And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near to them, they conspired against him to slay him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Genesis 37:18-19. When they saw him they conspired against him — It was not in a heat, or upon a sudden provocation, that they thought to slay him, but from malice prepense, and in cold blood. Behold this dreamer cometh — Hebrew, this master of dreams; that covers his own ambitious desires and designs, with pretences and fictions of dreams. See the progress of vice! From envy and malice they proceeded to conspire against the life of their brother, and then contrived a lie to impose upon their own father!Genesis 37:23,
even before he came near unto them; the distance he was from them when they first spied him is particularly remarked and repeated, not to show the quickness of their sight, but for the sake of what follows; to observe how soon their passions were raised, how intense and prepense their malice, and which put them upon devising ways and means to destroy him, for it follows:And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they (g) conspired against him to slay him.
(g) The Holy Spirit does not cover the faults of men, as vain writers do, who make virtues out of vices.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
The composite character of the narrative becomes at this point very evident. J (Genesis 37:21; Genesis 37:25-28 b, 31–35) relates that Judah restrains his brethren from murder, and persuades them to sell Joseph to passing Ishmaelites, who sell him as a slave to an Egyptian noble. E (Genesis 37:22-25 (bread), 28a (pit), 28c–30, 36) relates that Reuben interposes, and saves Joseph from his brethren: by his advice Joseph is cast into a tank, where he is found by passing Midianite merchants, who draw him out, take him to Egypt, and sell him to Potiphar, “captain of the guard.” Reuben returning to the tank, after the interval for food, finds it empty.Verse 18. - And when (literally, and) they saw him afar off, even (or, and) before he came near unto them, they (literally, and they) conspired against him (or, dealt with him fraudulently) to slay him
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