Genesis 37:30
And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?
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37:23-30 They threw Joseph into a pit, to perish there with hunger and cold; so cruel were their tender mercies. They slighted him when he was in distress, and were not grieved for the affliction of Joseph, see Am 6:6; for when he was pining in the pit, they sat down to eat bread. They felt no remorse of conscience for the sin. But the wrath of man shall praise God, and the remainder of wrath he will restrain, Ps 76:10. Joseph's brethren were wonderfully restrained from murdering him, and their selling him as wonderfully turned to God's praise.Reuben rips his clothes when he finds Joseph gone. "To eat bread." This shows the cold and heartless cruelty of their deed. "A caravan" - a company of travelling merchants. "Ishmaelites." Ishmael left his father's house when about fourteen or fifteen years of age. His mother took him a wife probably when he was eighteen, or twenty at the furthest. He had arrived at the latter age about one hundred and sixty-two years before the date of the present occurrence. He had twelve sons Genesis 25:13-15, and if we allow only four other generations and a fivefold increase, there will be about fifteen thousand in the fifth generation. "Came from Gilead;" celebrated for its balm Jeremiah 8:22; Jeremiah 46:11. The caravan road from Damascus to Egypt touches upon the land of Gilead, goes through Beth-shean, and passes by Dothan. "Spicery." This gum is called tragacanth, or goats-thorn gum, because it was supposed to be obtained from this plant. "Balm," or balsam; an aromatic substance obtained from a plant of the genus Amyris, a native of Gilead. "Myrrh" is the name of a gum exuding from the balsamodendron myrrha, growing in Arabia Felix. "Lot," however, is supposed to be the resinous juice of the cistus or rock rose, a plant growing in Crete and Syria. Judah, relenting, and revolting perhaps from the crime of fratricide, proposes to sell Joseph to the merchants.

Midianites and Medanites Genesis 37:36 are mere variations apparently of the same name. They seem to have been the actual purchasers, though the caravan takes its name from the Ishmaelites, who formed by far the larger portion of it. Midian and Medan were both sons of Abraham, and during one hundred and twenty-five years must have increased to a small clan. Thus, Joseph is sold to the descendants of Abraham. "Twenty silver pieces;" probably shekels. This is the rate at which Moses estimates a male from five to twenty years old Leviticus 27:5. A man-servant was valued by him at thirty shekels Exodus 21:32. Reuben finding Joseph gone, rends his clothes, in token of anguish of mind for the loss of his brother and the grief of his father.

29, 30. Reuben returned unto the pit—He seems to have designedly taken a circuitous route, with a view of secretly rescuing the poor lad from a lingering death by starvation. His intentions were excellent, and his feelings no doubt painfully lacerated when he discovered what had been done in his absence. But the thing was of God, who had designed that Joseph's deliverance should be accomplished by other means than his. He calls him

the child comparatively to his brethren, though he was seventeen years old, Genesis 37:2.

The child is not, i.e. is not in the land of the living, or is dead, as that phrase is commonly used, as Genesis 42:13,36, compared with Genesis 44:20 Job 7:21 Jeremiah 31:15 Lamentations 5:7 Matthew 2:18.

I, whither shall I go, either to find the child, or to flee from our father? He is more solicitous than the rest, because he being the eldest brother, his father would require Joseph at his hand; and being so highly incensed against him for his former crime, would be the more apt to suspect him, and deal more severely with him.

And he returned unto his brethren,.... From the pit, and whom he suspected had took him and killed him, as was their first design, not being with them when they proposed to sell him, and did:

and said, the child is not; not in the pit, nor in the land of the living, but is dead, which is sometimes the meaning of the phrase, Jeremiah 31:15; he calls him a child, though seventeen years of age, because the youngest brother but one, and he himself was the eldest, and also because of his tender concern for him:

and I, whither shall I go? to find the child or flee from his father's face, which he could not think of seeing any more; whom he had highly offended already in the case of Bilhah, and now he would be yet more incensed against him for his neglect of Joseph, who, he might have expected, would have taken particular care of him, being the eldest son: he speaks like one in the utmost perplexity, not knowing what to do, what course to steer, being almost distracted and at his wits' end.

And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?
30. The child is not] Cf. Genesis 42:13; Genesis 42:32; Genesis 42:36, Genesis 44:31; Jeremiah 31:15; Lamentations 5:7. The word “child,” yeled, is appropriate for a small boy: see Genesis 21:8; Genesis 21:14.

Genesis 37:30The business was settled in Reuben's absence; probably because his brethren suspected that he intended to rescue Joseph. When he came to the pit and found Joseph gone, he rent his clothes (a sign of intense grief on the part of the natural man) and exclaimed: "The boy is no more, and I, whither shall I go!" - how shall I account to his father for his disappearance! But the brothers were at no loss; they dipped Joseph's coat in the blood of a goat and sent it to his father, with the message, "We have found this; see whether it is thy son's coat or not." Jacob recognised the coat at once, and mourned bitterly in mourning clothes (שׂק) for his son, whom he supposed to have been devoured and destroyed by a wild beast (טרף טרף inf. abs. of Kal before Pual, as an indication of undoubted certainty), and refused all comfort from his children, saying, "No (כּי immo, elliptical: Do not attempt to comfort me, for) I will go down mourning into Sheol to my son." Sheol denotes the place where departed souls are gathered after death; it is an infinitive form from שׁאל to demand, the demanding, applied to the place which inexorably summons all men into its shade (cf. Proverbs 30:15-16; Isaiah 5:14; Habakkuk 2:5). How should his sons comfort him, when they were obliged to cover their wickedness with the sin of lying and hypocrisy, and when even Reuben, although at first beside himself at the failure of his plan, had not courage enough to disclose his brothers' crime?
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