The Road To Dothan

Joseph’s dreams were so important to him that he was determined to treat them seriously, despite his brothers’ threats to kill him if he didn’t change his ways. Joseph reasoned that his dreams were what made him special – too special to waste his time working in the fields like his brothers. It would drag him down to their coarse and philistine level. Besides, to work like his brothers would drain him of the emotional and psychic energy that made his dreams so remarkable.

A few days after the *dream about the sheaves*, Joseph had another vivid dream that he was careful to tell of to his brothers only when his father, Jacob, was present.

“Brothers, and you too, Father, you must hear about this dream I’ve just had.”

“Oh God, not another one,” said Simeon, one of the brothers.

“The sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me,” said Joseph.

“Does this mean that I and your mother and brothers must bow low to the ground before you?” said Jacob.

“It looks that way,” said Joseph, “I don’t mean you do so right now. Later on, perhaps, when I become great.”

“I hope my giving you that special robe, and my not requiring you to work in the fields, isn’t causing you to become too big for your sandals,” said Jacob.

“Are you suggesting, Father, that I’m becoming megalomaniacal?”

“Not in so many words, but you could. Just watch it. There’s a good chap.”

***

Jacob sent his sons – minus Joseph, of course – to mind his flocks in Shechem, which was some days distant. Jacob couldn’t help worrying about the safety of his sons and the safety of his flocks there, because of *what his sons had previously done* to the people of Shechem.

Jacob’s worrying reached the point that he sent for Joseph.

“I want you, Son, to go to Shechem where your brothers are. I assume you know they’re minding my flocks there?”

“I’d heard, Father.”

“Check that all is well with them and the sheep, particularly the sheep, for there are far more of the sheep than there are of your brothers, and they’re more valuable. Check also for any unnatural practices between your brothers and the sheep. I know what young men can get up to when there aren’t many girls around. Off you go.”

***

When Joseph arrived in Shechem, his brothers seemed not to be there. He wandered around, puzzled. One of the locals noticed the puzzled Joseph and said to him, “Can I help you with anything?”

“I’m looking for my brothers. They’re supposed to be minding sheep here. None-one I’ve seen here minding sheep are my brothers, so I don’t know………”

“I saw some unfamiliar looking men a day or so ago on the road to Dothan.”

“How many?”

“Eleven as I recall.”

“What did they look like?”

“They had crooked noses, bad teeth and narrow shifty eyes.”

“Sounds like them. They were going to Dothan, you say?”

“Looked like it.”

“Where’s Dothan?”

“Over there, yonder.”

“How far?”

“Oh, a half-day’s walk at most.”

“Thank you my good fellow. Much obliged.”

“That’ll cost you a shekel.”

“A shekel?”

“A shekel. You don’t think I’m going to spend my time giving you valuable information for nothing, do you?”

“Look here my man, I’ll not be spoken to like this.”

“See this?” The man made a fist and shook it in front of Joseph’s nose.

“This is out-and-out robbery. But here.” Joseph fished a shekel from inside his brightly-coloured robe and gave it to the man.

***

Joseph’s brothers, working in a large field at Dothan, saw a man approaching them from the distance. As he got nearer they noticed his brightly coloured robe.

“Oh God, here he is again,” they said………

Source: Genesis 37, 9-17

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