Genesis 50:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 50:15, NIV: "When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, 'What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?'"

Genesis 50:15, ESV: "When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.”"

Genesis 50:15, KJV: "And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him."

Genesis 50:15, NASB: "When Joseph’s brothers had seen that their father was dead, they said, 'What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!'"

Genesis 50:15, NLT: "But now that their father was dead, Joseph's brothers became fearful. 'Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,' they said."

Genesis 50:15, CSB: "When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said to one another, "If Joseph is holding a grudge against us, he will certainly repay us for all the suffering we caused him.""

What does Genesis 50:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob, the patriarch God renamed Israel (Genesis 35:10–11), has died in Egypt at the age of 147 (Genesis 49:33). His son Joseph (Genesis 41:44), and Joseph's eleven brothers have buried him according to his wishes (Genesis 47:29–31). They have traveled to Canaan, with Pharaoh's blessing and honor, to lay Jacob to rest in the family tomb (Genesis 23:17–20). Now they have returned together to Egypt. The entire nation of Israel is settled there (Genesis 50:8), and despite Joseph's power, he is still technically a slave of Pharaoh (Genesis 50:4–6).

Now that Jacob is dead, Joseph's brothers are afraid. What if Joseph has been holding back his hatred for them only because of Jacob? They worry that all Joseph's kind treatment (Genesis 47:11–12) has been solely out of respect for their father. Now that Jacob is gone, they fear Joseph will finally "pay them back." It's important to recognize that the brothers understand that they would deserve retribution. They had jealously sold Joseph into slavery as a 17–year-old boy (Genesis 37:18–36). They themselves refer to it as "all the evil that we did to him" (Genesis 42:21–22).

Motivated by that fear, the brothers plan to appeal to Joseph's love of their father, to stave off what might be left of his anger (Genesis 50:16–17).