Joseph’s Brothers Make Plans To Kill Him!

Joseph’s Brothers Are Tired Of His Arrogant Pretense!

It took Joseph perhaps three days to get from Hebron to Shechem, but when he got there, he learned that his brothers had moved thirteen miles north to Dothan, which meant another day’s journey. When he came into their range of vision, they immediately recognized him afar off (he was wearing his special garment) and began to make their plans.


When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him.

Genesis 37:18(NLT)



The combination of hatred and envy is lethal. It simmers in the heart and waits for the spark that will set off the explosion. The brothers didn’t have to be tempted in order to decide to harm Joseph. All they needed was the opportunity, and it wasn’t long in coming.


Joseph’s brothers are tired of his arrogant pretense. Each and every one of them has a bill of complaint against Joseph.
Joseph’s Brothers (to each other): Oh, here comes the great dreamer. Let’s kill him and throw his body into one of the pits. Then we can tell everyone a wild animal killed and devoured him. We’ll see then what becomes of his stupid dreams.

Genesis 37:19-20 (VOICE)



Could jealousy ever make you feel like killing someone?


Before saying, “Of course not!” look at what happened in the story. Ten men were willing to kill their younger brother over a robe and a few reported dreams. Their deep jealousy had grown into ugly rage, completely blinding them to what was right.


Verses 19 and 20 show us rather clearly what it was that finally put them over the edge: it was those dreams of Joseph that offended them to the point of murder.


Let’s be clear: this is not only about jealousy and insult. These brothers believed, to some degree, that the dreams of Joseph being their master were true. If they killed Joseph, then the problem was solved.


When Reuben heard the plan, he tried to help Joseph.
Reuben: Let’s not kill him. We don’t need to shed any blood to be free of him. Let’s just toss him into some pit here in the wilderness. We don’t need to lay a hand on him.
Reuben thought perhaps he could secretly come back later and get Joseph out of the pit and take him home to their father before any more harm came to him.
The brothers agreed.

Genesis 37:21-22 (VOICE)


Now, Rueben, the firstborn of Jacob and a son of Leah, intervened and suggested that they not kill Joseph by their own hands; rather, they should throw him in a pit…with the idea being forwarded that Joseph would just starve to death in that pit and never be found.


Now, the Bible tells us that Rueben’s real intention was not to have Joseph die, but to come back later and retrieve him after the brothers had left the area.


Let’s remember here that Rueben, Jacob’s firstborn, was the one who attempted a coup against his father by sleeping with Bilah…thereby claiming his father’s concubine as a prize.


Although the coup failed…. and apparently after both Rachel and Leah died, Jacob ignored the fact that Bilah was considered “ruined” by tradition, and married her anyway. Reuben was obviously still considered the top dog among the brothers.


So, it’s kind of interesting that Rueben, who had the most to lose with his father’s special preference for Joseph, would be the one who tried to intervene and come to Joseph’s rescue.


Besides, as the eldest brother, Rueben would have been held responsible for the actions of the group…and he was in enough hot water as it was, because of the Bilah affair.


joseph brothers
When Joseph arrived, they ripped his robe off of him—the fancy, colorful robe he always wore that his father had made for him, and they threw him into the pit. Now this pit happened to be an empty cistern; there was no water in it.

Genesis 37:23-24 (VOICE)


It might be interesting to note, here, that the pit was in fact an empty well…a cistern. Remember, the place where they were was called Dothan, two wells, and apparently one of those two wells was dry, for we are informed as much in vs. 24.


Joseph thrown in pitDry wells and cisterns were commonly used as prison cells, even hiding places, in that day. So, Rueben’s idea was hardly novel.


A couple of chapters ago, we got a pretty good glimpse as to the hardened individuals that these brothers were; that had slain all the males of Shechem after the men had been duped into being circumcised and were weakened by its aftereffects.


Then, they went on a rampage to loot the helpless city, even carry off some of its women and children to use to increase their own families.


So, it should be of little surprise that these same pitiless men would throw their teenage brother into an empty well to die, and then immediately sit down to have lunch as his pleas for mercy hung in the air!


To be continued…




Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Authentic



Get Free Email Updates!

Signup now and receive an email once I publish new content.

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge