Genesis 37:27 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 37:27, NIV: Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.' His brothers agreed.

Genesis 37:27, ESV: Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him.

Genesis 37:27, KJV: Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.

Genesis 37:27, NASB: Come, and let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.' And his brothers listened to him.

Genesis 37:27, NLT: Instead of hurting him, let's sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother--our own flesh and blood!' And his brothers agreed.

Genesis 37:27, CSB: Come on, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay a hand on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh," and his brothers agreed.

What does Genesis 37:27 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph's brothers had planned to kill him. The oldest, Reuben, argued against it, urging them to throw him alive into a nearby pit. The intent for most of the brothers seems to have been leaving Joseph to die in the wilderness without killing him themselves. Reuben, however planned to come back and free him (Genesis 37:12–24).

Now, however, Judah comes up with another idea: Sell Joseph as a slave to the traders passing on their way to Egypt (Genesis 37:25–26). He argues this has as double benefit. First, they would gain a profit on the sale of their hated younger brother (Genesis 37:3–4). Also, they would avoid the bloodguilt of killing their own family member either directly or indirectly.

It's unlikely Judah means to spare Joseph out of any sense of guilt. He is not avoiding murder for any sense of morality—this is simply the option providing less risk and more benefit. His brothers agree to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites. A notable exception is Reuben, who is apparently not present for this exchange. Even if he is, he will not be able to rescue Joseph in time (Genesis 37:29).