I know this story focuses on the heartbreaking story of Joseph getting sold into slavery, but it was Reuben who caught my eye! Reuben is the oldest son, who in chapter 35, slept with his step-mother Bilhah as the family camped in Megdal-eder on the way to Bethel. In this chapter, Reuben redeems himself a smidge by planning to rescue his brother Joseph, who is only 17, after the other brothers plot to kill him. However, when Reuben isn’t around, the brothers sell Joseph to a band of traveling Ishmaelites heading to Egypt. It says the brothers had just sat down to eat when the Ishmaelites came by. They sold Joseph, and Reuben discovered all this later when he came back to rescue Joseph and discovers that he was gone. Where had he been though? Washing his hands for dinner? Out with the flock because it was his shift? Washing up dinner dishes before he sat down to eat because he’d cooked that night?
And I’m confused as to whether or not he knew about the sale. After he discovers Joseph is missing, Reuben goes back to his brothers and says, “The boy is gone!” So, right there, he’s confessed that he was going to rescue him. The brothers, however, seem to skirt over the whole issue and then send Joseph’s bloody coat to Jacob to make him think his favorite son is dead. What a tear-jerking scene! Still I’m wondering, though, was Reuben privy to the scheme? Oh, I can’t stand the mystery and suspense!
Writing prompt: Where’s Reuben?
Write about where Reuben went while his brothers sat down to dinner and then sold off Joseph to Ishmaelites traders.