Genesis 37:18

ESV They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him.
NIV But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
NASB When they saw him from a distance, and before he came closer to them, they plotted against him to put him to death.
CSB They saw him in the distance, and before he had reached them, they plotted to kill him.
NLT When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him.
KJV And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.

What does Genesis 37:18 mean?

Sent by his father Jacob, Joseph has travelled well north of home to find his 10 older brothers and the family flocks. This chapter has repeatedly revealed that Joseph's brothers hate him. This is driven mostly by their father's favoritism (Genesis 37:3–5). It's also bitterness towards Joseph (Genesis 37:2) and offense at the nature of his dreams (Genesis 37:5, 9). Jacob seems entirely clueless about the depth of their hate—otherwise he would not have sent Joseph into such a vulnerable state. Whether Joseph also realizes this, Scripture does not say.

As Joseph approaches their camp, the group sees him coming. They begin to discuss murdering Joseph outright. It's unclear how much time has passed since these ten men slaughtered the men of Shechem (Genesis 34:26–27), not far to the south of where they are now. Certainly, they are willing and able to kill when they feel justified. Joseph is in real trouble.
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