Genesis 50:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 50:16, NIV: So they sent word to Joseph, saying, 'Your father left these instructions before he died:

Genesis 50:16, ESV: So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died:

Genesis 50:16, KJV: And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,

Genesis 50:16, NASB: So they sent instructions to Joseph, saying, 'Your father commanded us before he died, saying,

Genesis 50:16, NLT: So they sent this message to Joseph: 'Before your father died, he instructed us

Genesis 50:16, CSB: So they sent this message to Joseph, "Before he died your father gave a command:

What does Genesis 50:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Joseph's brothers are comfortably settled in Egypt, provided with food, despite a severe famine (Genesis 47:11–13). This was arranged by their brother, Joseph, who is the governor of the entire nation (Genesis 41:44). However, now that their father is dead and buried (Genesis 50:1–14), they seem fearful. They're afraid Joseph has only been kind to them for the sake of their father, Jacob. Now that Jacob is gone, they worry Joseph will exact revenge on them for selling him into slavery as a teenager (Genesis 37:26–28). They, themselves, know they are guilty of sin worthy of such punishment (Genesis 42:21–22).

Taking something of their father's lead, the brothers seek to proactively appease Joseph (Genesis 32:9–16; 43:11–14). They send a message to Joseph, appealing to his fondness for their departed father. Their claim is that Jacob gave them a message, for Joseph, asking him to forgive his brothers for their sins against him (Genesis 50:17). Interpreters debate whether that statement really came from Jacob, or if it was invented by the brothers for this purpose.