And Reuben said unto them, shed no blood
Innocent blood, as the Targum of Jonathan; the blood of a man, a brother's blood, one that had not done anything wherefore it should be shed, and which would involve in guilt, and bring vengeance on them: he seems to put them in mind of the original law in ( Genesis 9:6 ) ;
[but] cast him into this pit that [is] in the wilderness, and lay no
hand upon him:
which might seem to answer the same purpose, namely, by depriving him of his life in another way, by starving him; but this was not Reuben's intention, as appears by the next clause, and by his going to the pit afterwards, as it should seem, with a view to take him out of it privately; this advice he gave,
that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father
safe and sound, in order, as it is thought by many interpreters, to reconcile his father to him, whose bed he had abused.