...back in the land of Canaan things were going a little differently for Joseph’s brothers.
More than ten years have gone by since they sold Joseph to those traveling traders. Joseph was just a teenager then. Remember back then, when Joseph’s brothers threw Joseph into that well?
Well, first they had planned on killing him.
But Reuben, Joseph’s oldest brother, knew that would be a terrible thing to do.
“Let’s just throw him into this well instead,” he said.
Secretly he planned to come back and pull Joseph out, and then bring him safely back home to his father. Reuben knew how much his father loved Joseph, and he knew deep inside it would break his father’s heart if anything ever happened to him.
But while Reuben was away, his brothers saw their chance to get rid of Joseph AND make some money on the deal, so they pulled Joseph from the well and sold him to those traveling Ishmaelites.
When Reuben came back to the well later that evening, he fell to his knees in the sand. “Joseph is gone!” he cried. He pounded the ground and tore at his clothes, it hurt so bad inside. “What am I going to do now?” he wailed.
Finally, he picked himself up and went to find his brothers. “The boy is not there!” he cried to them.
“No, duh!” his brothers said, and they told Reuben what they had done.
“What are we going to tell Father?!” Reuben said.
And then his brothers cooked up a terrible plan to cover up what they had done.
They took one of their goats and killed it. Then they took Joseph’s fancy coat, the one his father had given him, the one they were so jealous of, and they dipped that coat in the goat’s blood and brought it back to their father.
“We found this while we were out tending the sheep,” they lied, “Do you know who it belongs to?” like they didn’t know whose it was. This was such a clever plan, they thought to themselves. Their father will think Joseph is dead, no one will ever know what they had done, and that will be the end of it.
Of course their father Jacob recognized the coat immediately.
“It is Joseph’s coat!” he cried, and his face went white. He began to cry so hard he tore at his clothes. “My son is dead! He has been torn to pieces by a wild animal!” He cried and cried, as if he would never stop.
“How can I ever be the same? My heart will be broken the rest of my days.”
I am sure his sons hadn’t planned on that.
They tried to comfort their father, but nothing they could say could make him feel any better.
Of course, they could have told him the truth. Joseph was not dead at all, but his brothers were all caught up in their lie now.
That’s the way with lies. They never do any good. They only lead to trouble and more trouble. They hurt people in ways you never think of, and then you get caught up in them, and one lie leads to another, and it only gets worse and worse.
And you may even think you are getting away with them for a while, maybe even more than ten years, like Joseph’s brothers did. But God knows the truth, and he has a way of working things around, and one day you will get found out.
Joseph’s brothers were about to learn that.