Genesis 37
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1  Now Yaakov was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan.

א  וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב בְּאֶרֶץ מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן׃

2  This, then, is the line of Yaakov: At seventeen years of age, Yosef tended the flocks with his brothers, as a helper to the sons of his father’s wives Bilha and Zilpa. And Yosef brought bad reports of them to their father.

AY-leh tol-DOT ya-a-KOV yo-SAYF ben sh’-va es-RAY sha-NAH ha-YAH ro-EH et e-KHAV ba-TZON v’-HU NA-ar et b’-NAY bil-HAH v’-et b’-NAY zil-PAH n’-SHAY a-VEEV va-ya-VAY yo-SAYF et di-ba-TAM ra-AH el a-vee-HEM

ב  אֵלֶּה תֹּלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב יוֹסֵף בֶּן־שְׁבַע־עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה הָיָה רֹעֶה אֶת־אֶחָיו בַּצֹּאן וְהוּא נַעַר אֶת־בְּנֵי בִלְהָה וְאֶת־בְּנֵי זִלְפָּה נְשֵׁי אָבִיו וַיָּבֵא יוֹסֵף אֶת־דִּבָּתָם רָעָה אֶל־אֲבִיהֶם׃

37:2   Yosef tended the flocks with his brothers

It is no coincidence that so many biblical heroes are shepherds. The Sages point out that this simple profession is excellent spiritually, for two reasons. On one hand, the abundance of time for quiet reflection and meditation allows the shepherd to develop an intimate relationship with Hashem. On the other hand, a shepherd who excels in his work acquires a deep sensitivity to the needs of each and every sheep in his flock. What Yosef learns as a young shepherd enables him to become a paradigm of leadership for all future generations in the service of God and the service of man.3 comments

3  Now Yisrael loved Yosef best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him an ornamented tunic.

ג  וְיִשְׂרָאֵל אָהַב אֶת־יוֹסֵף מִכָּל־בָּנָיו כִּי־בֶן־זְקֻנִים הוּא לוֹ וְעָשָׂה לוֹ כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים׃

4  And when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him so that they could not speak a friendly word to him.

ד  וַיִּרְאוּ אֶחָיו כִּי־אֹתוֹ אָהַב אֲבִיהֶם מִכָּל־אֶחָיו וַיִּשְׂנְאוּ אֹתוֹ וְלֹא יָכְלוּ דַּבְּרוֹ לְשָׁלֹם׃

5  Once Yosef had a dream which he told to his brothers; and they hated him even more.

ה  וַיַּחֲלֹם יוֹסֵף חֲלוֹם וַיַּגֵּד לְאֶחָיו וַיּוֹסִפוּ עוֹד שְׂנֹא אֹתוֹ׃

6  He said to them, “Hear this dream which I have dreamed:

ו  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם שִׁמְעוּ־נָא הַחֲלוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָלָמְתִּי׃

7  There we were binding sheaves in the field, when suddenly my sheaf stood up and remained upright; then your sheaves gathered around and bowed low to my sheaf.”

ז  וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶה וְהִנֵּה קָמָה אֲלֻמָּתִי וְגַם־נִצָּבָה וְהִנֵּה תְסֻבֶּינָה אֲלֻמֹּתֵיכֶם וַתִּשְׁתַּחֲוֶיןָ לַאֲלֻמָּתִי׃

8  His brothers answered, “Do you mean to reign over us? Do you mean to rule over us?” And they hated him even more for his talk about his dreams.

ח  וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ אֶחָיו הֲמָלֹךְ תִּמְלֹךְ עָלֵינוּ אִם־מָשׁוֹל תִּמְשֹׁל בָּנוּ וַיּוֹסִפוּ עוֹד שְׂנֹא אֹתוֹ עַל־חֲלֹמֹתָיו וְעַל־דְּבָרָיו׃

9  He dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: And this time, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”

ט  וַיַּחֲלֹם עוֹד חֲלוֹם אַחֵר וַיְסַפֵּר אֹתוֹ לְאֶחָיו וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה חָלַמְתִּי חֲלוֹם עוֹד וְהִנֵּה הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וְהַיָּרֵחַ וְאַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכָבִים מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לִי׃

10  And when he told it to his father and brothers, his father berated him. “What,” he said to him, “is this dream you have dreamed? Are we to come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow low to you to the ground?”

