Bible Question:

In Genesis 37:4 it states that Joseph's brothers hated him. Also in Genesis 37:8 it is repeated that they hate him. Is this to be taken literally or does hate have another meaning in these verses?

Bible Answer:

The Hebrew words that are translated as hate in Genesis 37:4 and Genesis 37:8 are the same. The word is SANE.

His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms. (NASB) Gen. 37:4

Then his brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. (NASB) Gen. 37:8

The Hebrew means “to hate someone.” It refers to a strong emotion that does not want to have anything to do with another person. Joseph’s brothers had this feeling. In fact, Genesis 37:20 reveals that they wanted to murder him.


Joseph’s brothers did not realize that they could not prevent the fulfillment of the dream that God gave to Joseph from coming true. What God had planned would be fulfilled. In fact, God knew that they would hate him when the dream was became known. Their hate actually accomplished God’s will. We can never frustrate God’s will. It is foolish to try. He is God and we are not.

Suggested Links:

How can I stop criticizing and love my friend?