قَالُوۡا یٰۤاَبَانَا مَا لَکَ لَا تَاۡمَنَّا عَلٰی یُوۡسُفَ وَ اِنَّا لَہٗ لَنٰصِحُوۡنَ ﴿۱۲﴾
قَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَبَانَا مَا لَكَ لَا تَأۡمَ۬نَّا عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَنَٰصِحُونَ
This verse points to another difference with the Biblical version; for, whereas in this verse we are told that the brothers of Joseph asked their father to send him with them, the Bible tells us that Jacob himself sent Joseph to his brothers (Gen. 37:13, 14). But the Bible seems to contradict itself in this respect for in Gen. 37:4 we are told that Joseph was hated by his brothers because Jacob loved him more than he loved them and that Jacob was aware of this hatred. How could Jacob, knowing that his brothers hated him, send Joseph to them?
Moreover, Joseph appears to be only eleven or twelve years old at the time when this incident took place, because it is only for a boy of this tender age that the language used by Joseph’s brothers about him can be used. The Bible, however, places Joseph’s age at that time at seventeen or eighteen, which is evidently wrong. (close)
اَرۡسِلۡہُ مَعَنَا غَدًا یَّرۡتَعۡ وَ یَلۡعَبۡ وَ اِنَّا لَہٗ لَحٰفِظُوۡنَ ﴿۱۳﴾
أَرۡسِلۡهُ مَعَنَا غَدٗا يَرۡتَعۡ وَيَلۡعَبۡ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحَٰفِظُونَ
1517. Important Words:
یرتع (he may enjoy himself) is derived from رتع which means, he (a beast) pastured at pleasure, eating and drinking plentifully and pleasantly; he (a man) enjoyed himself, going about cheerfully (Lane).
The words, we shall surely keep guard over him, also show that Joseph at that time was a mere lad of eleven or twelve years of age who required to be looked after and not a grown-up young man of seventeen who could easily take care of himself. See also the preceding verse. (close)
قَالَ اِنِّیۡ لَیَحۡزُنُنِیۡۤ اَنۡ تَذۡہَبُوۡا بِہٖ وَ اَخَافُ اَنۡ یَّاۡکُلَہُ الذِّئۡبُ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ عَنۡہُ غٰفِلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۴﴾
قَالَ إِنِّي لَيَحۡزُنُنِيٓ أَن تَذۡهَبُواْ بِهِۦ وَأَخَافُ أَن يَأۡكُلَهُ ٱلذِّئۡبُ وَأَنتُمۡ عَنۡهُ غَٰفِلُونَ
1365. It appears from this verse that Jacob had already been informed by God in a general way of the plot of Joseph’s brothers to kill him. So, as if pre-arraigning them, he used the same words which they were to use later in extenuation of their heinous crime. (close)
This verse lends further support to the view that Joseph was not seventeen or eighteen but much younger (v. 12); otherwise there was no occasion for Jacob to fear his being devoured by a wolf. It also appears from this verse that Jacob had already been informed by God in a general way of the plot of Joseph’s brothers to kill him. So, as if pre-arraigning them, Jacob used the same words which they were to use later in extenuation of their heinous crime. (close)
قَالُوۡا لَئِنۡ اَکَلَہُ الذِّئۡبُ وَ نَحۡنُ عُصۡبَۃٌ اِنَّاۤ اِذًا لَّخٰسِرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵﴾
قَالُواْ لَئِنۡ أَكَلَهُ ٱلذِّئۡبُ وَنَحۡنُ عُصۡبَةٌ إِنَّآ إِذٗا لَّخَٰسِرُونَ
فَلَمَّا ذَہَبُوۡا بِہٖ وَ اَجۡمَعُوۡۤا اَنۡ یَّجۡعَلُوۡہُ فِیۡ غَیٰبَتِ الۡجُبِّ ۚ وَ اَوۡحَیۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡہِ لَتُنَبِّئَنَّہُمۡ بِاَمۡرِہِمۡ ہٰذَا وَ ہُمۡ لَا یَشۡعُرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۶﴾
فَلَمَّا ذَهَبُواْ بِهِۦ وَأَجۡمَعُوٓاْ أَن يَجۡعَلُوهُ فِي غَيَٰبَتِ ٱلۡجُبِّۚ وَأَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَيۡهِ لَتُنَبِّئَنَّهُم بِأَمۡرِهِمۡ هَٰذَا وَهُمۡ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ
The words, they shall not know, hint that so helpless was Joseph’s condition at that time that his brothers could not even imagine that he would ever rise to any greatness afterwards.