י  וַיְסַפֵּר אֶל־אָבִיו וְאֶל־אֶחָיו וַיִּגְעַר־בּוֹ אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ מָה הַחֲלוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָלָמְתָּ הֲבוֹא נָבוֹא אֲנִי וְאִמְּךָ וְאַחֶיךָ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֺת לְךָ אָרְצָה׃

11  So his brothers were wrought up at him, and his father kept the matter in mind.

יא  וַיְקַנְאוּ־בוֹ אֶחָיו וְאָבִיו שָׁמַר אֶת־הַדָּבָר׃

12  One time, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem,

יב  וַיֵּלְכוּ אֶחָיו לִרְעוֹת אֶת־צֹאן אֲבִיהֶם בִּשְׁכֶם׃

13  Yisrael said to Yosef, “Your brothers are pasturing at Shechem. Come, I will send you to them.” He answered, “I am ready.”

יג  וַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־יוֹסֵף הֲלוֹא אַחֶיךָ רֹעִים בִּשְׁכֶם לְכָה וְאֶשְׁלָחֲךָ אֲלֵיהֶם וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ הִנֵּנִי׃

14  And he said to him, “Go and see how your brothers are and how the flocks are faring, and bring me back word.” So he sent him from the valley of Chevron. When he reached Shechem,

יד  וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ לֶךְ־נָא רְאֵה אֶת־שְׁלוֹם אַחֶיךָ וְאֶת־שְׁלוֹם הַצֹּאן וַהֲשִׁבֵנִי דָּבָר וַיִּשְׁלָחֵהוּ מֵעֵמֶק חֶבְרוֹן וַיָּבֹא שְׁכֶמָה׃

15  a man came upon him wandering in the fields. The man asked him, “What are you looking for?”

טו  וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ אִישׁ וְהִנֵּה תֹעֶה בַּשָּׂדֶה וַיִּשְׁאָלֵהוּ הָאִישׁ לֵאמֹר מַה־תְּבַקֵּשׁ׃

16  He answered, “I am looking for my brothers. Could you tell me where they are pasturing?”

טז  וַיֹּאמֶר אֶת־אַחַי אָנֹכִי מְבַקֵּשׁ הַגִּידָה־נָּא לִי אֵיפֹה הֵם רֹעִים׃

17  The man said, “They have gone from here, for I heard them say: Let us go to Dothan.” So Yosef followed his brothers and found them at Dothan.

יז  וַיֹּאמֶר הָאִישׁ נָסְעוּ מִזֶּה כִּי שָׁמַעְתִּי אֹמְרִים נֵלְכָה דֹּתָיְנָה וַיֵּלֶךְ יוֹסֵף אַחַר אֶחָיו וַיִּמְצָאֵם בְּדֹתָן׃

18  They saw him from afar, and before he came close to them they conspired to kill him.

יח  וַיִּרְאוּ אֹתוֹ מֵרָחֹק וּבְטֶרֶם יִקְרַב אֲלֵיהֶם וַיִּתְנַכְּלוּ אֹתוֹ לַהֲמִיתוֹ׃

19  They said to one another, “Here comes that dreamer!

יט  וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל־אָחִיו הִנֵּה בַּעַל הַחֲלֹמוֹת הַלָּזֶה בָּא׃

20  Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we can say, ‘A savage beast devoured him.’ We shall see what comes of his dreams!”

כ  וְעַתָּה לְכוּ וְנַהַרְגֵהוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵהוּ בְּאַחַד הַבֹּרוֹת וְאָמַרְנוּ חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ וְנִרְאֶה מַה־יִּהְיוּ חֲלֹמֹתָיו׃

21  But when Reuven heard it, he tried to save him from them. He said, “Let us not take his life.”

כא  וַיִּשְׁמַע רְאוּבֵן וַיַּצִּלֵהוּ מִיָּדָם וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא נַכֶּנּוּ נָפֶשׁ׃

22  And Reuven went on, “Shed no blood! Cast him into that pit out in the wilderness, but do not touch him yourselves”—intending to save him from them and restore him to his father.

