Zusammenfassung / Summary
The Hebrew text of the story how Joseph was sold to Egypt (Gen 37) seems to make the Midianites sell him to the Ishmaelites without the brothers’ knowing. Pre-Christian Judaism, however, already made the brothers sell him, identifying the Midianites with the Ishmaelites (LXX, Philo, Josephus, NT). Luke makes this understanding canonical for Christians and reads the story typologically. Modern exegetes tended to separate two layers: in the Reuben-version the Midianites would steal Joseph, in the Judah-version the brothers would sell the boy to the Ishmaelites. The interpretation according to which the traders stole Joseph has been kept by the Koran and some Jewish exegetes. The most recent German speaking commentaries follow this line. The article pursues the story of interpretation in Judaism, Christianity and Islam through the centuries and clarifi es the hermeneutical presuppositions and theological consequences of the two readings.