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Genesis 37:5-11

Context

37:5 Joseph 1  had a dream, 2  and when he told his brothers about it, 3  they hated him even more. 4  37:6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 5  37:7 There we were, 6  binding sheaves of grain in the middle of the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose up and stood upright and your sheaves surrounded my sheaf and bowed down 7  to it!” 37:8 Then his brothers asked him, “Do you really think you will rule over us or have dominion over us?” 8  They hated him even more 9  because of his dream and because of what he said. 10 

37:9 Then he had another dream, 11  and told it to his brothers. “Look,” 12  he said. “I had another dream. The sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 37:10 When he told his father and his brothers, his father rebuked him, saying, “What is this dream that you had? 13  Will I, your mother, and your brothers really come and bow down to you?” 14  37:11 His brothers were jealous 15  of him, but his father kept in mind what Joseph said. 16 

1 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 tn Heb “dreamed a dream.”

3 sn Some interpreters see Joseph as gloating over his brothers, but the text simply says he told his brothers about it (i.e., the dream). The text gives no warrant for interpreting his manner as arrogant or condescending. It seems normal that he would share a dream with the family.

4 tn The construction uses a hendiadys, “they added to hate,” meaning they hated him even more.

5 tn Heb “hear this dream which I dreamed.”

6 tn All three clauses in this dream report begin with וְהִנֵּה (vÿhinneh, “and look”), which lends vividness to the report. This is represented in the translation by the expression “there we were.”

7 tn The verb means “to bow down to the ground.” It is used to describe worship and obeisance to masters.

8 tn Heb “Ruling, will you rule over us, or reigning, will you reign over us?” The statement has a poetic style, with the two questions being in synonymous parallelism. Both verbs in this statement are preceded by the infinitive absolute, which lends emphasis. It is as if Joseph’s brothers said, “You don’t really think you will rule over us, do you? You don’t really think you will have dominion over us, do you?”

9 tn This construction is identical to the one in Gen 37:5.

10 sn The response of Joseph’s brothers is understandable, given what has already been going on in the family. But here there is a hint of uneasiness – they hated him because of his dream and because of his words. The dream bothered them, as well as his telling them. And their words in the rhetorical question are ironic, for this is exactly what would happen. The dream was God’s way of revealing it.

11 tn Heb “And he dreamed yet another dream.”

12 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Look.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse have been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons. Both clauses of the dream report begin with הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), which lends vividness to the report.

13 sn The question What is this dream that you had? expresses Jacob’s dismay at what he perceives to be Joseph’s audacity.

14 tn Heb “Coming, will we come, I and your mother and your brothers, to bow down to you to the ground?” The verb “come” is preceded by the infinitive absolute, which lends emphasis. It is as if Jacob said, “You don’t really think we will come…to bow down…do you?”

15 sn Joseph’s brothers were already jealous of him, but this made it even worse. Such jealousy easily leads to action, as the next episode in the story shows. Yet dreams were considered a form of revelation, and their jealousy was not only of the favoritism of their father, but of the dreams. This is why Jacob kept the matter in mind.

16 tn Heb “kept the word.” The referent of the Hebrew term “word” has been specified as “what Joseph said” in the translation for clarity, and the words “in mind” have been supplied for stylistic reasons.



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