Genesis 37:34 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 37:34, NIV: Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days.

Genesis 37:34, ESV: Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days.

Genesis 37:34, KJV: And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.

Genesis 37:34, NASB: So Jacob tore his clothes, and put on a sackcloth undergarment over his waist, and mourned for his son many days.

Genesis 37:34, NLT: Then Jacob tore his clothes and dressed himself in burlap. He mourned deeply for his son for a long time.

Genesis 37:34, CSB: Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth around his waist, and mourned for his son many days.

What does Genesis 37:34 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob's deceitful sons have convinced him that his beloved Joseph is dead, killed by a wild animal (Genesis 37:31–33). As they must have anticipated, Jacob takes the news very badly. Joseph was the firstborn of his dear wife, Rachel (Genesis 30:22–24), and Jacob's clear favorite (Genesis 37:3–4). His heart is fully broken. Mourning for the dead often included the tearing of clothing and wearing of sackcloth.

Formal mourning for a child may have lasted a week or even a month. As the following verses show, Jacob refused to stop his mourning long past the normal number of days. His family will react with concern (Genesis 37:35), though the brothers know there is nothing they can do to restore Joseph now (Genesis 37:28). Such is the impact of Jacob's grief that Judah, years later, will bargain to become a captive to stop Jacob from losing another of Rachel's sons (Genesis 44:18, 30–34).