Genesis 37:4
And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
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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.Joseph is the favorite of his father, but not of his brethren. "In the land of his father's sojournings." This contrasts Jacob with Esau, who removed to Mount Seir. This notice precedes the phrase, "These are the generations." The corresponding sentence in the case of Isaac is placed at the end of the preceding section of the narrative Genesis 25:11. "The son of seventeen years;" in his seventeenth year Genesis 37:32. "The sons of Bilhah." The sons of the handmaids were nearer his own age, and perhaps more tolerant of the favorite than the sons of Leah the free wife. Benjamin at this time was about four years of age. "An evil report of them." The unsophisticated child of home is prompt in the disapproval of evil, and frank in the avowal of his feelings. What the evil was we are not informed; but Jacob's full-grown sons were now far from the paternal eye, and prone, as it seems, to give way to temptation. Many scandals come out to view in the chosen family. "Loved Joseph." He was the son of his best-loved wife, and of his old age; as Benjamin had not yet come into much notice. "A Coat of many colors." This was a coat reaching to the hands and feet, worn by persons not much occupied with manual labor, according to the general opinion. It was, we conceive, variegated either by the loom or the needle, and is therefore, well rendered χιτὼν ποικίλος chitōn poikilos, a motley coat. "Could not bid peace to him." The partiality of his father, exhibited in so weak a manner, provokes the anger of his brothers, who cannot bid him good-day, or greet him in the ordinary terms of good-will.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. Their hatred was so deep and keen, that they could not smother it, as for their own interest they should have done, but discovered it by their churlish words and carriages to him.

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.

And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
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. Genesis 37:4"Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his (other) sons, because he was born in his old age," as the first-fruits of the beloved Rachel (Benjamin was hardly a year old at this time). And he made him פּסּים כּתנת: a long coat with sleeves (χιτὼν ἀστραγάλειος, Aqu., or ἀστραγαλωτός, lxx at 2 Samuel 13:18, tunica talaris, Vulg. ad Sam.), i.e., an upper coat reaching to the wrists and ankles, such as noblemen and kings' daughters wore, not "a coat of many colours" ("bunter Rock," as Luther renders it, from the χιτῶνα ποικίλον, tunicam polymitam, of the lxx and Vulgate). This partiality made Joseph hated by his brethren; so that they could not "speak peaceably unto him," i.e., ask him how he was, offer him the usual salutation, "Peace be with thee."
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