Genesis 37

 

וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב בְּאֶרֶץ מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן  37:1

Gene. 37:1     And Jacob dwelled in the land of the sojournings of his father, in the land of Canaan.

אֵלֶּה תֹּלְדֹות יַעֲקֹב יֹוסֵף בֶּן־שְׁבַע־עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה הָיָה רֹעֶה אֶת־אֶחָיו בַּצֹּאן וְהוּא נַעַר אֶת־בְּנֵי  37:2

בִלְהָה וְאֶת־בְּנֵי זִלְפָּה נְשֵׁי אָבִיו וַיָּבֵא יֹוסֵף אֶת־דִּבָּתָם רָעָה אֶל־אֲבִיהֶם

Gene. 37:2  These are the generations of Jacob.  Joseph was seventeen years of age; he was so young he was tending the flock with his brothers, with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, the wives of his father, and Joseph brought evil report of them to their father. 

As we will soon learn, most of Joseph’s brothers were quite mischievous, to say the least.  The story Joseph brought back to his father can only be imagined, but it was probably interesting.

וְיִשְׂרָאֵל אָהַב אֶת־יֹוסֵף מִכָּל־בָּנָיו כִּי־בֶן־זְקֻנִים הוּא לֹו וְעָשָׂה לֹו כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים  37:3

Gene. 37:3  Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his brothers because he was a son of old age to him, and he made a coat of many colors for him.

Why not also Benjamin?  I might guess that Israel would love Benjamin at least as much.  But did Israel associate him with (and blame him for) Rachel’s death?  Probably!

וַיִּרְאוּ אֶחָיו כִּי־אֹתֹו אָהַב אֲבִיהֶם מִכָּל־אֶחָיו וַיִּשְׂנְאוּ אֹתֹו וְלֹא יָכְלוּ דַּבְּרֹו לְשָׁלֹם  37:4

Gene. 37:4  When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, then they hated him and could not speak to him peaceably.

וַיַּחֲלֹם יֹוסֵף חֲלֹום וַיַּגֵּד לְאֶחָיו וַיֹּוסִפוּ עֹוד שְׂנֹא אֹתֹו  37:5

Gene. 37:5  And Joseph dreamed a dream and he described it to his brothers, and they hated him yet more.

The phrase Atao anOf. dA[ WpsiAYw at the end of the verse, which is translated as “and they hated him yet more,” is most likely an ancient idiom; otherwise the Hebrew is in error.  Literally, it translates as “and they increased hatred him again.”

וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם שִׁמְעוּ־נָא הַחֲלֹום הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָלָמְתִּי  37:6

Gene. 37:6  And he said to them, “Hear now this dream that I dreamed.”

וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים בְּתֹוךְ הַשָּׂדֶה וְהִנֵּה קָמָה אֲלֻמָּתִי וְגַם־נִצָּבָה וְהִנֵּה תְסֻבֶּינָה  37:7

אֲלֻמֹּתֵיכֶם וַתִּשְׁתַּחֲוֶיןָ לַאֲלֻמָּתִי

Gene. 37:7  “Now behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field when, behold, my sheaf arose, and also stood erect, and, behold, your sheaves came around and bowed down to my sheaf.”

וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹו אֶחָיו הֲמָלֹךְ תִּמְלֹךְ עָלֵינוּ אִם־מָשֹׁול תִּמְשֹׁל בָּנוּ וַיֹּוסִפוּ עֹוד שְׂנֹא אֹתֹו עַל־חֲלֹמֹתָיו  37:8

וְעַל־דְּבָרָיו

Gene. 37:8  And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us, or shall you indeed have dominion over us?” And they hated him yet all the more for his dream and for his manner.

Are you willing to believe that Joseph was that stupid or naive?  Was he not well aware of his brothers’ hatred?  I suggest that he was doing what most of us in his place would most likely do, taunt his brothers with his words.  He may have been a young fool, but it’s hard for me to believe he was unaware of the situation.

