Listen -click for new tab
12 Now his brothers went to pasture their father's flock near Shechem. 13 And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” 14 So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.” So he sent him from the Valley of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. 15 And a man found him wandering in the fields. And the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” 16 “I am seeking my brothers,” he said. “Tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” 17 And the man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
18 They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20 Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits [cisterns]. Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.” 21 But when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. 24 And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.
Reuben sounds like the Hebrew for he has seen my misery; the name means see, a son. The footnote is found at Rueben's birth, it was his mother's, Leah, commentary on her marriage.
Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.
Poor Reuben. All those brothers stirred up like a lynch mob in a family of too many divisions. A friend of a friend still supports his father's many wives and children. Many jealousies, selfishness of the father, too many children to support, and the friend of the friend says we are so lucky to have Christian marriage with devotion and support for one family unit.
Reuben's heroics end when he lies to his father, Israel. It must have damaged Reuben. How much easier it would have been to have told the truth and looked for Joseph. God would have still found a way to promote Joseph. Not even the soap operas are this complicated.
While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father's concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it.
Reuben became someone who understood the 'necessity' of deep lies. In Genesis 49, Israel is giving blessings to his 12 sons, starting with Reuben. It isn't the blessing an oldest son would hope for:
2 “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob;
listen to your father Israel.
3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, the first sign of my strength,
excelling in honor, excelling in power.
4 Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel,
for you went up onto your father’s bed,
onto my couch and defiled it.
Then Rachel said (to Israel), “Here is Bilhah, my servant. Sleep with her so that she can bear children for me and I too can build a family through her.”
How old was Bilhah? How muddied is the water that Bilhab sleeps with her sons' brother? Her owner/employer's enemies' son, it was... on going trouble.
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
The family being given money in Iran also have many complicated issues. The oldest son sends back a sizable portion of his income. His father married his mother as an arranged marriage, a really amazing marriage for his charming, good looking father, who was poor to marry an heiress. His mother had a promise from his father, it would be his only marriage. They had 4 children in short amount of time and lived in a beautiful house. Soon after the 4th child, a small house about the size of a two car garage was built on their property. His father came home with a 2nd wife and moved the first family into the new house. The first wife was enraged to be supporting such a situation and living in the small house. Her first born said she was consumed with hate and forgot her children. The wives hated each other. Four more children were born. Soon another little house was built and wife # 3 arrived. Wife 2 and wife 3 hated the hateful first wife. 4 more children, now 12 in total. Wife #3 was ousted by Wife #4. Wife 1 aligns herself politically with #4. Wife 2 and 3 are all now disillusioned, because 4 wives and 16 children are beyond their means. Children begin to go without shoes.
No one could believe it when another house and wife #5 arrived. #5 is much younger than wife #1's children. No one aligns with wife 5. Now children left without dowry, still in the house, are without basic necessities. The eldest son arranges cash to arrive to wife #2. He knows his mother is too enraged to share the money.
The money is used without the father of these 20 children knowing, it is agreed by all if he would go beyond the suggested 4th wife, more money would in front of the father would just create another 6th family. The father is now 60 years old with a wife in her early 20s.
The eldest son says he hardly had a mother or a father, and he says Christian marriage is the only loving, truly workable marriage. The eldest son is single by choice.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.