The life of Joseph is marred with deceit, tragedy, and, finally, victory. The dreamer enslaved, turned prisoner, turned ruler has one of the most dynamic stories in the Bible. Additionally, the writer of the Handbook on the Pentateuch presented Joseph through his interesting style and years of research. I want to visit a few points to highlight Joseph’s qualities and purpose.
While reading the book for this class, I liked the analogy of Joseph’s clothing throughout his life. The writer shows that Joseph’s coat of many colors is stripped from him and used to con the conman, Jacob. Slavery follows with another garment left behind as Potiphar’s wife uses the clothing to accuse Joseph of impropriety. After helping interpret dreams from prison, Joseph finds himself in garments and a position of royalty. The clothes do not make the man, but each experience, and apparel, prepared Joseph for the next step in his life’s mission.
Joseph shows excellent restraint and devotion to God throughout all of his trials. When sold into slavery by his family, Joseph worked with his very best effort and prospered his master. When tempted by seduction, he would not dishonor Potiphar or do anything that would displease God. In prison, Joseph found favor and began to work for the guards. Even in this strange land, with various privileges and opportunities, Joseph was loyal to the pharaoh and oversaw the plan to collect food in the years of plenty.
When Joseph’s brothers came to seek assistance in Egypt, Joseph launched a grand scheme to prove that his siblings had genuinely changed from the men he knew. Hiding money and cups in bags, holding a brother for collateral, and secretly interpreting his native tongue were methods to gather the necessary intelligence. Some would say that Joseph was supplanting his brothers in this act, a trait that he may have picked up in his younger years with his father or grandfather. Jacob and Laban were very good at manipulating the situation to alter the outcome in their favor.
Joseph’s ultimate mission and accomplishment are found in saving his family from the famine. Thanks to the Lord positioning Joseph in Egypt, using him to interpret dreams, and giving him favor in all that he put his hand to do, Joseph was instrumental in the survival of his brothers. Israel would continue and prosper under this ruler in the land of Egypt. The health and well-being of Judah would eventually lead to the coming Messiah and hope for all the world’s people. Joseph saved his people and many others on that day and unwittingly contributed to the covenant that through Abraham, all the nations of the world would be blessed.
In conclusion, as most of us can look back over our lives and can see the moments when God had directed our steps, Joseph accepted his testimony as a savior. When his brothers repented before him, he explained to them that “God meant it unto good, to save much people alive.” Joseph’s story remains one of my favorite and most memorable from the Bible. How wonderful would it be if we could all take from our experiences, apply that insight and knowledge, and help prosper the kingdom in the area we are assigned to?