The Midianite merchants into whose hands the brothers of Joseph the King of dreams sold him, took him to Egypt, that land of green pastures in the midst of sandy deserts. In some great slave market he was exposed for sale, along with hundreds of others, who had been captured by force or cunning, from the surrounding countries.
Undoubtedly the Upper Nile and Central African regions were traversed then as now to satisfy the insatiable demand for slaves. And the fair-skinned youth would stand with the dark sons of the lands under the tropical sun; lands that have been trodden in recent times by English soldiers, and that will be forever sacred to our countrymen, because of the soldiers’ graves that are scattered across the sandy deserts.
It was bought by Potiphar, “captain of those of the guard”; the margin tells us that he was the main executor of corporal punishment or the head of the executioners. It is very probable that he was the head of the military force employed as a royal guard corps, in the court precincts.
The Egyptian monarchs had the absolute power of life and death, and they did not hesitate to order a variety of summary or bloody punishments, the elocution of which was entrusted to the military guard, who was always at hand, and was the quickest and most effective instrument. efficient for torture or death.
Joseph the King of dreams is bought by Potiphar
Potiphar was a nobleman from Egypt; A member of a proud aristocracy, he held a high office and was favored at court. He would no doubt live in a splendid palace, covered with hieroglyphs and full of slaves. The young captive, accustomed to the tenderness of his simple and beloved home, no doubt trembled as he passed through the avenue of columns, through the gates guarded by sphinxes, into the corridors of that strange and vast Egyptian palace where they spoke a language of which he did not speak. understood not a word, and where everything was so new and strange.
But, “Jehovah was with Joseph the king of dreams”; the sense of the presence and protection of his father’s God penetrated and calmed his soul, and kept him in perfect peace; and, although separated from everyone he knew, he gave him rest and strength to feel that the mysterious wings engraved on the porticoes of so many Egyptian buildings were emblems of outstretched wings; from the care of his great Father, a care that he never slept and under which his soul could always hide.
Who would not choose, after all, rather to be Joseph in Egypt with God, than the brethren with a bloodstained garment on their hands and the sense of sin in their souls? “The Lord was with Joseph the king of dreams; and he was a prosperous man” (Gen. 39:2).
The old versions of the Bible give here a curious translation: “Jehovah was with Joseph the king of dreams; and he was a subject of good luck.” I guess this means that everything he did turned out well. His success followed him as closely as his shadow, and he touched all his plants with his magic wand. Potiphar and his household got into the habit of hoping that this strange Hebrew captive could untie every knot, unravel every skein, and make the most intricate arrangements work out.
Perhaps, although stripped of his tunic, Joseph had not been stripped of his character. Take care, young people, that no one steals this from you: everything else, except this, can be replaced. Yes, José was industrious, prompt, diligent, obedient, trustworthy. When he was sent to look for his brothers, he had complied, not only with the letter of his father’s instructions, not giving himself rest until he had followed them from Shechem to Dothan.
And this was the spirit of his life. He did his work not because he was compelled to do it, but because God had given him to do it, and called him to do it. He read the will of God in the daily chores, the common task: “God sent me here” (Gen. 45: 5). He felt that he was the servant not so much of Potiphar as of the God of Abraham and Isaac.
There in the house of Potiphar he could live a devout life and it would be as truly as when he spent the long and happy days in the land of Jacob: and he did. And it was this that made him so conscientious and careful, qualities that in business do not cease to ensure success. While his companions were wasting their golden moments, José filled them with activities.
While they were content to present a good appearance, he sought success from carefully laid foundations. While they worked simply to avoid the scowl or the whip, he worked to earn the smile of the great protector, whose eye was always on him. They often pointed to him enviously, perhaps saying, “he’s a lucky fellow.” They did not think that his fortune was his character; and that his character meant God.
Often men talk about each other like this: “he was always lucky”, “he was born under a lucky star”, “he is sure to have good luck”. But there is no such thing as luck, but luck
means character. And if you wish to possess such a character as will assure you success in life, there is no true ground for it but Jesus Christ.
You should build about him; otherwise your building will be washed away by the first hurricane. But once you have laid the foundation on the living stone, then raise the building according to the plan given in his own beautiful life. Rise row upon row: and you will find that piety profits all; for it has the promise of this present life, and of the life to come. “Everything he did, the Lord prospered in his hand. The Lord blessed the house of the Egyptian because of Joseph the king of dreams, and the Lord blessed everything he had, both at home and in the field.”
