1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.

And Joseph was brought down to Egypt

— In the type, this is fulfilled inasmuch as Christ was "preached unto the Gentiles" (1 Tim. 3:16).

"And Potiphar" — Walter Budge, the Egyptologist, gives his name as Pedephre, signifying The Gift of the Ra, Ra being the name of the Sun-god, one of the principal deities of Egypt. Others give his name as meaning Servant of the Sun.

"An officer of Pharaoh" — See note Gen. 37:36. The Hebrew word for officer is cariyc, which, in its strict meaning signifies eunuch...The title "Pharaoh" is said to signify, The child of the sun. The worship of the sun was very prominent in Egypt (Gen. 41:45), and the form of rule was a theocracy. Pharaoh was the son of the god; and Potiphar his servant.

"An Egyptian" — The emphasis given to Potiphar's nationality is significant. It is generally acknowledged that the reigning dynasty of the time was Semitic, it being the period of the Hyksos rule, and that such did not normally employ Egyptians in positions of eminence. Potiphar was an exception.

The various Egyptian titles given throughout this chapter are in accordance with those found on the inscriptions, so that it is acknowledged that the story of Joseph has an authentic Egyptian background. Egyptological discoveries fully confirm that when Moses has occasion to mention the titles of Egyptian officials

"he employs the correct title in use, and exactly as it was used at the period referred to, and, where there is no Hebrew equivalent, he simply adopts the Egyptian word and transliterates it into Hebrew" (Garrow Duncan in New Light on Hebrew Origins).

For example, the titles of chief of the butlers and chief of the bakers are those of palace officials mentioned in Egyptian documents. When Potiphar made Joseph "overseer of his house" the title employed in the narrative is a direct translation of the official position in the houses of Egyptian nobility as found frequently in the inscriptions: merpa mer en peri-t signifying Superintendent of the household.

The Christadelphian Expositor

6 And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.

Here we have to consider an instructive feature of the case. Joseph cheerily and faithfully addresses himself to the duties of his position. Had he been like some, he might have considered himself justified in sulking and dawdling, seeing that he was stolen and unjustly brought into his position. In that case, the Lord would not have been with Joseph; for the Lord is not with those who are slothful and contemptuous, from whatever cause.

He is only with those who faithfully act their part in the circumstances into which He may bring them. "Ay," may the Son-of-Belial class rejoin, "we would submit to any position the Lord brought us into, but we do not mean to put up with the injustice of man." They have not eyes to see that the very injustices of men are often the Lord's agencies to subject His people to the proof and to guide them at last into ways of blessedness.

There was nothing to tell Joseph that the act of his brethren was the act of God: but he feared God and submitted himself, knowing (as all true sons of God know and recognise) that God ruleth in the kingdoms of men even now, and orders the steps of those who please Him by their faith and submission.

Joseph acted his part faithfully, and God worked with him and prospered what he did.

...The Egyptian was an unenlightened natural man, and, as such, was not an object of interest to God, who

"taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, and them that hope for His mercy" (Psalm 117:11).

It was not for his sake that He prospered the Egyptian's affairs, but for Joseph's sake, who was of the specified character-a fact the Egyptian seems somewhat to have recognised.

Are there no Josephs now? They are very scarce-very. But, wherever they are, there is the same favour from God on their behalf; for God is

"the same yesterday, today, and for ever;"


"All things work together for good to those who love Him and who are the called according to His purpose"-

All things, absolutely, including the very worst occurrences, as Joseph was again about to experience.

Ways of Providence Ch 8

20 And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

He is not only in a strange land, but disgraced, and in a position debarring hope-not only a slave, but a branded slave; not only a prisoner, but a prisoner under circumstances that shut off all prospects of a possible release. In the first moments of his incarceration, Joseph must have been in a dreadful state of mind. We know what came after, which makes it difficult for us to realise the darkness of his situation. Joseph did not know what was coming after. He only knew the dreadfulness of his position-a prisoner and an outcast, unjustly banished from his country, in the first instance, and now the victim of a false accusation...

...Joseph, doubtless, bemoaned his position with many tears. The "stoical grin" with which educated Britons are taught to meet misfortunes is a part of the polished Paganism of the times. It results from imperfect development of the moral nature and the consequent false standard in vogue among those who, clever enough and proud, know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It belongs not to the school of which Job, David, Jeremiah, and the Lord Jesus are prominent examples.

These recognise that "there is a time to weep" as well as a time to laugh, and they do not require to invent the weeping time: it lies hard upon them in the present constitution of things in general upon the face of the earth, and sometimes comes close to them in the piercing sword of dire personal calamity, like that which shows us Joseph prostrate in an affliction which seems to lack a single ray of hope, and yet in which God was guiding him to great blessedness.

Joseph gets habituated to his grief and his position. By and by, God lets in a little light upon his darkness...

Ways of Providence Ch 8

23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because Yahweh was with him, and that which he did, Yahweh made it to prosper.

Thus was Joseph's position, as a prisoner, greatly mitigated. Thus does God lessen the troubles of His children after they have suffered awhile, that they may be established, strengthened, settled (1 Peter 5:10). He does not let their troubles press to their destruction. He afflicts with an object, and when the object is accomplished, the affliction is eased. If men will but commit themselves to Him in well-doing, He will guide their steps and frame their way for comfort and well-being. It is where they leave Him out of account and follow their own devices for their own purposes that He may leave them to be snared in their own way.

Ways of Providence Ch 8