|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
37:1-4 In Joseph's history we see something of Christ, who was first humbled and then exalted. It also shows the lot of Christians, who must through many tribulations enter into the kingdom. It is a history that has none like it, for displaying the various workings of the human mind, both good and bad, and the singular providence of God in making use of them for fulfilling his purposes. Though Joseph was his father's darling, yet he was not bred up in idleness. Those do not truly love their children, who do not use them to business, and labour, and hardships. The fondling of children is with good reason called the spoiling of them. Those who are trained up to do nothing, are likely to be good for nothing. But Jacob made known his love, by dressing Joseph finer than the rest of his children. It is wrong for parents to make a difference between one child and another, unless there is great cause for it, by the children's dutifulness, or undutifulness. When parents make a difference, children soon notice it, and it leads to quarrels in families. Jacob's sons did that, when they were from under his eye, which they durst not have done at home with him; but Joseph gave his father an account of their ill conduct, that he might restrain them. Not as a tale-bearer, to sow discord, but as a faithful brother.
Verse 4. - And when (literally, and) his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they (literally, and they) hated him, - as Esau hated Jacob (Genesis 27:41; cf. Genesis 49:23) - and could not speak peaceably unto him - literally, they were not able to speak of him for peace, L e. they could not address him in such a way as to wish him well; they could not offer him the customary salutation of Shalom, or Peace.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren,.... Which they perceived by various things in his behaviour to him, by his words, his looks, his gestures, and particularly by the coat he had made him, which distinguished him from the rest:
they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him; they not only inwardly hated him, but they could not conceal their hatred, but betrayed it by their speech unto him; they could not speak to him on any occasion, but in a cross, surly, ill natured manner; they could not salute him, or give him the common salutation, Peace be to thee, as Aben Ezra suggests.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. could not speak peaceably unto him—did not say "peace be to thee" [Ge 43:23, &c.], the usual expression of good wishes among friends and acquaintances. It is deemed a sacred duty to give all this form of salutation; and the withholding of it is an unmistakable sign of dislike or secret hostility. The habitual refusal of Joseph's brethren, therefore, to meet him with "the salaam," showed how ill-disposed they were towards him. It is very natural in parents to love the youngest, and feel partial to those who excel in talents or amiableness. But in a family constituted as Jacob's—many children by different mothers—he showed great and criminal indiscretion.
Genesis 37:4 Parallel Commentaries
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