Sometimes I read something in the Bible, and it doesn’t make sense. It’s not that I don’t understand the words used or anything like that. Although when I read the King James Bible, I will sometimes run into words, and structures that leave me fumbling for comprehension. This is why I’m so thankful for digital Bible applications that support multiple translations! When I’m studying the Bible and I don’t want to jump out of the text and read what commentators have said, I can compare the same verse in multiple translations. Of course, if you’re studying the Bible in printed format, those options are a little bit more limited, but they are still out there. I read and study the Bible now exclusively in digital, but I still have five or six different printed translations available. However, in comparison to what’s available digitally, that’s nothing.

Today was one of those days when I was thankful for multiple translations when I read this verse from Genesis.

Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”

Genesis 45:24 (NIV)

Once Joseph had revealed himself to his brothers as their lost and presumed dead brother, he sent them back to Canaan to get their father and the rest of the family. They needed to come down to Egypt because there were would be another five years of famine, and they would otherwise be destitute if they stated in Canaan. In Egypt, they would have everything they needed. If you’re not familiar with this story, I invite you to read about it here.

What popped into my mind when I read this verse was, “Why?” Why did Joseph tell his brothers not to quarrel on the way? While it’s something we might say to the kids before they take off on a long trip, “Don’t fight with your brother! Be nice to your sister!” It doesn’t really seem to fit here. Here’s what three other translations say for this verse.

So he sent his brethren away, and they departed: and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way. Genesis 45:24 (KJV)
Then he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, “Do not quarrel on the way. Genesis 45:24 (ESV)
So Joseph sent his brothers off, and as they left, he called after them, “Don’t quarrel about all this along the way!” Genesis 45:24 (NLT)

The odds are pretty good that one of these versions is the one you read the most. Of the three, I found the NLT version to be the most helpful in understanding why Joseph said what he said to his brothers. However, the Amplified Bible gives the best understanding, I think, amongst the translations, I compared it to on my own.

So he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, “See that you do not quarrel on the journey [about how to explain this to our father].”

Genesis 45:24 (AMP)

Now, I still like to read the commentaries on verses sometimes, even when it might appear that I’m understanding. The Amplified is good, but the parts in brackets aren’t a translation themselves. It’s more like a built-in commentary of what they think something means. However, in this case, most commentators I’ve read agree with the Amplified for this verse.

So, why did Joseph tell them not to quarrel along the way?

It’s been about 22 years since Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. They thought about killing him at first but decided to sell him into slavery instead, so they threw Joseph into a pit to sell later. Reuben planned on getting Joseph out of the pit before they could sell him. However, Reuben was too late, and Joseph was sold into slavery. Joseph’s brothers had different ideas on how to handle their hated brother Joseph. Although they might have agreed on several points, I saw a lot of drama in the decision to get rid of Joseph. I can only imagine the blame game that would ensue as they returned home to tell their father Jacob that Joseph was alive.

Sin is like that. Even when everything has worked out, it wants to creep in and ruin it. Joseph’s brothers are obviously culpable in what happened to him. However, Joseph says it best when he asks them, “But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you?” (Genesis 50:19 NLT) Their punishment is in the hands of God, not in themselves or any other person. They can and should be repentant, however, beating themselves up over it and trying to figure out who did what, so they can try and explain it to their father is a waste of time and throws a dark cloud on the blessing.

We do the same thing. Or at least I do. I’ve done something wrong, and I’ve repented. However, if I’m not careful, I will beat myself up about it. Please allow me to tell you a brief story of when I first realized this.

Many years ago I needed to buy another car. The car I owned had an overheating problem that just couldn’t be fixed which made it impossible to rely upon. When I bought a new car, I was very fortunate to buy the car I wanted. At the time, I had only been saved for a year or so. Something the Lord was working on in me at the time was swearing. I used to swear a lot. Like many people do. Not just in times of stress but as a part of my vocabulary.

Before I was saved, I used to have dream cars. Once I got saved, I was able to buy one of those cars. It was the type of car that people would stare at and if given the chance, ask me about it. On one such occasion, I was talking to someone about the car as I was putting the top down and closing the trunk. When I closed the trunk, something happened to the body of the car and it got damaged. I swore. In fact, I took the Lord’s name in vain.

I felt so awful as the words left my mouth. I immediately repented. However, as I was driving home, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had said. While I didn’t like what had happened, how I responded to it was what bothered me the most. I kept thinking about how well I had been doing and how much the Lord had been changing me. I thought about a recent event when I slammed my hand in the sliding glass door and yelled, “Ouch!” The joy I felt when that happened was so great I called up a brother of mine to brag about the Lord despite my throbbing hand.

Then it hit me as I was driving. The real attack on me wasn’t the damage to my trunk. It was now, as I drove along. It was now as the joy was being sucked out of me about all the Lord had done.

So that’s why I think Joseph told his brothers not to quarrel on the way home. They could argue and play the blame game, but it wouldn’t do any good. It was unnecessary drama over a situation the Lord had worked out to their good.

When we go to God in repentance, and we’ve been forgiven, it’s really arrogant and prideful of us to still beat up ourselves about something God has forgiven. I’d love to say I learned my lesson about this long ago, but I’m still learning. I still think about my failures more than I should, but I do know the truth, so when I find myself doing it again, I remember the truth, and I am free.

Do you know God? God knows you, and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.