And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near to them, they conspired against him to slay him.…
They insulted the Sovereign of the world, while they persecuted their poor brother. They intended to frustrate the Word of the Lord, and hoped they would bring to nothing the counsels of the Most High. Presumptuous creatures! did they think they were stronger than the Almighty? If they had cut Joseph into a thousand pieces, the Word of the Lord would have stood firm and sure. It would be far easier to arrest the sun in his course, than to hinder the performance of any promise that God has made to His people. "His counsel shall stand for ever; the thoughts of His heart to all generations." They might, no doubt, imagine that they were fighting, not against God, but against a presumptuous boy, who fondly dreamed of rising into honours above his equals or superiors, and that Joseph's arrogance well deserved to be humbled. They did not perhaps think that Joseph's dreams were from God; but why, then, were they so much piqued with his dreams? Might they not have suffered them to pass from their memories like other vanities, which pass away the moment in which they make their appearance? Must a man be hunted day after day, till he is chased out of the world, for a silly dream? But if their spirits had not been blinded by envy, they might have either seen that there was something more than ordinary in Joseph's dream, or at least have seen good reason to suspend their judgment. It was not a good excuse that they did not know the dreams to be from God. They ought to have known with certainty that they did not come from God, before they ventured to turn them into derision.
(G. Lawson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.