Genesis 37:12

ESV Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem.
NIV Now his brothers had gone to graze their father's flocks near Shechem,
NASB Then his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock in Shechem.
CSB His brothers had gone to pasture their father's flocks at Shechem.
NLT Soon after this, Joseph’s brothers went to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem.
KJV And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem.

What does Genesis 37:12 mean?

This begins a scene in which Joseph's ten older half-brothers finally act on their longstanding hatred and jealousy of him (Genesis 37:3–5). It seems neither Joseph nor Jacob anticipates this danger.

First, the brothers head north to pasture their flocks in the area around Shechem. This is an interesting choice, since Jacob had moved away from this area for a very good reason. Previously, the brothers massacred all the men of Shechem in retaliation for the rape of their sister Dinah (Genesis 34:26–27). The mention of Shechem reminds us of the level of violence these ten men are capable of when they are angry. They are deeply resentful towards Joseph. What they are about to do is motivated by hatred. However, God's plan is to use these men's angst to provide for the rescue of the entire family (Genesis 37:28; 42:6; 50:20).
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