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Genesis 37:29-35

Context

37:29 Later Reuben returned to the cistern to find that Joseph was not in it! 1  He tore his clothes, 37:30 returned to his brothers, and said, “The boy isn’t there! And I, where can I go?” 37:31 So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a young goat, 2  and dipped the tunic in the blood. 37:32 Then they brought the special tunic to their father 3  and said, “We found this. Determine now whether it is your son’s tunic or not.”

37:33 He recognized it and exclaimed, “It is my son’s tunic! A wild animal has eaten him! 4  Joseph has surely been torn to pieces!” 37:34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, 5  and mourned for his son many days. 37:35 All his sons and daughters stood by 6  him to console him, but he refused to be consoled. “No,” he said, “I will go to the grave mourning my son.” 7  So Joseph’s 8  father wept for him.

1 tn Heb “and look, Joseph was not in the cistern.” By the use of וְהִנֵּה (vÿhinneh, “and look”), the narrator invites the reader to see the situation through Reuben’s eyes.

2 sn It was with two young goats that Jacob deceived his father (Gen 27:9); now with a young goat his sons continue the deception that dominates this family.

3 tn Heb “and they sent the special tunic and they brought [it] to their father.” The text as it stands is problematic. It sounds as if they sent the tunic on ahead and then came and brought it to their father. Some emend the second verb to a Qal form and read “and they came.” In this case, they sent the tunic on ahead.

4 sn A wild animal has eaten him. Jacob draws this conclusion on his own without his sons actually having to lie with their words (see v. 20). Dipping the tunic in the goat’s blood was the only deception needed.

5 tn Heb “and put sackcloth on his loins.”

6 tn Heb “arose, stood”; which here suggests that they stood by him in his time of grief.

7 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Indeed I will go down to my son mourning to Sheol.’” Sheol was viewed as the place where departed spirits went after death.

8 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.



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