Who is "They" in Genesis 37:28?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by franklinmonroe, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    Genesis 37 is often cited as a "classic example" for the establishment of the so-called Documentary Hypothesis or JEPD Theory. The alleged problem that supposedly arises in this verse being that the first "they" would grammatically refer to the Midianites, rather than the brothers, and thus it is the Midianites that draw out and sell Joseph to Ishamaelites. The second "they" would refer directly back to the word "Ishmaelites". This fact is seemingly challenged later in verse 36 where it is stated that "Midianites" sell Joseph to Potipher in Egypt.

    Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty [pieces] of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. (KJV)

    Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekelsfn of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt. (ESV)

    And Midianitish men, merchants, passed by; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver-pieces; and they brought Joseph to Egypt. (Darby)

    And Midianite merchantmen pass by and they draw out and bring up Joseph out of the pit, and sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silverlings, and they bring Joseph into Egypt. (YLT)​

    I want to focus on the issue of the antecedents of "they". What responsibility does the English translation have for the confusion? Are there ambiguities in the Hebrew? Can these renderings below be justified by underlying ancient text, or is there some significant interpretation occurring here? --

    Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt. (NKJV)

    So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty piecesfn of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt. (NLT)

    So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. (NIV)

    When Midianite traders passed by, his brothers pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him for 20 pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took Joseph to Egypt. (HCSB)​
     
  2. kyredneck

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    Does Acts 7:9 shed any light on your question?
     
  3. Van

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    The theory (JEPD) is thought to be errant by conservative scholars. Thus claims made by its proponents are dubious at best.

    1) Does the grammar really require that the first they refer to Midianites? The NET footnote says the "they" refers to the brothers.

    2) It seems from Judges 8:24 that Ishmaelites are Midianites.

    3) As pointed out, Acts 7:9 indicates that Jews sold Joseph. Thus the JEPD claim was not shared by the inspired NT writer.
     
  4. kyredneck

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    And they were not able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake. Acts 6:10

    It was actually the very Author of the scriptures Himself that says it was the brothers.
     
  5. Deacon

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    ..................
     
  6. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    Moses is a compiler and editor of the book of Genesis as he is drawing from several "books" or sources. He is no doubt drawing from oral tradition the first chapter of Exodus. Moses like the apostles no doubt had writers who recorded much of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy including Joshua who acted as his right hand man, which accounts for varied writing styles.
     
  7. Eliyahu

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    We can still understand that Midianites delivered Joseph out of the pit while
    Midianites are similar to Ishmaelites.


    Genesis 40 :15

    For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.
    כִּֽי־גֻנֹּב גֻּנַּבְתִּי מֵאֶרֶץ הָעִבְרִים וְגַם־פֹּה לֹא־עָשִׂיתִֽי מְאוּמָה כִּֽי־שָׂמוּ אֹתִי בַּבֹּֽור׃

    Why does Joseph say that he was stolen?

    Midianites stole him! If his brethren pulled him up and sold him to Ishmaelites, he wouldn't have said so.
    Joseph was pulled up while his brethren were eating and watching the Ishmaelites coming with large crowd.

    Midianites are small local traders while Ishmaelites are the long distance merchants with lots of armaments, camels, many armed soldiers.

    Midianites are like a pick-up truck, while Ishmaelites are like a train with many wagons.

    Gen 37:36
    The Midianites sold him to Egyptians( Ishmaelites), toward Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, captain of the guard.

    Judges 8:24
    And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)
    וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם גִּדְעֹון אֶשְׁאֲלָה מִכֶּם שְׁאֵלָה וּתְנוּ־לִי אִישׁ נֶזֶם שְׁלָלֹו כִּֽי־נִזְמֵי זָהָב לָהֶם כִּי יִשְׁמְעֵאלִים הֵֽם׃

    Here, there are 2 they's

    The first they must be Israelites, the second they can be midianites or the preys, Midianites can belong to Ishmaelites and they could have the Ishmaelite culture and religion which may include the Lunar worship ( Crescent). It doesn't mean that Midianites are entirely the same as the Ishmaelites.
    Some Midianites can be Ishmaelites!

    At the end, we must stick to the original text of the sentence, Gen 37:28






    Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.


    וַיַּֽעַבְרוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִדְיָנִים סֹֽחֲרִים וַֽיִּמְשְׁכוּ וַיַּֽעֲלוּ אֶת־יֹוסֵף מִן־הַבֹּור וַיִּמְכְּרוּ אֶת־יֹוסֵף לַיִּשְׁמְעֵאלִים בְּעֶשְׂרִים כָּסֶף וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶת־יֹוסֵף מִצְרָֽיְמָה׃
    There is no other subject than Midianites in the phrase of :

    Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit,

    Could you see the original text, there is no < Hem> meaning they at all.
    The sentence is just continuation of the same subject plus verb.
    They can be eliminated without problem at all!
    So, the original sentence is as follows:
    Then Midianites merchantmen passed by and drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit,

    < they > was created and added to the original text, which caused the totally different meaning.
    Gen 39:1
    And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.


    This also confirms that Ishmaelites sold Joseph to Potiphar, not Midianites sold him to Potiphar.



    Eliyahu
     
    #7 Eliyahu, Dec 5, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  8. Eliyahu

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    They invented " brothers" in that sentence which doesn't exist in the original text.



    Eliyahu
     
  9. Eliyahu

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    Acts 7
    And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him
    Καὶ</SPAN> οἱ πατριάρχαι ζηλώσαντες τὸν Ἰωσὴφ ἀπέδοντο εἰς Αἴγυπτον καὶ ἦν ὁ θεὸς μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ

    ἀποδίδωμι : apodidomai just mean the give-away or hand over.

    I don’t find any clue that his brothers received 20 silvers and shared them among themselves.

    Act 7:9 is talking about the whole process at the end. It doesn’t mention Joseph was sold by his brethren.


    Eliyahu
     
  10. Deacon

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    Midianites (midʹee-uhn-īts), descendants of Midian, a son of Abraham and his concubine Keturah (Gen. 25:1-2). When Abraham expelled Isaac’s rivals ‘to the east country,’ Midian was included (Gen. 25:6). Thus, the Midianites were counted among the ‘people of the East’ (Judg. 6:3, 33; 7:12), a general designation for the nomadic inhabitants of the Syrian and Arabian deserts. The ‘land of Midian’ (Exod. 2:15) probably refers to the center of Midianite territory, that part of northwestern Arabia bordering the Gulf of Aqaba’s eastern shore (cf. 1 Kings 11:18). The term ‘Midianite’ probably identified a confederation of tribes that roamed far beyond this ancestral homeland, a usage that explains the biblical references to Midianites in Sinai, Canaan, the Jordan Valley, Moab, and Transjordan’s eastern desert. Apart from the OT, sources of information on the Midianites are few; nonbiblical texts are ambiguous, and it is difficult to associate any archaeological artifacts with this elusive people.
    The first significant reference to the Midianites is a record of their involvement in the sale of Joseph into slavery, an account in which Midianites are closely associated or equated with Ishmaelites (Gen. 37:25-28, 36; 39:1; cf. Judg. 8:24).

    Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible Dictionary (1st ed., p. 634). San Francisco: Harper & Row. p. 634
     
  11. kyredneck

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    9 And the patriarchs, moved with jealousy against Joseph, sold him into Egypt: and God was with him, Acts 7

    Is there something I'm missing here? Why the debate on this?

    The Spirit clearly holds Joseph's brothers accountable for the crime.
     
  12. Eliyahu

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    Wrong!

    We cannot debate the truth based on the wrong translation.
     
  13. Eliyahu

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    Who sold Joseph?
    Who pulled up Joseph from the pit?

    Genesis 37:28

    Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt
    29 And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. (where was Reuben if his brethren pulled up Joseph and sold him to Ishmeelites?)
    30 And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go? ( Doesn’t ‘Return’ mean that he came from his brethren? Then where was he while Joseph was sold?)
    31 And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
    36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.

    Genesis 39:
    1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.

    Genesis 45

    4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
    5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life

    Acts 7:9
    And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,

    Genesis 40:15
    For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.

    Issues

    1. Are Midianites different from Ishmeelites ? or Midianites are the same as Ishmeelites? Jews believe Ishmeelites were long distance merchants, Midianites were local merchants

    2. Where was Reuben while Midianites passed by and his brethren pulled up Joseph and sold him?

    3. If Midianites were the same as Ishmeelites, then was the pit located on the route of Ishmeelites? Was the pit on the highway whereon the many camels and people were traveling?

