25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.I've noted this a few times but just to remind you, camels had not been domesticated at the time these events supposedly happened.
26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.An obvious continuity problem here, maybe a transcription error or a conflation of two versions of the story. The Midianites and the Ishmaelites are completely different people. Which is it? It is also kind of interesting that a few guys sitting around eating lunch can offer to sell a person into slavery to passing strangers. The rules of commerce here are not the ones we observe today.
28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels[b] of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
29 When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?”Again, the brothers sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites but the Midianites sold him to Potiphar. But this writer probably doesn't have an editor. Also, too, note that God renaming the guy Israel still hasn't stuck. He stubbornly remains Jacob.
31 Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.”
33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.”
34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him.
36 Meanwhile, the Midianites[c] sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.
Note that the overland journey from Bethlehem to Cairo is quite substantial, even for people who actually do have camels. It's about 200 miles, mostly across the Sinai desert, so Joseph is probably done with the sackcloth by the time Joseph gets there. We'll learn more of his fate next week.