Genesis 37:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 37:13, NIV: and Israel said to Joseph, 'As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.' 'Very well,' he replied.

Genesis 37:13, ESV: And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Here I am.”

Genesis 37:13, KJV: And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.

Genesis 37:13, NASB: And Israel said to Joseph, 'Are your brothers not pasturing the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.' And he said to him, 'I will go.'

Genesis 37:13, NLT: When they had been gone for some time, Jacob said to Joseph, 'Your brothers are pasturing the sheep at Shechem. Get ready, and I will send you to them.' 'I'm ready to go,' Joseph replied.

Genesis 37:13, CSB: Israel said to Joseph, "Your brothers, you know, are pasturing the flocks at Shechem. Get ready. I'm sending you to them.""I'm ready," Joseph replied.

What does Genesis 37:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Genesis is inspired Scripture: it is both the Word of God and ancient literature that masterfully tells a powerful story. We have already seen that Joseph's ten brothers are furiously jealous of him (Genesis 37:3–5). We know they are capable of great violence when angry (Genesis 34:26–27). And yet, Jacob—renamed Israel (Genesis 35:10)—has a puzzling way of being oblivious to some of these concerns. He barely reacted when his daughter was raped (Genesis 34:5). No immediate reaction is recorded in response to his oldest sons' depravity (Genesis 35:22). He was raised in sibling rivalry driven by his own parents (Genesis 25:27–28), yet he's overtly lavished favor on Joseph (Genesis 37:3).

Apparently blind to the hatred and tension towards Joseph, Jacob is sending Joseph with some degree of authority. Joseph had reported back on his brothers once before (Genesis 37:2). Jacob might be wondering why his sons are near Shechem (Genesis 37:12), so he will send Joseph to get a status update (Genesis 37:14). Jacob may have suspicions, and it turns out the brothers won't be where Jacob expects (Genesis 37:15–17).

This encounter suggests both Joseph and his father are clueless to the danger of letting Joseph be alone with his brothers. It's also possible Joseph may have anticipated the danger and chosen to obey his father without mentioning it.