Curious why the Torah never mentions anything about Yaakov inquiring as to what actually happened to Joseph and how he got to Egypt. Is there any scriptural basis to suggest he became aware of the sale of Joseph?


3 Answers 3


Ramban on the verse in Bereishis 45:27 seems to suggest that Yaakov never found out:

And they told him all the words of Joseph: It appears to me according to the simple meaning that throughout all the days of his life, Jacob was never told that the brothers sold Joseph. Rather he thought that he got lost in the field and that the ones that found him took him and sold him to Egypt. For the brothers did not want to tell him their sin, especially since they feared for their lives, lest he get enraged and curse them.... And Joseph did not want to tell him because of his good ethics. And it therefore states (Genesis 50:16-17), "Your father commanded before his death, saying... 'Please now forego the sin of your brothers.'" And if Jacob had known about this matter, it would have been fitting for them to beseech the face of their father at his death to command Joseph from his [own] mouth - as he would not raise [himself against his father] and violate his words. And [then] they would not have been in danger, and they would not have needed to make up words from their hearts (that he had not said).

  • judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/87713/…
    – Heshy
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 22:02
  • @Heshy if your implication is that I stole the answer - I can safely say I never saw it prior to my answer.
    – Dov
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 23:26
  • No that's not what I meant ch"v! I was just repeating my question on the ramban
    – Heshy
    Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 1:11
  • Ah ok sorry for wrongly making an accusation
    – Dov
    Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 7:17

Both the Teferes Zion & The Medrish Lekach Tov, on ב"ר צז:ו say Yackov told Yosef "I know that you were sold"

By the Blessing of Yosef's sons, when he saw Yackov Avinu placing his Right hand on Efrayim the younger son. And he said "Not so my father, this one is the First born". Yackov said "I know who the Bechor is. I'm doing this by Ruach Hakodesh" .... Both the "Teferes Zion" & "Medrish Lekach Tov" Add.... "I Also know by Ruach Hakodesh things that you never told me. I know that you were sold. (I know why Reuvin moved my bed, I know why Yehuda approached Tamar. And you thought I don't know who the Bechor is!?)

( Also it's only Logical that Yackov knew Yosef was sold, because (acc. to Rashi) The entire reason that Yackov lost his Ruach Hakodesh when Yosef was sold was becouse the 9 Brothers who sold Yosef, made a Nidui against anyone who'd tell Yackov about it and Hashem joined to make #10..so Hashem (as if) didn't tell Yackov either...so when Yackov saw Yosef was alive (Many say even before when Serech Bas Asher played "Od Yosef Chai") his Ruach Hakodesh returned...And Hashem (as if) could now tell Yackov what really happened to Yosef)

To Answer the Ramban's question that @Dov brought down to prove that Yackov did not know that the Brothers sold Yosef. I found a Sechia from the Chabad Rebbe that Answers this question (While holding that Yackov Did know about the Brothers selling Yosef) : Out of concern for his children’s welfare, Yaakov said to Yosef, please put “yadecha” — “your hand” (your generous support) — “tachat yereichi” — “under my thigh — my family who will survive me and live together with you in Egypt.” [When the Torah enumerates the family of Yaakov that descended to Egypt, they are referred to as “yotzei yereicho” — “the people who emanated from his thigh” (46:26)]. In other words "Not only Don't harm them, and forgive them, but Support and love them". P.S. This also answer's the Question asked on Rashi "Why did the Brothers lie". They did Not lie.


I was wondering about this for years, and this year I noticed that it seems to be pretty explicit that he was told. When the brothers come back to Yaakov after Yosef reveals himself we are told (45:27)

וַיְדַבְּר֣וּ אֵלָ֗יו אֵ֣ת כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֤י יוֹסֵף֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר דִּבֶּ֣ר אֲלֵהֶ֔ם וַיַּרְא֙ אֶת־הָ֣עֲגָל֔וֹת אֲשֶׁר־שָׁלַ֥ח יוֹסֵ֖ף לָשֵׂ֣את אֹת֑וֹ וַתְּחִ֕י ר֖וּחַ יַעֲקֹ֥ב אֲבִיהֶֽם׃

But when they recounted all that Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.

If they recounted everything they would also be repeating what Yosef said about them selling him, so it seems that Yaakov did know.

  • I like your "Haraha". But from the Pasuk according to Rashi, that the עגלות were to prove to יעקב that "This Egyptian King- Viceroy" really was Yosef. Nothing more. And the Proof is all the Midrashim on the Pasukim focus on עוד יוסף חי, with Serach Bas Ashar Etc (count. Next comment
    – Sochacz
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 1:04
  • Especially, if you read the Entire Medrish that Rashi brings which says: (because when Yackov accompanied Yosef towards the Brothers in שכם, and Yosef told him to go back. Yackov told him in the future עם ישראל, will be given the Mitzvah of עגלה ערופה , where the leaders of the 2 nearest cities say we're not responsible for his death because we provided him with ."..and accompanied him put of the city so no harm befall him Etc") you see that Yosef was telling Yackov )like he thought these 17 yrs., that a Wild Animal ate him. So I don't see a Proof from that Pasuk, itself.
    – Sochacz
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 1:09

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