattered around it, rose up also. And as I looked, they bowed themselves and made obeisance to my sheaf that was in the midst of them. Now what can be the meaning of such a dream, and why does it stay so continually in my mind?’

His brothers tried in vain to hide their anger.

‘Meaning, forsooth!’ they said. ‘Who art thou that we should bow ourselves down before thee, and that thou shouldst have dominion over us? The place for thee is with the women and sucklings in the tents.’ And they hated him the more.

Joseph was silent and made no answer, but the dream in its strangeness and beauty stayed on in his mind. He knew it must surely have a meaning, if only he could discover it; and when he dreamed again, he told his dream not only to his brothers, but to his father.

‘I dreamed,’ he said, and his face was lit up at memory of it, ‘and, behold, in my dream it was the dead of night, yet the sun was in the heavens and the moon also. They shone there together, and I could see

  By PanEris using Melati.

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