As I've been studying through Genesis, I've come across a question which I have not thought of before. Of course, of everything I've been taught or have read, Joseph's brothers were those who sold Joseph to the Midianites (or Ishmaelites or Medanites (v.36) - they tend to put these groups all as the same people. However, I've come across some who have postulated that it was actually the Midianites who pulled Joseph out of the pit (וַֽיִּמְשְׁכוּ֙ leaves it ambiguous as to who pulled him out) and then sold him to the Ishmaelites. Simultaneous to this is when Judah came up with the idea to sell Joseph into slavery; however, he was beat to the punch. When Reuben came to the pit and saw that Joseph was gone, according to this thought, it wasn't because the brothers had already sold him, it was because the Midianites pulled him out and sold him! Reuben returns to the brothers, lamenting over the loss of Joseph. Interestingly, there is no record of the brothers explaining that they sold him. Presumably, they may have then themselves went to the pit, found it empty, and realized they needed a story for his disappearance that didn't involve them throwing him into a pit and leaving him. If they had told Reuben they sold him, then it is wondered why none of the brothers (especially Reuben) wouldn't have try to console Jacob by telling him that they sold him. Either way, these commentators agree, the brothers were guilty of evil and not exempt from sin. It caught my attention, and I was wondering if anyone had come studied this or has any thoughts on it.