Genesis 37:30 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 37:30, NIV: He went back to his brothers and said, 'The boy isn't there! Where can I turn now?'

Genesis 37:30, ESV: and returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone, and I, where shall I go?”

Genesis 37:30, KJV: And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?

Genesis 37:30, NASB: He returned to his brothers and said, 'The boy is not there; as for me, where am I to go?'

Genesis 37:30, NLT: Then he went back to his brothers and lamented, 'The boy is gone! What will I do now?'

Genesis 37:30, CSB: He went back to his brothers and said, "The boy is gone! What am I going to do? "

What does Genesis 37:30 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

With Joseph temporarily safe in the pit (Genesis 37:22–24), Reuben was away from his murderous brothers long enough for them to sell Joseph as a slave to passing traders (Genesis 37:25–28). When Reuben returns and finds the pit empty, he tears his clothes in grief (Genesis 37:29). Now he expresses his dismay, saying "where shall I go?" How can he return to his father and tell him that his beloved Joseph, the firstborn son of his beloved late wife Rachel, is gone?

Reuben is heartbroken, but this grief might be somewhat selfish. It's entirely possible Reuben was hoping to restore his ruined reputation (Genesis 35:22) by rescuing his father's favorite son. We're not told if any of the other brothers felt badly. Prior history suggests they do not (Genesis 37:3–4).