Genesis 37:22
And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
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(22) Into this pit that is in the wilderness.—Reuben apparently pointed to some cistern in the desolate region which girds the little valley of Dothan around. We learn from Genesis 42:21 that Joseph begged hard for mercy, and to be spared so painful a death, but that his brothers would not hear.

Though never represented in the Scriptures as a type of Christ, yet the whole of the Old Testament is so full of events and histories, which reappear in the Gospel narrative, that the Fathers have never hesitated in regarding Joseph, the innocent delivered to death, but raised thence to glory, as especially typifying to us our Lord. Pascal (Pensées, 2:9. 2) sums up the points of resemblance—in his father’s love for him, his being sent to see after the peace of his brethren, their conspiring against him, his being sold for twenty pieces of silver, his rising from his humiliation to be the lord and saviour of those who had wronged him; and with them the saviour also of the world. As too, he was in prison with two malefactors, so was our Lord crucified between two thieves and as one of these was saved and one left to his condemnation, so Joseph gave deliverance to the chief butler, but to the chief baker punishment. It would be easy to point out other resemblances, but, leaving these, it is important also to notice that Joseph’s history is likewise a vindication of God’s providential dealings with men. He is innocent, and pure in life, but wronged again and again; yet every wrong was but a step in the pathway of his exaltation. And like the histories of all great lives, Joseph’s adventures do not begin and end in himself. Upon him depended a great future. Noble minds care little for personal suffering, if from their pain springs amelioration for the world. Now Joseph’s descent into Egypt was: not only for the good and preservation of the people there, but was also an essential condition for the formation of the Jewish Church. In Egypt alone could Israel have multiplied into a nation fit to be the depositaries of God’s law, and to grow into a church of prophets.

37:12-22 How readily does Joseph wait his father's orders! Those children who are best beloved by their parents, should be the most ready to obey them. See how deliberate Joseph's brethren were against him. They thought to slay him from malice aforethought, and in cold blood. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer, 1Jo 3:15. The sons of Jacob hated their brother because their father loved him. New occasions, as his dreams and the like, drew them on further; but this laid rankling in their hearts, till they resolved on his death. God has all hearts in his hands. Reuben had most reason to be jealous of Joseph, for he was the first-born; yet he proves his best friend. God overruled all to serve his own purpose, of making Joseph an instrument to save much people alive. Joseph was a type of Christ; for though he was the beloved Son of his Father, and hated by a wicked world, yet the Father sent him out of his bosom to visit us in great humility and love. He came from heaven to earth to seek and save us; yet then malicious plots were laid against him. His own not only received him not, but crucified him. This he submitted to, as a part of his design to redeem and save us.His brothers cast him into a pit. "This master of dreams;" an eastern phrase for a dreamer. "Let us slay him." They had a foreboding that his dreams might prove true, and that he would become their arbitrary master. This thought at all events would abate somewhat of the barbarity of their designs. It is implied in the closing sentence of their proposal. Reuben dissuades them from the act of murder, and advises merely to cast him into the pit, to which they consent. He had a more tender heart, and perhaps a more tender conscience than the rest, and intended to send Joseph back safe to his father. He doubtless took care to choose a pit that was without water.19. Behold, this dreamer cometh—literally, "master of dreams"—a bitterly ironical sneer. Dreams being considered suggestions from above, to make false pretensions to having received one was detested as a species of blasphemy, and in this light Joseph was regarded by his brethren as an artful pretender. They already began to form a plot for Joseph's assassination, from which he was rescued only by the address of Reuben, who suggested that he should rather be cast into one of the wells, which are, and probably were, completely dried up in summer. No text from Poole on this verse.

And Reuben said unto them, shed no blood,.... Innocent blood, as the Targum of Jonathan; the blood of a man, a brother's blood, one that had not done anything wherefore it should be shed, and which would involve in guilt, and bring vengeance on them: he seems to put them in mind of the original law in Genesis 9:6,

but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him: which might seem to answer the same purpose, namely, by depriving him of his life in another way, by starving him; but this was not Reuben's intention, as appears by the next clause, and by his going to the pit afterwards, as it should seem, with a view to take him out of it privately; this advice he gave:

that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again; safe and sound, in order, as it is thought by many interpreters, to reconcile his father to him, whose bed he had abused.

And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
22. And Reuben said] This and the next two verses are from E. Reuben, the eldest, interposes to save his brother’s life; cf. Genesis 42:37.

Shed no blood] Reuben’s warning is that there should be no bloodshed, as if murder without bloodshed would be a less evil. His proposal is that Joseph should be thrown into a cistern or tank, which they knew of hard by, and that he should be left there to perish, Reuben intending himself to deliver him. Reuben is not brave enough to oppose his brothers; but hopes to outwit them. He appeals to the horror of bloodshed. Blood cries out against the murderer: see note on Genesis 4:11.

Genesis 37:22Reuben, who was the eldest son, and therefore specially responsible for his younger brother, opposed this murderous proposal. He dissuaded his brethren from killing Joseph (נפשׁ פ הכּה ), and advised them to throw him "into this pit in the desert," i.e., into a dry pit that was near. As Joseph would inevitably perish even in that pit, their malice was satisfied; but Reuben intended to take Joseph out again, and restore him to his father. As soon, therefore, as Joseph arrived, they took off his coat with sleeves and threw him into the pit, which happened to be dry.
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