וַיַּחֲלֹם עֹוד חֲלֹום אַחֵר וַיְסַפֵּר אֹתֹו לְאֶחָיו וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה חָלַמְתִּי חֲלֹום עֹוד וְהִנֵּה הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ  37:9

וְהַיָּרֵחַ וְאַחַד עָשָׂר כֹּוכָבִים מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לִי

Gene. 37:9  And he dreamed yet another dream and related it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed a dream again and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me.”

וַיְסַפֵּר אֶל־אָבִיו וְאֶל־אֶחָיו וַיִּגְעַר־בֹּו אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר לֹו מָה הַחֲלֹום הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָלָמְתָּ הֲבֹוא נָבֹוא  37:10

אֲנִי וְאִמְּךָ וְאַחֶיךָ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֹת לְךָ אָרְצָה

Gene. 37:10   And he told it to his father, and to his brothers, and his father was disappointed in him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed?  Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come and bow down to you to the earth?”

וַיְקַנְאוּ־בֹו אֶחָיו וְאָבִיו שָׁמַר אֶת־הַדָּבָר  37:11

Gene. 37:11   And his brothers were jealous of him that his father had marked the matter.

וַיֵּלְכוּ אֶחָיו לִרְעֹות אֶת־צֹאן אֲבִיהֶם בִּשְׁכֶם  37:12

Gene. 37:12   Now his brothers went to tend the flock of their father in Shechem.

Shechem!  Are we to believe that they felt safe in Shechem?  Remember what happened there (see Gene..33:18 and the story of Dinah in Genesis 34).                                                             [Return to Josh. 24:1]

וַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־יֹוסֵף הֲלֹוא אַחֶיךָ רֹעִים בִּשְׁכֶם לְכָה וְאֶשְׁלָחֲךָ אֲלֵיהֶם וַיֹּאמֶר לֹו הִנֵּנִי  37:13

Gene. 37:13   And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers grazing the flock in Shechem?  Come, and I will send you to them.”  And he said, “Here I am.”

וַיֹּאמֶר לֹו לֶךְ־נָא רְאֵה אֶת־שְׁלֹום אַחֶיךָ וְאֶת־שְׁלֹום הַצֹּאן וַהֲשִׁבֵנִי דָּבָר וַיִּשְׁלָחֵהוּ מֵעֵמֶק חֶבְרֹון  37:14

וַיָּבֹא שְׁכֶמָה

Gene. 37:14   And he said to him, “Go now, observe the well being of your brothers and the well being of the flock, and bring me back word.”  And he sent him from the vale of Hebron and he came to Shechem.

וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ אִישׁ וְהִנֵּה תֹעֶה בַּשָּׂדֶה וַיִּשְׁאָלֵהוּ הָאִישׁ לֵאמֹר מַה־תְּבַקֵּשׁ  37:15

Gene. 37:15   And a man found him and behold, he was wandering in the field.  And the man asked him, saying, “What would you desire?”

וַיֹּאמֶר אֶת־אַחַי אָנֹכִי מְבַקֵּשׁ הַגִּידָה־נָּא לִי אֵיפֹה הֵם רֹעִים  37:16

Gene. 37:16   And he said, “I am seeking my brothers.  Tell me, please, where they are tending the flock.”

וַיֹּאמֶר הָאִישׁ נָסְעוּ מִזֶּה כִּי שָׁמַעְתִּי אֹמְרִים נֵלְכָה דֹּתָיְנָה וַיֵּלֶךְ יֹוסֵף אַחַר אֶחָיו וַיִּמְצָאֵם בְּדֹתָן  37:17

Gene. 37:17   And the man said, “They left from here for I heard them saying, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.

This sequence of verses (vss. 37:15-17) is typical of where it might be assumed that the scribe has omitted unessential details.  Obviously, the man did not know Joseph.      More >>

וַיִּרְאוּ אֹתֹו מֵרָחֹק וּבְטֶרֶם יִקְרַב אֲלֵיהֶם וַיִּתְנַכְּלוּ אֹתֹו לַהֲמִיתֹו  37:18

Gene. 37:18   And they saw him from a distance and before he came near to them they conspired against him to slay him.

וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל־אָחִיו הִנֵּה בַּעַל הַחֲלֹמֹות הַלָּזֶה בָּא  37:19

Gene. 37:19   And they said one to another, “Behold, this dreamer of dreams comes.”

וְעַתָּה לְכוּ וְנַהַרְגֵהוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵהוּ בְּאַחַד הַבֹּרֹות וְאָמַרְנוּ חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ וְנִרְאֶה מַה־יִּהְיוּ  37:20

חֲלֹמֹתָיו

Gene. 37:20   “So now let us come and slay him and cast him into one of the pits and we will say an evil beast ate him; then we will see what becomes of his dreams.”

וַיִּשְׁמַע רְאוּבֵן וַיַּצִּלֵהוּ מִיָּדָם וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא נַכֶּנּוּ נָפֶשׁ  37:21

Gene. 37:21   And Reuben heard, and he delivered him from their hand when he said, “Let us not destroy a life.”

וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם רְאוּבֵן אַל־תִּשְׁפְּכוּ־דָם הַשְׁלִיכוּ אֹתֹו אֶל־הַבֹּור הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר בַּמִּדְבָּר וְיָד אַל־תִּשְׁלְחוּ־  37:22

בֹו לְמַעַן הַצִּיל אֹתֹו מִיָּדָם לַהֲשִׁיבֹו אֶל־אָבִיו

Gene. 37:22   And Reuben said to them, “You shall not spill blood.  Cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but let no hand be laid on him,”  in order to deliver him from their hand to return him to his father.

וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר־בָּא יֹוסֵף אֶל־אֶחָיו וַיַּפְשִׁיטוּ אֶת־יֹוסֵף אֶת־כֻּתָּנְתֹּו אֶת־כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים אֲשֶׁר עָלָיו  37:23

Gene. 37:23   So it happened when Joseph came to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colors, that was on him,

וַיִּקָּחֻהוּ וַיַּשְׁלִכוּ אֹתֹו הַבֹּרָה וְהַבֹּור רֵק אֵין בֹּו מָיִם  37:24

Gene. 37:24   and they took him and they cast him into the pit.  Now the pit was empty; there was no water in it.

וַיֵּשְׁבוּ לֶאֱכָל־לֶחֶם וַיִּשְׂאוּ עֵינֵיהֶם וַיִּרְאוּ וְהִנֵּה אֹרְחַת יִשְׁמְעֵאלִים בָּאָה מִגִּלְעָד וּגְמַלֵּיהֶם  37:25

נֹשְׂאִים נְכֹאת וּצְרִי וָלֹט הֹולְכִים לְהֹורִיד מִצְרָיְמָה

Gene. 37:25   And they sat down to eat bread, and they lifted their eyes and looked, and behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery and balm and ladanum, going to carry down to Egypt.

Notice that, as Israel’s sons were the second generation following Isaac, the Ishmaelites would have been the second generation after Ishmael.  They were cousins.  But they probably weren’t aware of it.  The scribe probably realized it though. 

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה אֶל־אֶחָיו מַה־בֶּצַע כִּי נַהֲרֹג אֶת־אָחִינוּ וְכִסִּינוּ אֶת־דָּמֹו  37:26

Gene. 37:26   And Judah said to his brothers, “Of what profit is it if we would slay our brother and conceal his blood?”

