|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
37:31-36 When Satan has taught men to commit one sin, he teaches them to try to conceal it with another; to hide theft and murder, with lying and false oaths: but he that covers his sin shall not prosper long. Joseph's brethren kept their own and one another's counsel for some time; but their villany came to light at last, and it is here published to the world. To grieve their father, they sent him Joseph's coat of colours; and he hastily thought, on seeing the bloody coat, that Joseph was rent in pieces. Let those that know the heart of a parent, suppose the agony of poor Jacob. His sons basely pretended to comfort him, but miserable, hypocritical comforters were they all. Had they really desired to comfort him, they might at once have done it, by telling the truth. The heart is strangely hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Jacob refused to be comforted. Great affection to any creature prepares for so much the greater affliction, when it is taken from us, or made bitter to us: undue love commonly ends in undue grief. It is the wisdom of parents not to bring up children delicately, they know not to what hardships they may be brought before they die. From the whole of this chapter we see with wonder the ways of Providence. The malignant brothers seem to have gotten their ends; the merchants, who care not what they deal in so that they gain, have also obtained theirs; and Potiphar, having got a fine young slave, has obtained his! But God's designs are, by these means, in train for execution. This event shall end in Israel's going down to Egypt; that ends in their deliverance by Moses; that in setting up the true religion in the world; and that in the spread of it among all nations by the gospel. Thus the wrath of man shall praise the Lord, and the remainder thereof will he restrain.
Verse 34. - And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, - שָׂק (cf. σάκος, el, frog, saccus), the usual dress of mourners (2 Samuel 3:31; Nehemiah 9:1; Esther 4:1), was a coarse, thick haircloth, of which corn sacks were also made (Genesis 42:25), and which in cases of extreme mental distress was worn next the skin (1 Kings 21:27) - and mourned for his son many days. Though twenty-two years elapsed before Jacob again beheld his son, and though doubtless the old man's grief for the premature and, violent death, as he imagined, of Rachel s child was little abated by the lapse, of time, yet the expression "many days" may only be employed to mark the intensity of Jacob's sorrow, which continued longer than the customary mournings of the period.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Jacob rent his clothes,.... As expressive of his grief and mourning for the death of his son, as he supposed:
and put sackcloth upon his loins; put off his usual apparel, and put on a coarse garment on his loins next to his flesh, as another token of his great trouble and affliction for the loss of his son; which though afterwards was frequently done in times of public or private mourning, yet this is the first time we read of it; whether Jacob was the first that used it, whom his posterity and others imitated, is not certain; however it appears that this usage, as well as that of rending clothes on sorrowful occasions, were very ancient:
and mourned for his son many days: or years, as days sometimes signify; twenty two years, according to Jarchi, even until the time he went down to Egypt and saw him alive.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
34. Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins—the common signs of Oriental mourning. A rent is made in the skirt more or less long according to the afflicted feelings of the mourner, and a coarse rough piece of black sackcloth or camel's hair cloth is wound round the waist.
Genesis 37:34 Parallel Commentaries
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