Genesis 37:2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph being seventeen years old was feeding the flock with אֹת־ his brothers; and the boy was with אֹת־ the sons of Bilhah וְאֹת־ and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and brought Joseph אֹת־ their evil report to his father. C-MATS
Question: When did this incident happen? This incident occurred nine years after Jacob returned home. Jacob was 108 years old. Isaac was 168 years old and he lived for another 12 years. Joseph was 17 years old.
Question: Why were Bilhah and Zilpah called “his father’s wives”? Rachel and Leah were both dead leaving only Bilhah and Zilpah.
Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved אֹת־ Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: so he made him a coat of many colors. C-MATS
Question: Did Joseph’s coat have many colors? Notice in this verse that the word “many” was added to the text. The Hebrew phrase kethoneth passim is translated in KJV as “coat of many colors”, but the phrase may mean a “coat with long sleeves”. The Hebrew words mean “properly, the palm (of the hand) or sole (of the foot); by implication (plural) a long and sleeved tunic (perhaps simply a wide one; from the original sense of the root, i.e. of many breadths)”. (Strong’s Concordance) The Revised Standard Version translates kethoneth passim as “a long robe with sleeves” while the New International Version notes the translation difficulties in a footnote, and translates it as “a richly ornamented robe”.
Question: Why did Jacob give Joseph a coat? The coat was a mark of leadership. After Reuben discredited himself by tampering with Jacob’s bed, Jacob elevated Joseph to the status of the “firstborn” and made him the coat to symbolize his new position in the family. This elevation caused Jacob’s brothers to hate him.