New English Translation
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons[a] because he was a son born to him late in life,[b] and he made a special[c] tunic for him. 4 When Joseph’s[d] brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them,[e] they hated Joseph[f] and were not able to speak to him kindly.[g]Read full chapter
- Genesis 37:3 tn The disjunctive clause provides supplemental information vital to the story. It explains in part the brothers’ animosity toward Joseph.sn The statement Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons brings forward a motif that played an important role in the family of Isaac—parental favoritism. Jacob surely knew what that had done to him and his brother Esau, and to his own family. But now he showers affection on Rachel’s son Joseph.
- Genesis 37:3 tn Heb “a son of old age was he to him.” This expression means “a son born to him when he [i.e., Jacob] was old.”
- Genesis 37:3 tn It is not clear what this tunic was like, because the meaning of the Hebrew word that describes it is uncertain. The idea that it was a coat of many colors comes from the Greek translation of the OT. An examination of cognate terms in Semitic suggests it was either a coat or tunic with long sleeves (cf. NEB, NRSV), or a tunic that was richly embroidered (cf. NIV). It set Joseph apart as the favored one.
- Genesis 37:4 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:4 tn Heb “of his brothers.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been replaced in the translation by the pronoun “them.”
- Genesis 37:4 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:4 tn Heb “speak to him for peace.”
- Genesis 37:5 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Joseph) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 37:5 tn Heb “dreamed a dream.”
- Genesis 37:5 sn Some interpreters see Joseph as gloating over his brothers, but the text simply says he told his brothers about it (i.e., the dream). The text gives no warrant for interpreting his manner as arrogant or condescending. It seems normal that he would share a dream with the family.
- Genesis 37:5 tn The construction uses a hendiadys, “they added to hate,” meaning they hated him even more.