va-YO-mer a-lay-HEM r’-u-VAYN al tish-p’-khu DAM hash-LEE-khu o-TO el ha-BOR ha-ZEH a-SHER ba-mid-BAR v’-YAD al tish-l’-khu VO l’-MA-an ha-TZEEL o-TO mi-ya-DAM la-ha-shee-VO el a-VEEV

כב  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם רְאוּבֵן אַל־תִּשְׁפְּכוּ־דָם הַשְׁלִיכוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל־הַבּוֹר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר בַּמִּדְבָּר וְיָד אַל־תִּשְׁלְחוּ־בוֹ לְמַעַן הַצִּיל אֹתוֹ מִיָּדָם לַהֲשִׁיבוֹ אֶל־אָבִיו׃

37:22   Cast him into that pit

Reuven suggests throwing Yosef into a pit filled with dangerous snakes and scorpions, whereas Yehuda recommends selling Yosef to merchants. It would seem that Yehuda’s plan was likelier to save Yosef’s life and ensure a better outcome. Nevertheless, Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, the nineteenth century author of Nefesh Hachaim and founder of the Volozhin Yeshiva, explains that one is safer in Eretz Yisrael, despite apparent imminent dangers, than in a foreign land with the illusion of physical security.3 comments

23  When Yosef came up to his brothers, they stripped Yosef of his tunic, the ornamented tunic that he was wearing,

כג  וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר־בָּא יוֹסֵף אֶל־אֶחָיו וַיַּפְשִׁיטוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף אֶת־כֻּתָּנְתּוֹ אֶת־כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים אֲשֶׁר עָלָיו׃

24  and took him and cast him into the pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.

כד  וַיִּקָּחֻהוּ וַיַּשְׁלִכוּ אֹתוֹ הַבֹּרָה וְהַבּוֹר רֵק אֵין בּוֹ מָיִם׃

25  Then they sat down to a meal. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilad, their camels bearing gum, balm, and ladanum to be taken to Egypt.

כה  וַיֵּשְׁבוּ לֶאֱכָל־לֶחֶם וַיִּשְׂאוּ עֵינֵיהֶם וַיִּרְאוּ וְהִנֵּה אֹרְחַת יִשְׁמְעֵאלִים בָּאָה מִגִּלְעָד וּגְמַלֵּיהֶם נֹשְׂאִים נְכֹאת וּצְרִי וָלֹט הוֹלְכִים לְהוֹרִיד מִצְרָיְמָה׃

26  Then Yehuda said to his brothers, “What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood?

כו  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוּדָה אֶל־אֶחָיו מַה־בֶּצַע כִּי נַהֲרֹג אֶת־אָחִינוּ וְכִסִּינוּ אֶת־דָּמוֹ׃

27  Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed.

כז  לְכוּ וְנִמְכְּרֶנּוּ לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים וְיָדֵנוּ אַל־תְּהִי־בוֹ כִּי־אָחִינוּ בְשָׂרֵנוּ הוּא וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶחָיו׃

28  When Midianite traders passed by, they pulled Yosef up out of the pit. They sold Yosef for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who brought Yosef to Egypt.

כח  וַיַּעַבְרוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִדְיָנִים סֹחֲרִים וַיִּמְשְׁכוּ וַיַּעֲלוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף מִן־הַבּוֹר וַיִּמְכְּרוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים בְּעֶשְׂרִים כָּסֶף וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶת־יוֹסֵף מִצְרָיְמָה׃

29  When Reuven returned to the pit and saw that Yosef was not in the pit, he rent his clothes.

כט  וַיָּשָׁב רְאוּבֵן אֶל־הַבּוֹר וְהִנֵּה אֵין־יוֹסֵף בַּבּוֹר וַיִּקְרַע אֶת־בְּגָדָיו׃

30  Returning to his brothers, he said, “The boy is gone! Now, what am I to do?”

ל  וַיָּשָׁב אֶל־אֶחָיו וַיֹּאמַר הַיֶּלֶד אֵינֶנּוּ וַאֲנִי אָנָה אֲנִי־בָא׃

31  Then they took Yosef’s tunic, slaughtered a kid, and dipped the tunic in the blood.

לא  וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת־כְּתֹנֶת יוֹסֵף וַיִּשְׁחֲטוּ שְׂעִיר עִזִּים וַיִּטְבְּלוּ אֶת־הַכֻּתֹּנֶת בַּדָּם׃

32  They had the ornamented tunic taken to their father, and they said, “We found this. Please examine it; is it your son’s tunic or not?”

