Breishit 50:8 lists regarding who went to Ya'akov's funeral

and all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house; only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen.

  1. If it says "and his father's house", doesn't that include everyone else - Joseph, the brothers and all their children?

  2. If all of the father's household came, what does the end of the verse mean by saying that the little ones stayed behind? Is this a contradiction?

  3. Assuming an answer to 1 & 2 that explains that the children were excluded (then, again, the verse, itself says that), who was watching them, without the parents there?

  • Chushim, the son of Dan, was there. He clubbed Eisav over the head when he wouldn't let them into the cave of Machpela.
    – CashCow
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 15:06
  • @CashCow This would seem obvious, as Chushim would be included in the group "his father's house".
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 15:17
  • But it might mean only his children and not grandchildren (except perhaps Ephraim and Menashe who had a status of being like his own). "Only their little ones" may refer only to those under a certain age.
    – CashCow
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 15:50

2 Answers 2


Rashi on Shmot 19:3 famously explains 'Bait Ya'akov' (the household of Ya'akov) to refer to the women, seeing as the 'sons of Israel', i.e. the men, were separately mentioned. This is essentially the same case as ours here in Bereishit; the reference to Ya'akov's household implies that his (surviving) wives, daughter-in laws, daughter(s-- see 37:35 ad loc.), and granddaughters.

In the same light, Bait Yosef, Yosef's household, refers to its members who have gone unmentioned: Not the women, included under Bait Ya'akov, but rather his servants and maidservants.

As for the question regarding the young children and livestock, with all probability, when Pharaoh granted permission to Yosef to leave, it was implied that he would care for those who didn't travel during Yosef's absence. After all, why would Yosef need to orchestrate a request for a few days off so carefully?

And, if one was to say that a vizier would always need to ask the ruler for permission, he still would not have to manipulate the atmosphere of his request so specifically! This holds especially true for Yosef. After saving the Egyptian people from a catastrophic famine, after convincing Pharaoh that G-d was with him, after 26 years of faithful work, Yosef could have left without even telling Pharaoh-- and Pharaoh, if he was sensible, would've barely reprimanded him! The fact that Yosef took such precautions so as to stage the whole petition shows that something else is going on.

The request for protection/support of the children is something of qualifying importance, because the Egyptians were disgusted by shepherds (v. 34) such as the Shevatim, and so by defending the family's livestock and young ones, Pharaoh was effectively siding with Yosef-- at least culturally-- over his people. Thus, this was a huge request.


The Pasuk explicates Yosef's brothers, despite being part of Yosef's "father's house" due to their importance. Especially important people are often written separately in a list. Yosef is written because it's Yosef's "father's house", not Yaakov's.

The Pasuk does not say "all of his father's house", only "all of Yosef's house". The other brothers left their children and flocks in Egypt as the Pasuk goes on to say.

Who was watching the children? There could be several answers. Family servants, friends or neighbors is a possibility. Older children is another. It's also quite likely that women did not go up, in which case the mothers would watch their kids.

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