Joseph Sold To Ishmaelites

This article is part of a series on suffering. I think you would agree that when family members strip you and sell you to traders going to Egypt — where you will be sold as a slave — there will be suffering in your near future!

As you probably know, this story is about how Joseph, the youngest son of Jacob, ended up on Egypt, where he was sold as a slave. The whole story is much longer that you would want to read now. The story begins in chapter 37 of the book of Genesis, and ends in Chapter 50.

23 So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. 24 Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the it was empty; there was no water in it.

Joseph Sold by His Brothers (Genesis 37)

25 And they sat down to eat a meal. Then they lifted their eyes and looked, and there was a company of Ishmaelites, coming from Gilead with their camels, bearing spices, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry them down to Egypt.26 So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.” And his brothers listened. 28 Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt. (Genesis 37:  25~28)

Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife (Genesis 39)

Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” 10 And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her. (Genesis 39: 6b~10)

As someone has said: “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”
Read the next part…

Note the underlined text:

11 But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, 12 she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. 13 And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house,14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house. 16 Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, 17 and she told him the same story, saying, The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me. 18 But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house. (Genesis 39: 11~18)

Did you read all of that? Not exactly a woman of moral integrity and honesty!

A few highlights of Joseph’s rise to power:
  • Joseph Interpreted Two Prisoners’ Dreams (Genesis 40)

  • Joseph Interpreted Pharaoh’s Dream (Genesis 41)

  • The result: Pharaoh was so impressed that he promoted Joseph from prisoner to Prime Minister over all of Egypt!

How was Joseph able to maintain his positive attitude throughout his trials?

The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. (Genesis 39:2)

But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

Why was the Lord with Joseph?

The writers of the New Testament can tell us:

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

draw near near to God, and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8a)

At the end of Joseph’s journey from shepherd to Prime Minster, here was his attitude:

20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good… (Genesis 50:20a)

MORAL:

You can’t choose your circumstances – BUT you can ALWAYS choose your attitude!

As we can see, the situation ended well for Joseph – but not without a lot of suffering along the way!

- Jan

Hey, how did this story about Joseph go with you today? Write a comment (below) OR send a private email.
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  • Anthony Ordaz 02/25/2020, 3:36 PM

    This really hit home hard… Exactly what I’m dealing with and you hit the bullseye

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