Nudging Him Back on the PathBy Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
Yoseif’s ten older brothers went to tend their father’s sheep in Shechem. Yaakov sent Yoseif to go find out how things were going. By the time Yoseif got to Shechem, they had already left. A stranger told Yoseif where they had gone. (Some identify the stranger as the angel Gabriel, who had to push Yoseif back on course. After all, it wouldn’t do to have him miss his date with destiny!)
The brothers saw Yoseif approaching from a distance and they conspired to do away with him. (This wasn’t over a coat; it was a matter of self-preservation to them.) Reuven, the oldest, told his brothers not to get carried away. He suggested not killing Yoseif actively, just tossing him in a pit to die passively, on his own. Reuven’s plan was to sneak back and rescue Yoseif after everyone had a chance to calm down.