Genesis 37:28 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 37:28, NIV: "So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt."

Genesis 37:28, ESV: "Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt."

Genesis 37:28, KJV: "Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt."

Genesis 37:28, NASB: "Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him out and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. So they brought Joseph into Egypt."

Genesis 37:28, NLT: "So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph's brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt."

Genesis 37:28, CSB: "When Midianite traders passed by, his brothers pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took Joseph to Egypt."

What does Genesis 37:28 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Except for Reuben, who was not present (Genesis 37:22), Joseph's older brothers have agreed to sell him as a slave to the Ishmaelites (Genesis 25:23–27). In this verse, the specific group passing by are referred to "Midianite" traders. Scholars suggest that by this point in history, nomadic tribes in the region were referred to as "Ishmaelites," whether they were specifically descended from Hagar's son (Genesis 25:12) or not. This group of nomads were Midianites, descended from Abraham's concubine Keturah (Genesis 25:1–2).

Joseph is lifted out the pit and handed over to the traders in exchange for 20 shekels of silver. Apparently, this was the going rate for a teenage slave at the time. Joseph's brothers profited from his sale. They assume they have seen the last of Joseph as he is hauled away to Egypt. Instead, God will use their cold-hearted actions to bring Joseph's dreams to reality in the most unexpected of ways (Genesis 42:6; 50:20).