These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
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George Leo Haydock
Generations. This connects his history with chap. xxxv. What happened to Jacob and his sons, and particularly to Joseph, forms the subject of the remaining part of Genesis. (Haydock)
Old; complete, or beginning "his 17th year "as the Hebrew, Chaldean, and Septuagint have it. "He was the son or boy of"
so many years always means the current year unfinished. (Bo chart 1. R. xiii. 1.)
The sons. Perhaps these were not so much enraged against Joseph, till he told his father of their scandalous behaviour, in order that he might put a stop to it.
He accused. Some editions of the Septuagint read, "they accused him"; but all others confirm the Vulgate and Hebrew. (Calmet)
Crime: perhaps of sodomy, or bestiality (St. Thomas Aquinas); or of abusive language to Joseph himself. (Calmet)
Why does he also indicate to us Joseph’s age? For you to learn that his youth constituted no obstacle to virtue and for you to have a complete awareness of the young man’s obedience to his father and his sympathy for his brothers despite their savagery. Despite his being so well disposed to them, Joseph was unable to win them over to concord with him on the grounds of his youth so as to be willing to maintain the bond of love. Instead, they saw from the outset the youth’s inclination to virtue and the father’s favor for him and were prompted to envy him. You see, “they brought false reports about Joseph to their father Israel.”