This verse points to two more resemblances between Joseph and the Holy Prophet. Joseph was cast into a deep well by his brothers and the Holy Prophet had to take shelter in a cave (which is like a well) from the persecution of his brethren, the Quraish. The confinement of the Holy Prophet along with the Muslims in شعب ابی طالب (the low-lying depressed valley which belonged to the tribe of Abu Talib), in consequence of the boycott compact agreed upon by the people of Mecca, also provides a point of resemblance with Joseph’s having been cast into a well. Secondly, just as this verse tells us that Joseph was informed through revelation that there would come a time when God would bestow upon him power and glory and he would then inform his brothers of the bad treatment they had meted out to him, similarly the Holy Prophet was informed by revelation that though his enemies would compel him to flee from Mecca, yet he would return home victorious (28:86). (close)
وَ جَآءُوۡۤ اَبَاہُمۡ عِشَآءً یَّبۡکُوۡنَ ؕ﴿۱۷﴾
وَجَآءُوٓ أَبَاهُمۡ عِشَآءٗ يَبۡكُونَ
1520. Important Words:
عشاء (in the evening). عشاء (‘isha’) means, the time of nightfall or the first or beginning of the darkness of night; also the time from the declining of the sun (from the meridian) to the rising of the dawn (Lane). (close)
قَالُوۡا یٰۤاَبَانَاۤ اِنَّا ذَہَبۡنَا نَسۡتَبِقُ وَ تَرَکۡنَا یُوۡسُفَ عِنۡدَ مَتَاعِنَا فَاَکَلَہُ الذِّئۡبُ ۚ وَ مَاۤ اَنۡتَ بِمُؤۡمِنٍ لَّنَا وَ لَوۡ کُنَّا صٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۱۸﴾
قَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَبَانَآ إِنَّا ذَهَبۡنَا نَسۡتَبِقُ وَتَرَكۡنَا يُوسُفَ عِندَ مَتَٰعِنَا فَأَكَلَهُ ٱلذِّئۡبُۖ وَمَآ أَنتَ بِمُؤۡمِنٖ لَّنَا وَلَوۡ كُنَّا صَٰدِقِينَ
1366. The words bespoke their nervousness and betrayed their guilty minds. (close)
This verse also indicates that when Joseph was cast into a well he was a mere lad of eleven or twelve, otherwise his brothers would not have said that they made him take care of their things while they were playing. A young man of seventeen or eighteen is not entrusted with work of this kind. He himself can take part in all kinds of sports. Nor is he, when armed, likely to be attacked by a wolf, unless there be a pack of wolves, and Palestine is not a land where wolves roam in packs.
The words, thou wilt not believe us even if we speak the truth, show that Joseph’s brethren were not habitual criminals, otherwise they would not have uttered words which bespoke nervousness and betrayed their offence. (close)
وَ جَآءُوۡ عَلٰی قَمِیۡصِہٖ بِدَمٍ کَذِبٍ ؕ قَالَ بَلۡ سَوَّلَتۡ لَکُمۡ اَنۡفُسُکُمۡ اَمۡرًا ؕ فَصَبۡرٌ جَمِیۡلٌ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ الۡمُسۡتَعَانُ عَلٰی مَا تَصِفُوۡنَ ﴿۱۹﴾
وَجَآءُو عَلَىٰ قَمِيصِهِۦ بِدَمٖ كَذِبٖۚ قَالَ بَلۡ سَوَّلَتۡ لَكُمۡ أَنفُسُكُمۡ أَمۡرٗاۖ فَصَبۡرٞ جَمِيلٞۖ وَٱللَّهُ ٱلۡمُسۡتَعَانُ عَلَىٰ مَا تَصِفُونَ
a. 12:84. (close)
1367. These words indicate that Jacob regarded the report of his sons as a concocted story. (close)
1522. Important Words:
کذب (false) really means either a lie or a falsehood or the act of telling a lie, but here it is used in the sense of مکذوب i.e. false or that about which a lie is uttered (Lane).
سولت (made a great thing appear light) is derived from سال. The verb سول (sawila) of which the aorist is یسول means, he or it was or became lax, flaccid or uncompact; or it hung down loosely; or it was or became pendent or pendulous. They say سول له الشیطان i.e. Satan led him into error; or he facilitated to him the commission of great sins; or he incited him to indulgence in lusts; or he made the commission of great sins appear small in his eyes. The Arabic expression سولت له نفسه امراmeans, his soul embellished or commended to him a thing or an affair; or his soul made it appear easy to him; or made it appear as a light matter in his eyes; or pictured to him what is foul as goodly (Lane & Aqrab).