לְכוּ וְנִמְכְּרֶנּוּ לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים וְיָדֵנוּ אַל־תְּהִי־בֹו כִּי־אָחִינוּ בְשָׂרֵנוּ הוּא וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶחָיו  37:27

Gene. 37:27   “Go and sell him to the Ishmaelites so our hand would not be on him, for he is our brother, our flesh.”  And his brothers listened to him.                                     [Return to Gene. 29:35]

וַיַּעַבְרוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִדְיָנִים סֹחֲרִים וַיִּמְשְׁכוּ וַיַּעֲלוּ אֶת־יֹוסֵף מִן־הַבֹּור וַיִּמְכְּרוּ אֶת־יֹוסֵף  37:28

לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים בְּעֶשְׂרִים כָּסֶף וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶת־יֹוסֵף מִצְרָיְמָה

Gene. 37:28   And  men passed by, Midianite merchantmen, and they stretched out and lifted Joseph from the pit, and they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels.  And they carried Joseph to Egypt.

As far as we know, the Midianites mentioned here were the second generation after Midian, one of the latter sons of Abraham, and also cousins of Joseph and his brothers.  See Gene. 25:2.

וַיָּשָׁב רְאוּבֵן אֶל־הַבֹּור וְהִנֵּה אֵין־יֹוסֵף בַּבֹּור וַיִּקְרַע אֶת־בְּגָדָיו  37:29

Gene. 37:29   Then Reuben returned to the pit and behold, there was no Joseph in the pit, and he rent his clothing.

Where had Reuben been during the selling off of Joseph?  The scribe didn’t give us a clue.  Could he have been giving Reuben some sort of implied alibi, so that he would be considered innocent of the brothers’ foul play?

וַיָּשָׁב אֶל־אֶחָיו וַיֹּאמַר הַיֶּלֶד אֵינֶנּוּ וַאֲנִי אָנָה אֲנִי־בָא  37:30

Gene. 37:30   And he returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is not with us; and I, where shall I go?”

וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת־כְּתֹנֶת יֹוסֵף וַיִּשְׁחֲטוּ שְׂעִיר עִזִּים וַיִּטְבְּלוּ אֶת־הַכֻּתֹּנֶת בַּדָּם  37:31

Gene. 37:31   And they took the coat of Joseph and slaughtered a male goat and dipped the coat in the blood.

וַיְשַׁלְּחוּ אֶת־כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶל־אֲבִיהֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ זֹאת מָצָאנוּ הַכֶּר־נָא הַכְּתֹנֶת בִּנְךָ הִוא  37:32

אִם־לֹא

Gene. 37:32   And they brought the coat of many colors and gave it to their father and said, “This have we found.  Do you know if it is the coat of your son or not?”

וַיַּכִּירָהּ וַיֹּאמֶר כְּתֹנֶת בְּנִי חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ טָרֹף טֹרַף יֹוסֵף  37:33

Gene. 37:33   And he knew it, and he said, “It is the coat of my son.  An evil animal has eaten him.  Undoubtedly Joseph has been torn to pieces.”

וַיִּקְרַע יַעֲקֹב שִׂמְלֹתָיו וַיָּשֶׂם שַׂק בְּמָתְנָיו וַיִּתְאַבֵּל עַל־בְּנֹו יָמִים רַבִּים  37:34

Gene. 37:34   And Jacob rent his clothing and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned over his son many days.

וַיָּקֻמוּ כָל־בָּנָיו וְכָל־בְּנֹתָיו לְנַחֲמֹו וַיְמָאֵן לְהִתְנַחֵם וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי־אֵרֵד אֶל־בְּנִי אָבֵל שְׁאֹלָה וַיֵּבְךְּ  37:35

אֹתֹו אָבִיו

Gene. 37:35   And all his sons and all his daughters rose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted, and he said, “For I will go down to the grave mourning for my son.”  And his father wept for him.

The expression “and all his daughters” must refer also to granddaughters as well, as Jacob had only one daughter as far as we know.

וְהַמְּדָנִים מָכְרוּ אֹתֹו אֶל־מִצְרָיִם לְפֹוטִיפַר סְרִיס פַּרְעֹה שַׂר הַטַּבָּחִים  37:36

Gene. 37:36   Now the Midianites sold him into Egypt to Potiphar, an officer to Pharaoh, captain of the guards. 

 

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