Bresihit 45:26 says that when Ya'akov's sons returned from Egypt (the 2nd time) they say, "Yoseph is alive and he is ruling over Egypt"; the end of the verse says that Ya'akov didn't believe them.

Did he not believe that Yosef was alive, or he believed that he was alive but didn't believe that he was a ruler?

  • seemingly the latter as the presence of the carts seems to have satisfied him
    – Double AA
    Dec 23, 2014 at 6:02
  • The Rashbam (37:11) sort of asks the opposite question (I first read the title as why didn't Yaakov believe...). Rashbam asks, why would Yaakov believe them, considering that he himself saw Yosef's coat drenched in blood? He answers that deep down Yaakov harbored a feeling all along that Yosef might be alive Dec 23, 2014 at 6:39
  • @DoubleAA seemingly the former (as it would be fairly odd to believe that he survived being devoured by a wild animal but not believe that he was in some very high political position; one is pretty much a miracle, the other does happen sometimes) Dec 23, 2014 at 6:41
  • @Matt Yes, that is what would be seeming if the carts are merely arbitrary.
    – Double AA
    Dec 24, 2014 at 6:59

1 Answer 1


The implication of the Rashbam seems to be that he thought that the brothers may have been fooled into thinking the person in front of them was their brother.

Rashbam to Bereishis 45:27

את כל דברי יוסף - שאר דברים שדיבר אליהם הכתובים למעלה, שבכה על צואריהם והכירו בודאי שהוא אחיהם

The words of Yosef - the rest of what he said, which was written above, that he cried on their necks and they recognized with certainty that he was their brother

In their follow up response, they confirmed that they knew it was Yosef. The implication is that until they confirmed that they were certain it was their brother, Yaakov did not disbelieve them that someone had said he was their brother (after all, they had told this fellow that they had a brother who went missing (Bereishis 42:13)), but he doubted that it actually was their brother.

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