And the man said, they are departed hence
They had been there, in the field where he and Joseph were, and which was probably the field before mentioned; but for good reasons, perhaps for want of pasture, or in order to find better feeding for their cattle, they were gone from thence, from the fields about Shechem:
for I heard them say, let us go to Dothan;
this was, as some say, four miles from Shechem, others eight F13; according to Brochardus F14, it was a plain country between fruitful hills, contiguous to fountains, was pasture ground, and very fit for feeding cattle; and its very name, as Hillerus F15 notes, signifies grassy, or a place of tender grass: here, afterwards, was a city built, not far from Samaria, ( 2 Kings 6:13 ) ; about twelve miles to the north of it, as says Jerom F16; it was in the tribe of Manasseh, about forty four miles from Jerusalem to the north, and six miles from Tiberias to the west F17: and Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan;
which shows that he had a real desire to see them, and know their state and condition, that he might report it to his father; since he might have returned on not finding them at Shechem, that being the place he was sent to, and would have been sufficient to have shown obedience to his father's commands, though perhaps it might not have come up to his full sense and meaning.