This blessing is not the exclusive privilege of Joseph the king of dreams: it is promised to everyone who, hearing, hears the voice of Jehovah God to keep, to do all his commandments (see Dt. 28: 1 and 2). Often such blessings would be ours if we walked as close to God as Joseph did. It is worth little to cry like Jabez “if you give me a blessing”; unless, like him, we add “and deliver me from evil”. But when the blessing comes it is enriched, and does not add sadness with it. Let us take care to live so that God can be with us… “The Lord is with you, if you go with Him; if you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you leave Him, He will also leave you”.
These words can be read by servants of various kinds: the servant of the house, the child of the office, the apprentice, the clerk. And if so, they will surely be helped by the example of this noble youth. He did not indulge in useless sorrows or tears that would not profit him.
He girded himself manfully to do according to his strength what came to his hand to do it. He was “faithful in the very little,” in the humblest and most trivial duties of his trade. He believed that God had put him where he was; and by serving his earthly mistress well, he felt that he really pleased his great heavenly friend, who was close to him in those hieroglyphic-adorned palaces as well as in Jacob’s tents.
Here is the spirit with which all service must be done… In this way, the most insignificant things are done under the most sublime principles, just as the shape of the dewdrop that trembles on the petal of a rose is determined by the same laws that directed the shaping of our Earth into its present form. Our lot in life is much more equal than we think.
What we do is not as important as how we do it. The motive that inspires us is the true norm and measure of the value or importance of our life. A petty man can dwarf the most important matters by the baseness of his spirit.
A noble man can magnify insignificant matters by his nobility in such a way that they become matters of conversation of flaming seraphim, or of bent-winged cherubs. We cannot estimate the value of a true Christian servant. Fortunate the house that is thus equipped! Potiphar the Egyptian was no doubt pleasantly surprised by the sudden stream of prosperity that flowed his way.
Everything was going well: his cattle increased in the fields, his businesses prospered at home. Perhaps he often wondered the cause, but he little guessed at first that he owed it to the Hebrew slave: “The Lord blessed the house of the Egyptian because of Joseph the king of dreams.” God paid her well for taking care of his servant. That’s how it is still. Joseph the king of dreams became a prosperous man: the butler in his master’s house.
“He left everything he had in the hand of Joseph the king of dreams”, nor did he know anything with him except the bread he ate”. And precisely here Joseph encountered the most terrible temptation of his life. We can expect temptation in the days of prosperity and ease, rather than in days of privation and work.
Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph the King of dreams
It’s harder to resist temptation when it comes from the least expected part. It may be that Potiphar’s wife was no worse than many of her sex. No doubt they struck Joseph like the shock of an earthquake, filling him with a sudden tumult of thoughts. The unexpected appeal to his passions, regarding temptation. It seemed essential for José to be well with his lord’s wife. Pleasing her would ensure her advancement. Displeasing her would make her her enemy and ruin her hopes.
The only armor against politics is the faith that looks far into the future and believes that at last it will be found better to have done well and waited for vindication and God’s blessing. It turned out better for Joseph the king of dreams not to obey the suggestions of politics: by doing so, he might have acquired a little more influence in the house of Potiphar; but he could not have lasted and never would have become prime minister of Egypt, or had a home of his own, or had his boys blessed by his dying father. However, José remained firm.
He reasoned with her. He sought to instill in her a sense of what suited her as the wife of her lord. But he did more. He changed the case from the court of reason to that of conscience.
José the King of dreams in jail
José the King of dreams was there in the prison house. But the Lord went with Joseph.” The Lord was with him in Potiphar’s palace; but when Joseph went to jail, the Lord went there too. The only thing that separates us from God is the sin: while we walk with God, God will walk with us,The steps of the throne.
The steps of the exaltation of Joseph from the prison cell where we left him, to the steps of Pharaoh’s throne, are also known that we do not need to describe them in detail… “Remember me within you, when you have good”. It was a modest and pathetic plea that Joseph made to the great official of state, to whose dream he had given so favorable an interpretation.
Some, however, have said that he had no right to do so. They have said that he had no right to beg this man to plead with Pharaoh, when…