By Mary Vee
Joseph wrapped his special coat around his body. He smoothed out a few wrinkles, raised his chin, and proudly walked out to the fire.
Joseph gave a small bow to his father. "Breakfast smells good."
Jacob waved his son over. "Joseph, come. Join me for our morning meal."
Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher spread their elbows to take up more room. Joseph rolled his eyes and walked to the other side of the table. Reuben, Judah, Levi, Simeon leaned over to the side and Issachar and Zebulun tipped the other way. Joseph couldn't find an open place to sit.
Jacob laughed. "All right, quit teasing your brother. Move over to make room."
Joseph squeezed into the small place at the end.
Jacob took another bite of his breakfast. "Today I want you boys to take the flocks out to new pasture. I've notice a few have been injured by bushes or thorns. Take good care of them. I'll see you this evening when you return."
Dan and Naphtali stood "accidentally" shoving their bodies into Joseph. His food popped out of his hand and dropped to the ground. They walked away laughing. Little Benjamin toddled up to Joseph and picked up the food. He shoved it in Joseph's bowl. Joseph smiled when the little boy hugged his leg. "Thanks, little brother. Go play, I have work to do."
Joseph stuffed the last of his meal down his throat then ran to catch up with the others. He didn't mind working with the sheep. It was a peaceful job except when his older brothers treated him like a servant or played mean jokes on him. Sometimes he wished he could take care of the sheep by himself, then he wouldn't have to put up with them.
That afternoon, Jacob's sons found a pasture with plenty of green grass. Joseph kept busy shooing the wandering sheep back to the fold. He looked up and noticed his brother walking away from the sheep.
Joseph sat on a rock near a lamb. "They wouldn't care if you lost your way." The yearling looked up at his shepherd and bleated. Joseph pat the little animal's head.
Shortly before sundown, the brothers returned. They drove the sheep back home then plopped down for dinner. Joseph secured the gate and walked over to his father's tent. "Father, may I speak with you."
Joseph opened the tent flap. "Father, today, in the pasture, Simeon and the others left me with the work. Once we arrived, they took off and didn't return until nearly sundown."
Jacob stroked his beard. "I'll talk with them about this. Go now, eat your supper."
Later that evening Joseph noticed his brothers gathered around Jacob's tent. When his father walked away, his brothers pounded their fists together and raised their arms in the air. He hid behind a tree. Oh no! They're going to beat me up for sure.
He sneaked to his tent and whipped open the flap. What will I do when we go to the pasture tomorrow?
Joseph laid back on his bed. Maybe I shouldn't have told on them. Their going to pound me for sure tomorrow. Joseph tried to sleep. He rolled this way and that. The night seemed to last forever.
Joseph's big brother's liked to pick on him. This was difficult for Joseph to deal with. In the next few stories we'll learn more about Joseph and his brothers. The good news is: God remains faithful to Joseph, he protects him and leads him to a very important job.
What does God want you to do when an older kid picks on you? Clue - Think about what Jesus did when the pharisees picked on Him.