Verses 1–4

Moses has no more to say of the Edomites, unless as they happen to fall in Israel’s way; but now applies himself closely to the story of Jacob’s family: These are the generations of Jacob. His is not a bare barren genealogy as that of Esau (Gen. 36:1), but a memorable useful history. Here is, 1. Jacob a sojourner with his father Isaac, who has yet living, Gen. 37:1. We shall never be at home, till we come to heaven. 2. Joseph, a shepherd, feeding the flock with his brethren, Gen. 37:2. Though he was his father’s darling, yet he was not brought up in idleness or delicacy. Those do not truly love their children that do not inure them to business, and labour, and mortification. The fondling of children is with good reason commonly called the spoiling of them. Those that are trained up to do nothing are likely to be good for nothing. 3. Joseph beloved by his father (Gen. 37:3), partly for his dear mother’s sake that was dead, and partly for his own sake, because he was the greatest comfort of his old age; probably he waited on him, and was more observant of him than the rest of his sons; he was the son of the ancient so some; that is, when he was a child, he was as grave and discreet as if he had been an old man, a child, but not childish. Jacob proclaimed his affection to him by dressing him finer than the rest of his children: He made him a coat of divers colours, which probably was significant of further honors intended him. Note, Though those children are happy that have that in them which justly recommends them to their parents’ particular love, yet it is the prudence of parents not to make a difference between one child and another, unless there be a great and manifest cause given for it by the children’s dutifulness or undutifulness; paternal government must be impartial, and managed with a steady hand. 4. Joseph hated by his brethren, (1.) Because his father loved him; when parents make a difference, children soon take notice of it, and it often occasions feuds and quarrels in families. (2.) Because he brought to his father their evil report. Jacob’s sons did that, when they were from under his eye, which they durst not have done if they had been at home with him; but Joseph gave his father an account of their bad carriage, that he might reprove and restrain them; not as a malicious tale-bearer, to sow discord, but as a faithful brother, who, when he durst not admonish them himself, represented their faults to one that had authority to admonish them. Note, [1.] It is common for friendly monitors to be looked upon as enemies. Those that hate to be reformed hate those that would reform them, Prov. 9:8. [2.] It is common for those that are beloved of God to be hated by the world; whom Heaven blesses, hell curses. To those to whom God speaks comfortably wicked men will not speak peaceably. It is said here of Joseph, the lad was with the sons of Bilhah; some read it, and he was servant to them, they made him their drudge.