לב  וַיְשַׁלְּחוּ אֶת־כְּתֹנֶת הַפַּסִּים וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶל־אֲבִיהֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ זֹאת מָצָאנוּ הַכֶּר־נָא הַכְּתֹנֶת בִּנְךָ הִוא אִם־לֹא׃

33  He recognized it, and said, “My son’s tunic! A savage beast devoured him! Yosef was torn by a beast!”

לג  וַיַּכִּירָהּ וַיֹּאמֶר כְּתֹנֶת בְּנִי חַיָּה רָעָה אֲכָלָתְהוּ טָרֹף טֹרַף יוֹסֵף׃

34  Yaakov rent his clothes, put sackcloth on his loins, and observed mourning for his son many days.

לד  וַיִּקְרַע יַעֲקֹב שִׂמְלֹתָיו וַיָּשֶׂם שַׂק בְּמָתְנָיו וַיִּתְאַבֵּל עַל־בְּנוֹ יָמִים רַבִּים׃

35  All his sons and daughters sought to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, saying, “No, I will go down mourning to my son in Sheol.” Thus his father bewailed him.

לה  וַיָּקֻמוּ כָל־בָּנָיו וְכָל־בְּנֹתָיו לְנַחֲמוֹ וַיְמָאֵן לְהִתְנַחֵם וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי־אֵרֵד אֶל־בְּנִי אָבֵל שְׁאֹלָה וַיֵּבְךְּ אֹתוֹ אָבִיו׃

36  The Midianites, meanwhile, sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, a courtier of Pharaoh and his chief steward.

 

לו  וְהַמְּדָנִים מָכְרוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל־מִצְרָיִם לְפוֹטִיפַר סְרִיס פַּרְעֹה שַׂר הַטַּבָּחִים׃

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Genesis 36
Genesis 38

Comments ( 9 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • "14 And he said to him: ‘Go now, see whether it is well with thy brethren, and well with the flock; and bring me back word.’ So he sent him out of the vale of Chevron, and he came to Shechem.
    יד וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ לֶךְ נָא רְאֵה אֶת שְׁלוֹם אַחֶיךָ וְאֶת שְׁלוֹם הַצֹּאן וַהֲשִׁבֵנִי דָּבָר וַיִּשְׁלָחֵהוּ מֵעֵמֶק חֶבְרוֹן וַיָּבֹא שְׁכֶמָה."
    *
    There are many mysterious elements in this chapter. One of the first for me is Ya'acov's direction to send Yoseph to the valley of Hebron. Hebron is NOT a valley. It is a city set on a mountain.
    *
    The sages tie this back to Yoseph ending up in a pit and to Avraham's association with the city of Hebron, but our Torah teacher has a much more interesting take on this subject. Suffice it to say that a real mystery is captured in these simple directions.
    Baruch Hashem.

  • "15 And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying: ‘What seekest thou?’ טו וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ אִישׁ וְהִנֵּה תֹעֶה בַּשָּׂדֶה וַיִּשְׁאָלֵהוּ הָאִישׁ לֵאמֹר מַה תְּבַקֵּשׁ.
    16 And he said: ‘I seek my brethren. Tell me, I pray thee, where they are feeding the flock.’
    טז וַיֹּאמֶר אֶת אַחַי אָנֹכִי מְבַקֵּשׁ הַגִּידָה נָּא לִי אֵיפֹה הֵם רֹעִים."

    This is the second of my favorite mysteries in this chapter. There is a "man" standing in the field right where Yoseph is looking for his brothers with the exact information that he will need to find them….
    *
    Hopefully, DannyLee will come along soon and tell us about the Aleph Tav's that are hidden all over this chapter!
    Baruch Hashem.

    • Great comment. I will speak of the "Aleph/Tav" symbol. However, I'll add a bit to your comment here, where the symbol IS NOT. The account says, "a certain man". Moshe doesn't say just "a man". He says "a certain (special or specific) man". I believe the description of events in the text indicates this "certain man" was not one of human kind. He was able to get close enough to the brothers without being detected. Without the symbol in place, I think it unlikely this man was the person of Messiah. However, I think it more likely he was one of the angels–a guardian angel, maybe?