This verse alludes to another point of difference between the Quranic account and the Biblical version. According to the Bible, Jacob believed the report of his sons to be true and declared that Joseph had really been "rent in pieces" by a wolf (Gen. 37:33); while the Quran says that he regarded their report as a concocted story. Other parts of the Bible, however, support the Quranic version. In Gen. 44:28 we have: And the one (child) went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since. If Jacob was really convinced that Joseph had been torn in pieces, the sentence, "I saw him not since" becomes quite meaningless. These words clearly show that in his heart of hearts Jacob thought Joseph to be alive, though for the time being he yielded to the inevitable.
The Talmud also agrees with the Quranic account and says that Jacob did not believe the statement of his sons to be true and that he was told in a vision that Joseph was alive (Jew. Enc.).
The verse provides another point of resemblance between Joseph and the Holy Prophet. Just as Joseph’s brothers falsely declared that he had been slain, similarly, the Quraish falsely announced first at Uhud and then at Mecca that the Prophet had been killed, with the difference that whereas Joseph’s brethren spoke of Joseph as having been killed by a wolf, the Quraish asserted that they had themselves killed the Holy Prophet. This is the tenth point of resemblance between the Holy Prophet and Joseph. (close)
وَ جَآءَتۡ سَیَّارَۃٌ فَاَرۡسَلُوۡا وَارِدَہُمۡ فَاَدۡلٰی دَلۡوَہٗ ؕ قَالَ یٰبُشۡرٰی ہٰذَا غُلٰمٌ ؕ وَ اَسَرُّوۡہُ بِضَاعَۃً ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌۢ بِمَا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۲۰﴾
وَجَآءَتۡ سَيَّارَةٞ فَأَرۡسَلُواْ وَارِدَهُمۡ فَأَدۡلَىٰ دَلۡوَهُۥۖ قَالَ يَٰبُشۡرَىٰ هَٰذَا غُلَٰمٞۚ وَأَسَرُّوهُ بِضَٰعَةٗۚ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمُۢ بِمَا يَعۡمَلُونَ
1368. The members of the caravan looked upon Joseph as a precious asset. (close)
It is noteworthy how God takes care of His faithful servants. Joseph’s brothers cast him into a deep well in the wilderness but God so arranged that immediately afterwards a caravan arrived there. A man sent to fetch water from a well happened to go to the very well into which Joseph had been cast and this led to his being taken out alive.
The words, And they concealed him as a piece of merchandise, show that the members of the caravan looked upon Joseph as treasure and saw in him a youth of promise. (close)
وَ شَرَوۡہُ بِثَمَنٍۭ بَخۡسٍ دَرَاہِمَ مَعۡدُوۡدَۃٍ ۚ وَ کَانُوۡا فِیۡہِ مِنَ الزَّاہِدِیۡنَ ﴿٪۲۱﴾
وَشَرَوۡهُ بِثَمَنِۭ بَخۡسٖ دَرَٰهِمَ مَعۡدُودَةٖ وَكَانُواْ فِيهِ مِنَ ٱلزَّـٰهِدِينَ
1368A. The particle hi in the expression fihi may mean either 'him' or 'it,' standing either for Joseph or price. See also "The Larger Edition of the Commentary." (close)
It appears that when a member of the caravan took Joseph out of the well, his brethren became apprised of it and, declaring Joseph to be their slave, sold him to that very caravan for a paltry price. Thus the pronoun "they" in the clause, they sold him for a paltry price, stands for Joseph’s brethren and not for the caravan. The pronoun in the expression (of it) may mean either "him" or "it," standing either for Joseph or the price.
The Bible tells us that Joseph’s brothers sold him for twenty pieces of silver (Gen. 37:28). Their object in selling Joseph was obviously not to get money; they only did so fearing that if they did not declare Joseph to be their slave, the caravan might take him to be a free man and might send him home. So they represented him as their slave, and sold him for a small sum.
The context of the Quran also shows that those who are spoken of in this verse as selling Joseph were his brothers, and not the people of the caravan. For, in the preceding verse it has been said that when the caravan found Joseph, "they concealed him as a piece of good merchandise," whereas, in the verse under comment, we read that those who sold Joseph displayed no interest in him and "were not desirous" either of Joseph or of the price. This shows that those who are here spoken of as selling Joseph were not the members of the caravan, but, as the Bible tells us, Joseph’s own brethren.
The verse refers to another difference between the Bible and the Quran. According to the Bible, it was not a member of the caravan who drew Joseph from the well but Joseph’s own brothers (Gen. 37:28). The unreliability of the Biblical version is apparent from the fact that the passage dealing with this incident is full of contradictions. The Talmud also contradicts the Biblical account, and its description of this incident agrees with that of the Quran (Jew. Enc. under Joseph). (close)