There are some pauses or gaps in the stories of Jacob. When he left home, running away from Esau, it doesn’t mention him visiting his father Isaac, but he still lived, though now Jacob has twelve sons. Isaac got to see them all when they traveled back to the land God gave them.
From some research, I found that Isaac was still alive when Joseph was sold into captivity by his brothers. Joseph’s dream has his entire family bowing to him. In a couple of chapters over, 37, Jacob reprimanded Joseph for his dream; “Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?” Genesis 37b:10. This verse shows that his mother was probably still alive when Joseph was sold into captivity.
However, in chapter 35, Rachel and Isaac die. Rachel died while giving birth to Benjamin, then Isaac died, being mentioned at the end of the chapter! Because the family was living near Isaac then, he must have known of Joseph being gone; probably, like the rest of the family, he thought he was dead. Maybe Joseph asking about another brother wasn’t a leading question, but because he sincerely didn’t know if he still existed, he probably knew of his mother’s pregnancy. “And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? Genesis 43a:7. Hmm, why didn’t he ask about his mother?
I may not have this timeline exactly right, but it causes me to dig deeper into the scriptures. Why does any of this matter to you? The Holy Spirit tells the whole story through many books, chapters, timelines, and writers; it may be in bits and pieces, but you get all of it if you dig a little deeper. That’s why it’s the inspired Word of God!
And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. Genesis 35:29