  • "25 And they sat down to eat bread; and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites came from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery and balm and ladanum, going to carry it down to Egypt."
    *
    Here we have Ishmaelites…
    *
    28 And there passed by Midianites, merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Yosef out of the pit, and sold Yosef to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they brought Yosef into Egypt.
    כח וַיַּעַבְרוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִדְיָנִים סֹחֲרִים וַיִּמְשְׁכוּ וַיַּעֲלוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף מִן הַבּוֹר וַיִּמְכְּרוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים בְּעֶשְׂרִים כָּסֶף וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶת יוֹסֵף מִצְרָיְמָה.
    *
    Then we have Midianites…
    *
    Finally we're told that it was the Midianites that sold Yoseph into slavery in Mitzraim. It appears that he traded hands several times before ending up in the household of Potiphar. Perhaps this was a way of obscuring his trail in case any of his brothers changed their minds and tried to get him back.
    Baruch Hashem.

  • The placement of the "Aleph/Tav" symbols in v. 2 are interestingly curious. It is natural to find the symbol placed in conjunction with Joseph, his brothers, and the wives of Ya'acov mentioned. However, the symbol is also placed in conjunction with the brother's "evil report" about Yosef. How could our loving Elohim associate Himself with, or otherwise allow evil to come upon His children? The report from his brothers certainly was evil, even to the evil act AND lie to cover it up. However, it was necessary to affect the future Salvation of his people.
    *
    Just as Yosef (a foreshadow of Messiah) was to be a future salvation to his people, along with many Egyptians, there is a future judgment to come upon all men (Jew and gentile alike). The life of Joseph very curiously parallels (mirrors) the life and death of Messiah Yeshua.

  • Chapter 37 is laced with the "Aleph/Tav" symbol. Everything from clothing to flocks to people have the symbol associated with them. However, as with other places in Scripture, the symbol sometimes stands "in place of" the English word/s in the text. When I see this, it makes me sit up and take notice. For, this adds very special meaning, even to actually being a person. Such in the case with 37: 12.
    *
    The Israel Bible says, "And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem". The words, "their father's" is NOT in the Hebrew text. This text actually says, "And his brethren wen to feed (Aleph/Tav) flock in Shechem".
    *
    This actually makes me jump with joy in my spirit. This placement puts into perspective Gen. 1: 1 where the word/letter meanings say, "I will build a house for my Son". I brings into perspective the promise give to Avraham when YHVH said, "I will make you a father of nations", and "your seed will be as the stars…" Jacob was a shepherd. His sons after him were shepherds, even to Yosef being a "shepherd of shepherds". The "stand alone" placement of the symbol here clearly and succinctly describes the "mixed multitude" flock of the faithful children (seed) of Avraham that will inhabit the future Promised Land from Nile to Euphrates, even to the whole world. This IS NOT Ya'acov's flock. It's Aleph/Tav's flock.

    • Among all the instances where the "Aleph/Tav" symbol stands alone, there is this verse from the prophet Zachariah in 12: 10. The Israel Bible says, " And I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Yerushalayim the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through; and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his first-born".
      *
      Specifically in regard to the phrase, "they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through…", the English version, and every other version I read, skews the true message. The Hebrew actually renders this phrase, "they shall look unto (Aleph/Tav) they have thrust through (pierced)". The words, "unto Me because" and the subsequent "him" IS NOT in the Hebrew. This clearly and succinctly identifies the symbol in this case to be the Person of Messiah, whose name is Yeshua ben Yosef of Nazereth, the Salvation of His people. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear.

  • I respectfully take issue with Rabbi Chayim. Certainly, the Land is very special and is symbolic of divine protection. One day I'll live there. However, it is NOT any safer in the Land as opposed to anywhere else. Whatever predicament or land I find myself in, "The Land" is wherever I happen to find myself. David writes in 24: 1 of the Psalms, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof". As long as I'm in His will, I'm just as safe in Alaska as I would be in Israel–although I might be quite a bit warmer, brrr.

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Genesis 37

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