INT. ISRAEL'S BEDROOM - DAY
Israel lies sick in his bed. He is old, somewhat blinded from age and ready to die. A messenger knocks at his door and peeks in.
Sir? Your son Joseph is here to see you.
Israel motions for his son to come, and strengthens himself upon his bed. He gazes toward the direction of the door with off-target eyes.
Nay, father. Let me be any other to thee than royalty.
What then of this lowly farm boy ere a dreamer who from prison bars sprang to be hailed king. Might you know this boy?
Israel smirks, but is interrupted by an outburst of coughing.
Time is bleeding dry and there’s much to say. From thy youth, no visage of slumber’s divine gift hath escaped your prophetic eye, my king. See here. Once a dream sh-
I saw a ladder set upon the earth, reaching up to Heaven whereupon God’s angels ascending and descending took to earth’s gracious host. I saw the Lord Almighty above in unspeakable glory. He said, I am the I AM, the God of your fathers Abraham and Isaac. The land you lie upon, I will give it to you and to your seed. You shall be as the dust of the earth spread abroad, and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you, and will keep you, and bring you again to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken.
Joseph awakens from meditative listening.
The thing you saw, God has stood at the gateway between Heaven and Earth, the bridge between God and men. It is God’s assurance that you have received the blessing of your inheritance. Beyond what is said I cannot now know, nor angel steal a glimpse, nor the Lord show.
Yes! Yes! A promise fulfilled now in you for a savory base in glory-stew.
Is that a new recipe to barter a birthright? Who is our buyer?
Who else but your adopted brother Egypt? But for the Shemite-favoring king we would the Thebans’ captives be. They unto worldwide glory perspire while we here at home brew mighty unto God’s moving. From the field our porridge would be as Pharaoh’s backbone. Aye, they’ll barter, or steal from bloodthirsty gaze on crimson fluids! Till the days manifest the untold price: their glory-whore’s child taken for their vice. Then let an adulterine nation watch his whorish gods in lethal travails botch.
Confounding knave! Rightly were you named Supplanter.
Joseph, your two sons are mine as Reuben and Simeon are mine. You will have two tribes in place of your own by my blessing. What sons you bear besides these are yours, but let them be called under Ephraim or Manasseh.
Then Israel gazes at the two adolescent figures moving behind Joseph.
Who are they?
They are my sons, whom God has given me in this place.
Please, bring them to me, and I will bless them.
Israel kisses them and embraces them.
I had not thought to see your face again after- ...and now God brings me your sons also!
Joseph brings them from beside his knees, and he bows down with his face to the feet of his weeping father. Then Joseph brings Ephraim and Manasseh to Israel with Manasseh on the Israel's right hand. Joseph bows his head. Israel crosses his hands upon the children’s heads.
God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has fed me all my life to this day, The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless these lads. Let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac. Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
Joseph raises his head at this great blessing, but quickly changes face.
Not so, father! This one is my firstborn, put your right hand on his head.
I know, my son, I know. He also shall become great, but surely his younger brother shall be greater. In you all Israel will bless others saying, God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.
So I set one bef-fore the other-
Abba? Abba, are you all right?
Yes. Yes, child... God won’t let me rest yet. He is your Abba now. He will bring our people again to the land of your fathers.
I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.
The messenger calls from the door announcing the sons of Israel. Israel beckons them to come together. The eleven brothers ease forward, careful not to crowd their powerful brother. Joseph observes their fear. He jerks at them to get a reaction. They all jump. Joseph cracks a smile toward his father.
Settle. Settle, now. Gather together that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days. Now, listen closely:
A flashback shows Israel in a field setting down the embalmed corpse of a beautiful woman. He kisses her forehead before he buries her with stones. He erects a pillar upon his wife’s grave. Meanwhile, Reuben creeps into his father’s bedchamber and embraces a concubine in bed.
...Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellence of dignity and the excellence of power. But you are unstable as water. You shall not excel because you went up into my bed and defiled it. You went up into my couch.
Another flashback shows there is a great argument among the family in an inner room. Many hands gesture toward the ravaged girl in their midst. Levi cradles the girl. They come outside to meet a gaudy prince with a sickening smile standing before his inquisitive father and his small army. Levi and Simeon speak soft words that please the two men, Shechem and his father Hamor. Dinah, the ravaged sister, is beckoned to go with Shechem. The assembly disperses but for Simeon and Levi whose casual manners turn mad.
...Simeon and Levi are brothers, instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their council; let not my honor be united to their assembly, for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.
Israel comes outside to see a great host of women, children and laden cattle coming to him. Simeon and Levi, who holds his sister, lead them. They are caked in dry cracking mud, covered in blood. Their mad eyes glow from their darkened faces. Israel turns this way and that out of fear.
...Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise. Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies. Your father's children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion's whelp. From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He lies down as a lion, and who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor shall a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh comes, to whom be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey and his colt to the choice vine, he washes his garments in wine. His eyes are red with wine, his teeth white with milk.
Zebulun shall dwell by the sea. He shall become a haven for ships, and his border shall adjoin Sidon.
Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between two burdens. He saw that rest was good, that the land was pleasant. He bowed his shoulder to bear a burden, and became a band of slaves.
Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. He shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path that bites the horse's heels so that its rider shall fall back. I have waited for your salvation, O Lord!
Gad, a troop shall tramp upon him, but he shall triumph at last.
Bread from Asher shall be rich, and he shall yield royal dainties.
Naphtali is a deer let loose who uses beautiful words.
Benjamin is a ravenous wolf. In the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
Joseph is a fruitful bough by a well. His branches run over the wall. The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him, but his bow remained in strength. His arms were made strong by the hands the Mighty One of Jacob, the Shepherd and Rock of your father who will help you; blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lie beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, on the crown of him who was separate from his brothers.
EXT. GOSHEN - CONTINUOUS
Israel continues. His voice carries over the scenes of great mourning. Joseph, his eleven siblings, all their sons, all the servants of Pharaoh, elders of his house and of all Egypt, chariots and horsemen by the hundreds, and a great many others came out of Egypt to carry Israel's embalmed body out of Egypt.
...there now: twelve tribes of Israel. My sons, I leave you now, but God will surely visit you. Swear to me now to gather my bones when you leave. Take me to my fathers in the cave of Machpelah in Canaan's land. Abraham bought it from the sons of Heth with their blessing, with the field of Ephron the Hittite as a possession for a burial place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I’ll rest with Leah, my wife.
Screenplay by: Tim Seaton