Genesis 37:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 37:25, NIV: As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.

Genesis 37:25, ESV: Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt.

Genesis 37:25, KJV: And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

Genesis 37:25, NASB: Then they sat down to eat a meal. But as they raised their eyes and looked, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels carrying labdanum resin, balsam, and myrrh, on their way to bring them down to Egypt.

Genesis 37:25, NLT: Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.

Genesis 37:25, CSB: They sat down to eat a meal, and when they looked up, there was a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were carrying aromatic gum, balsam, and resin, going down to Egypt.

What does Genesis 37:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph's older brothers have just ripped off his multi-colored robe (Genesis 37:3–4), a sign of their father's outrageous favoritism. Their initial plan seems to be to throw him into a dry cistern (Genesis 37:24) and leave him there to die.

After ambushing their younger brother and throwing him into a hole, the men then sit down to a meal. Aside from Reuben (Genesis 37:18–22), Joseph's brothers are portrayed as being intensely cold-hearted toward him. They clearly and truly despise Joseph.

At some point in the meal, they see a caravan approaching from the north. Dothan, where they were camped, is near a common trade route to Egypt. This was a caravan of merchants coming from Gilead and carrying a variety of goods to sell and trade. These traders were carrying various kinds of valuable multi-purpose gums, also referred to as spices, balm, and myrrh, made from plants in the region. Seeing a passing caravan will give Joseph's brothers another idea about how to dispose of him (Genesis 37:26–27).

Later, these travelers will be described as "Midianites." True Ishmaelites were descendants of Abraham by Hagar (Genesis 25:12), while Midianites came from Abraham by his concubine Keturah (Genesis 25:1–2). However, by this time, it seems the word "Ishmaelites" had come to be a general description of any of the nomadic tribes in the region. Thus, at this time, Midianites were spoken of as one of several Ishmaelite peoples.