Genesis 37:21 MEANING

Genesis 37:21
Verses 21, 22. - And Reuben (the eldest son, and therefore probably regarding himself as in some degree responsible for Joseph's safety) heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him - literally, Let us not destroy his life (nephesh). And Reuben said (further) unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness (i.e. into a dry pit that was near), and lay no hand upon him; that (the adverb indicates the purpose Reuben had in view) he might rid him (translated above deliver him) out of their hands, to deliver him (or, more correctly, to return him) to his father again.

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.And Reuben heard it,.... Overheard what they said, not being in the consultation; perhaps knowing his temper and disposition to be more mild and gentle, and being the elder brother, might fear he would overrule matters against them, and therefore Simeon and Levi did not choose to have him in the debate; or he might be at some distance and entirely absent when the consultation was held, and their intention was reported to him by some of them:

and he delivered him out of their hands; from slaying him; that is, he endeavoured to do it by proposing another scheme:

and said, let us not kill him; or let us not smite the soul (t); the dear soul, or take away life.

(t) "ne percutiamus vel occidamus animam", Sam. Ar. Syr.

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