These [are] the generations of Jacob
But no genealogy following, some interpret this of events or of things which befell Jacob, and his family, particularly with respect to his son Joseph, as Aben Ezra and Ben Melech take the sense of the word to be from ( Proverbs 27:1 ) ; but the words may refer to what goes before in the latter end of chapter 35, where an account is given of Jacob's sons, with regard to which it is here said, "these are the generations of Jacob"; the whole of chapter 36, which contains the genealogy of Esau, being a parenthesis, or at least an interruption of the above account, the history of Jacob and his posterity is here reassumed and carried on:
Joseph [being] seventeen years old, was feeding his flock with his
or "in the flock" F2; he was with them in the pastures, where the flocks were fed, not so much to assist them in it, as to be taught by them how to feed, they being older than he:
and the lad [was] with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of
Zilpah, his father's wives:
his secondary wives or concubines, called his wives, because their children shared in the inheritance. These sons of theirs were Dan and Naphtali, the sons of Bilhah; and Gad and Asher, the sons of Zilpah; with these Jacob rather chose Joseph should be, than with the sons of Leah; and especially that he should be with the sons of Bilhah, who was the handmaid of Rachel, Joseph's mother, and she being dead, it might be thought that Bilhah and her sons would have the most respect for Joseph:
and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report;
for not being able to bear with their evil deeds, and yet not having authority enough, being a junior, to reprove, correct, and check them, he reported them to his father: what the things were reported is not said, perhaps their quarrels among themselves, their contempt of Joseph, their neglect of their flocks Some of the Jewish writers make them to be abominable acts of uncleanness F4, others eating of the member of a creature alive, particularly the flesh of the tails of lambs while living F5.
F2 (Naub) "in pecudibus", Montanus; "in grege", Vatablus.
F4 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 84. fol. 73. 1. Jarchi in loc.
F5 Targum Jon. in loc. Pirke Eliezer, c. 38.