Vayeishev

Genesis 37:1-40:23

 

Jacob and his sons settle in Hebron.  Joseph, son of Rachel, is Jacob’s favorite son.  Joseph’s brothers are jealous of his favoritism.  When Joseph dreams that he will rule over his brothers, they plot to kill him.

Reuben convinces Simeon and Levi to throw Joseph into a pit instead of being directly responsible for his death.  However, Judah sells Joseph to Ishmaelites.

Upon discovering that Joseph is missing from the pit, the brothers decide to dip Joseph’s woolen coat, specially made for him by their father, in blood and show it to Jacob.  Jacob recognizes the coat and is led to believe that Joseph was demolished by a wild beast.

Judah marries and has 3 sons.  His oldest died young and childless and his widow Tamar is married to the second son, Onan, in levirate marriage. Not wanting to give his older brother a child, Onan angers G-d and dies young.  Judah doesn’t want his youngest and last son to die and had Tamar remain a widow.

Wanting to have a child in her husband’s family, Tamar dresses with a veil on a crossroad and tricks Judah to believe she is harlot.  In payment for her service, Judah will give her a sheep but lets her have his cloak and staff while he gets the sheep.  When Judah returns to find the harlot, he cannot find her anywhere.

When Tamar is found to be pregnant, Judah wants her to be put to death.  She produces the cloak and staff and Judah admits that he was responsible for her pregnancy.  Tamar has twin sons named Peretz and Zerach.

Meanwhile, Joseph was sold to the Pharoah’s slaughterhouse minister Potiphar.  Joseph is blessed in everything he does and is promoted to oversee his master’s business.  Potiphar’s wife is quite taken with Joseph and tried to persuade him to be hers.  When he refuses, she tells her husband that Joseph tried to force himself on her.  Joseph is imprisoned and charms all while there and is promoted to administration.

While in prison, Joseph meets the head baker and butler.  They both have very bad dreams that Joseph can interpret.  He tells them that the baker will be hanged in three days and that the butler will be released.  Joseph asks the butler to put in a good word to Pharoah on his behalf.  It happens as Joseph says but the butler forgets about Joseph.