Genesis 37:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 37:4, NIV: "When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him."

Genesis 37:4, ESV: "But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him."

Genesis 37:4, KJV: "And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him."

Genesis 37:4, NASB: "And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms."

Genesis 37:4, NLT: "But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn't say a kind word to him."

Genesis 37:4, CSB: "When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not bring themselves to speak peaceably to him."

What does Genesis 37:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph's ten half-brothers responded to their father's open and obvious favoritism for him (Genesis 37:3) with hatred. That's not surprising. Jacob's own childhood was marked by the favoritism of his parents (Genesis 25:27–28). His mother Rebekah openly preferred him; his father Isaac preferred Esau. The resulting conflict and manipulations (Genesis 27:30–35) led to Jacob's separation from his parents and brother for many years (Genesis 27:42–43).

Amazingly, Jacob is following in his parents' footsteps. His love for Joseph, his son by his late and most loved wife Rachel (Genesis 30:22–24), is blatant and grieves his other sons. Joseph's interactions in this early phase of his life are, at least, naïve (Genesis 37:2, 5, 9), and did not help his relationship with his brothers. Still, it was Jacob's obvious—even oblivious—favoritism for Joseph that caused the other sons to turn on him. Their fury was so great they could not even muster a kind or peaceful word for him. Their resentment should have been easy to see.

Scripture gives us no indication as to whether Jacob notices, or cares, about this tension.