    4. Why Joseph was saying “ I was stolen away” ?

    Stolen by Brothers? Did Brothers need to steal Joseph?

    5. Why there was no reaction from his brethren when Reuben reported about missing Joseph?



    6. How was the money shared if Brothers sold Joseph?




    Midianites passed by and pulled up Joseph out of the pit
    There is no subject in the sentence and KJV added “they” to become neutral on this issue
    Questions:
    1) If Joseph was pulled up from the pit by his brethren, why didn’t Reuben know about it?
    2) Reuben “returned “to his brethren, then wasn’t he with his brethren before, when the Joseph was pulled up and sold to Ishmeelites?
    What was Reuben doing then? Was he sleeping? Were they not eating altogether ( Gen 37:25) ?
    3) Was the pit located on the route of Ishmeelites, the big scale merchants?
    4) Why does Joseph say that he was stolen away out of the land of Hebrews ( Gen 40:15)?
    5) Why does the Bible mention 2 nations in the one sentence(Gen 37:28) if they were the same nation ?
    6) There is no Subject in the sentence of “they drew and lifted up Joesph out of the pit “ which usually read:
    “Midianites passed by and drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit”

    Genesis 37:36 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard
    Midianites sold Joseph to Ishmeelites which were Egyptians and eventually went to Potiphar, the officer of Pharaoh
    This is a typical abbreviation of the process which is often used in the
    Bible as we read the story about Abraham when he was called out of Chaldee ( Genesis 11:31-12:5)
    Genesis 39:1 Joseph was sold to Potiphar from the hand of Ishmeelites who had brought him down thither.
    Gen 37:36 was written from the view point of Canaan, while 39:1 was written from the point of view in Egypt.

    Why does Stephen and Joseph mention that Joseph was sold by his brethren?
    -His brethren intended and planned to sell Joseph to Ishmeelites and that plan was done as they intended even though it was done by Midianites.
    If they didn’t cast him into the pit, Joseph wouldn’t have been sold to Egypt.
    Joseph’s brethren were responsible for the whole process of slavery.
     
    #13 Eliyahu, Dec 6, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014
  14. kyredneck

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    New International Version
    "Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him

    New Living Translation
    "These patriarchs were jealous of their brother Joseph, and they sold him to be a slave in Egypt. But God was with him

    English Standard Version
    “And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him

    New American Standard Bible
    "The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him,

    King James Bible
    And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,

    Holman Christian Standard Bible
    The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt, but God was with him

    International Standard Version
    "Joseph's brothers became jealous of him and sold Joseph as a slave in Egypt. However, God was with him

    NET Bible
    The patriarchs, because they were jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt. But God was with him,

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English
    And our fathers were jealous of Joseph and they sold him into Egypt and God was with him.

    GOD'S WORD® Translation
    "Jacob's sons were jealous of their brother Joseph. They sold him into slavery, and he was taken to Egypt. But God was with Joseph

    Jubilee Bible 2000
    And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt, but God was with him

    King James 2000 Bible
    And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,

    American King James Version
    And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,

    American Standard Version
    And the patriarchs, moved with jealousy against Joseph, sold him into Egypt: and God was with him,

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    And the patriarchs, through envy, sold Joseph into Egypt; and God was with him,

    Darby Bible Translation
    And the patriarchs, envying Joseph, sold him away into Egypt. And God was with him,

    English Revised Version
    And the patriarchs, moved with jealousy against Joseph, sold him into Egypt: and God was with him,

    Webster's Bible Translation
    And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,

    Weymouth New Testament
    "The Patriarchs were jealous of Joseph and sold him into slavery in Egypt. But God was with him

    World English Bible
    "The patriarchs, moved with jealousy against Joseph, sold him into Egypt. God was with him,

    Young's Literal Translation
    and the patriarchs, having been moved with jealousy, sold Joseph to Egypt, and God was with him,

    http://biblehub.com/acts/7-9.htm
     
  15. kyredneck

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    51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye.
    52 Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? and they killed them that showed before of the coming of the Righteous One; of whom ye have now become betrayers and murderers; Acts 7

    That's the whole point in the Spirit's condemning monologue to the Jews in Acts 7, "as your fathers did, so do ye".

