Genesis 37:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 37:3, NIV: Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him.

Genesis 37:3, ESV: Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors.

Genesis 37:3, KJV: Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.

Genesis 37:3, NASB: Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a multicolored tunic.

Genesis 37:3, NLT: Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph--a beautiful robe.

Genesis 37:3, CSB: Now Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was a son born to him in his old age, and he made a long-sleeved robe for him.

What does Genesis 37:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Hard feelings between 17-year-old Joseph and his ten older stepbrothers have probably been building for a while. The previous verse reports he brought some drastic, scandalously bad report about his brothers to their father, Jacob (Genesis 37:2). The favoritism implied in other parts of this passage is stated explicitly here. Jacob (Genesis 35:10) saw Joseph as his favorite son. This is probably because Joseph was the first born to Jacob's beloved wife, Rachel (Genesis 30:22–24).

Jacob's own parents displayed blatant favoritism (Genesis 25:27–28). Clearly not learning from that example, Jacob gives Joseph an extravagant gift. The Hebrew term describing this is usually translated as a "multicolored robe" or a "coat of many colors." The original language seems to be a figure of speech: the garment was probably long-sleeved and finely woven with gold or other colors. Normal tunics of that era would have been plain and sleeveless. Joseph's may also have had ornate trim or other designs. In that context, such an item was not something worn for manual labor. It may suggest Jacob thought of Joseph as his primary heir.

The brothers' response to this outrageous partiality is not surprising. They hate Joseph so much they can't even speak to him in civil terms (Genesis 37:4). Whether Jacob notices this, or cares, is never explained. When Jacob's naivety leads him to describe dreams that further elevate him (Genesis 37:5, 9), bitterness will become bloodthirst (Genesis 37:18, 28).