The oldest brother worked to save his younger brother

Genesis Bible Background

01.15.2019 – Old Testament: Gen 37.21–22

To read the Bible in a year, read Genesis 36–37 on January 15, In the year of our Lord Christ 2019

By Don Ruhl

Joseph’s older brothers hated him, so much so that they wanted to kill him. However, when they were conspiring to do so, the Bible says:

But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, “Let us not kill him.” And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him”—that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father (Genesis 37.21–22).

While Reuben certainly was not totally clear in being against Joseph and of the coverup once the others had sold him, Reuben did not want to kill his own brother, but sought to hold off the brothers, that in time Joseph could be returned to their father. Unfortunately Reuben went away and while he was gone, the others sold Joseph to a caravan passing by.

Here’s my point: As the oldest, Reuben sought to save his brother and wanted to restore things later as they should have been.


  • If you have siblings, what number are you?
  • What do you do to try to keep peace in your family?

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