    There are at least 100 ‘similarities’ between Joseph and Christ in the scripture. These are just a few of them (gleaned from another site):

    JOSEPH AS A TYPE OF CHRIST

    There is nothing bad (sinful) mentioned about Joseph or Jesus in scripture.

    Both were loved by their father

    Both rejected by their brothers

    Both Joseph and Christ were unjustly tried, Joseph was unjustly charged with trying to rape Potiphar's wife (Gen 39:1-20).

    Both were unjustly sold see Gen 37:28 and Mat 26:15.

    Both suffered; Joseph in prison and Jesus on the cross.

    Both were later crowned with glory and honour (Gen 41:39-45, Heb 2:9).

    Both delivered men from death

    Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph
    Matthew 3:17 "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased."

    Genesis 37:4 his brothers, they hated him
    John 15:25 They hated me without a cause.

    Genesis 37:8 His brothers said to him, "Are you indeed to reign over us?... So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.
    Luke 19:14 We do not want this man to rule over us.

    Genesis 37:11 So his brothers were jealous of him,
    Mark 15:10 it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over.

    Genesis 37:18 They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him.
    Matthew 27:1 the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death.

    Genesis 37:23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe
    Matthew 27:28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him

    Genesis 37:28 sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.
    Matthew 26:15 They paid him thirty pieces of silver.

    Genesis 39:4 Joseph found favor in his sight ...he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.
    John 3:35 The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands.

    Genesis 40:2-3 Pharaoh was angry with his two officers ... and he put them ... in the prison where Joseph was confined.
    Luke 23:32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.

    Genesis 40:13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office (to one, a message of life)
    Luke 23:43 He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

    Genesis 40:15 I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon."
    Hebrews 4:15 one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.

    Genesis 41:46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh
    Luke 3:23 Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work.

    Genesis 41:55 Pharaoh said ... "Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do."
    John 2:5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

    Genesis 45:1 Joseph made himself known to his brothers.
    Luke 24:31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him

    Genesis 45:7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.
    1 John 4:9 God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.

    Genesis 45:12 And now your eyes ... see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you.
    Luke 24:39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself.

    Genesis 45:18 Take your father and your households and come to me
    Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that are weary ... and I will give you rest.

    Genesis 45:26-28 26 And they told him, "Joseph is still alive! ... Israel said, "Enough! My son Joseph is still alive. I must go and see him before I die."
    Luke 24:5 Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.

    Genesis 46:30 Then Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive."
    Luke 2:29 "Now Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart in peace, according to Thy work; For my eyes have seen Thy salvation,

    Genesis 47:23 Then Joseph said to the people, ...I have this day bought you
    1 Corinthians 6:19-20 you are not your own? For you were bought with a price
     
    #15 kyredneck, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2014
  16. kyredneck

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    And all this merely ADDS to the validity of the type:

    Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth...ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay: Acts 2:22,23

    The brothers, through the hands of lawless Midianites or Ishmaelites, sold Joseph into slavery.
     
    #16 kyredneck, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2014
  17. Eliyahu

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    Amen!

    This reveals the depth of your thoughts. I enjoy that type of discussion, thanks.

    I read your quotations of Bible. Well chosen and well compared.

    It was culminated in Gen 47:23

    Eliyahu
     
  18. kyredneck

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    Joseph may be the LARGEST type of Chirist in the scriptures; the only other that I know of that might exceed it in the number of similarities would be the conflict between the House of Saul and the House of David.
     
  19. Eliyahu

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    Many other translations which add his brethren or like that are not meaningful.

    Though it may have happened thru Midianites and Ishmaelites, the overall picture is that his brethren hated him and led him into the slavery and death virtually, but God raised him as He did to His Only Son.
    Even if Midianites instead of his bretheren pulled up Joseph, the truth that the brethren hated and led him to deathlike slavery doesn't change.


    House of Saul may represent the human race of this common world.
    Your study in this comparison must be interesting..


    Eliyahu
     
  20. kyredneck

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    No, 'House of Saul' equals Apostate Judaism and it's leaders in the days of Christ and the early Church. 'House of David' equals Christ/Apostles/early Church. It's quite an amazing type. Had it all 'roughed out' with highlighter and bookoo marginal notes in my old favorite ASV and drove off to Church one Sunday morning with it on top my car; what a blow, gone forever, have never taken the time to rough it out again. Maybe I should. A.W. Pink makes mention of it as a large type in 'The Life of David', but he does not flesh it out.
     

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