Genesis 37:22

22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.

Read Genesis 37:22 Using Other Translations

And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
And Reuben said to them, "Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him"--that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father.
“Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.

What does Genesis 37:22 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Genesis 37:22

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
again;
safe and sound, in order, as it is thought by many interpreters, to reconcile his father to him, whose bed he had abused.

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