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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 201-250 (Incorruptible - Kept)

F.E. Marsh :: 240. Joseph Sold into Egypt

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GENESIS 37:28-36

WE look at Joseph as a type of Christ, and as an illustration of the believer. There is one point to which we draw attention, namely, the sufferings of Joseph.

Joseph being ill-treated by his brethren, is a type of the ill-treatment that Christ received at the hands of His brethren, and is an illustration of what we must expect from those who are not the Lord’s.

There are seven things that Joseph’s brethren did to him. They hated him (Gen. 37:4-5, 8), they envied him (Gen. 37:11), they conspired against him (Gen. 37:18), they were going to kill him (Gen. 37:20), they stripped him (Gen. 37:23), they cast him into a pit (Gen. 37:24), and they sold him to the Ishmaelites (Gen. 37:28). All this is typical of the treatment that Christ received from His brethren according to the flesh.

  1. As Joseph was hated by his brethren, so was Christ, as He Himself says, “They hated Me without a cause” (John 15:25). Joseph was hated because he was the special object of regard to his father (Gen. 37:4), because of his words (Gen. 37:8), and because of his dreams, which predicted his future glory. In like manner the Jews hated Christ. They hated Him because of His special relationship to the Father, and would have stoned Him (John 10:30, 33). They hated him because of the faithful words He uttered, and would have cast Him down headlong (Luke 4:28-29); and they hated Him because He spoke of His coming glory, and spit in His face, smote Him with their hands, and condemned Him to death (Matt. 26:64-67). We must not be surprised, therefore, if the world should hate us, for the Lord Himself has told us that this will be so (John 15:18-19), but this is our comfort that He telleth His Father and our Father about it (John 17:14).
  2. As Joseph was envied by his brethren (Gen. 37:11), even so was Christ. The Roman ruler, Pilate, saw very plainly that the motive power which was actuating the chief priests and elders when they brought Christ before him was envy (Matt. 27:18; Mark 15:10; John 11:47-48), even as Joseph was envied by his brethren, to which envy reference is made by the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:9). Beware of envy, it is self-destructive. As Dr. Thomas once remarked, “I remember reading somewhere in a Grecian story of a man who killed himself through envy. His fellow-citizens had reared a statue to one of their number who was a celebrated victor in the public games. So strong was the feeling of envy which this incited in the breast of one of the hero’s rivals that he went forth every night in order, if possible, to destroy that monument. After repeated efforts he moved it from its pedestal, and it fell, and in its fall crushed him. An unintentional symbolic act was this, showing the suicidal action of envy on the soul. It is ever an element of misery, a burning coal which comes hissing hot from hell.”
  3. As Joseph was conspired against (Gen. 37:18), even so was Christ. The chief priests were continually plotting against the Lord Jesus. His teaching was a bright light, which revealed the hollowness of their utterances, and the unreality of their pretences, hence the reason of their ire against the Lord’s Anointed (Matt. 21:38; Mark 11:18; 12:12; Luke 19:47; 20:19). Judas was also used as a cat’s-paw by the priests and scribes, that they might get Christ into their power (Matt. 26:16; Mark 14:11); and they cared not what means they adopted to accomplish their diabolical purpose, for they even went the length of bribing false witnesses against the Son of God (Matt. 26:59; Mark 14:55). The servant is not above his Lord. As Christ was conspired against, even so was the Apostle Paul, as we read in the 23rd of the Acts. The same spirit is also manifested against God’s people, although in a less malignant form, by the world, but the same fire of hate lies smouldering, although it does not burst forth into flame.
  4. As Joseph’s brethren sought to kill him (Gen. 37:20), even so the Jews repeatedly sought the life of Christ. The evil purpose of the Jews to murder Christ, runs through the Gospel of John, like the black line that is often seen running across the face of a piece of white marble. (See John 5:16, 18; 7:1, 11, 19, 25, 30; 8:37, 40; 10:39; 11:8, 57). The pure, white, noble, holy life of Christ was in such striking contrast to the lives of the scribes and Pharisees that they hated Him in consequence. Thus also will the world hate the child of God who is true to the truth of Christ with that hatred which is murder in the bud (1 John 3:15; Matt. 5:21-22).
  5. As Joseph was stripped of his clothes (Gen. 37:23), even so was Christ. In the Judgment Hall He was stripped to have the scarlet robe put on Him in mockery, and at the Cross the soldiers parted His raiment among them (Matt. 27:28, 35). Verily, like the man in the parable of the Good Samaritan, He fell among thieves, and they stripped Him of His clothes. Oh! what a sight for angels to look upon, their Maker to be stripped, naked, bleeding, and dying upon a cross! Many a child of God has been stripped by the bloody Inquisition and put upon the rack, or else stripped by wild beasts in the arena at Rome.
  6. As Joseph was made a prisoner by being cast into the pit (Gen. 37:24), so Christ was bound and kept in durance vile (Mark 15:1). Wonder of wonders that Christ should condescend to be bound by man! That the creature should imprison the Creator! The Prophet Isaiah, in speaking in general terms of the sufferings of Christ, says “He was taken from prison and judgment” (Isaiah 53:8). Many a servant of Christ has been cast into prison for the Gospel’s sake, as Paul and Silas were at Philippi (Acts 16), and as John Bunyan at Bedford.
  7. As Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver (Gen. 37:28), even so was Christ for thirty pieces of silver sold by Judas who betrayed Him (Matt. 27:3). No one can prayerfully ponder the sufferings of Christ without being influenced. His patience under provocation, and His whole attitude while in the hands of wicked men are most majestic, and remind us of a noble lighthouse around which the angry waves beat and hiss in vain. He is truly an Example for those who believe in Him to act in a similar way when persecuted for His sake (1 Peter 2:20-22). We must not forget that we are called to suffer for Christ, and with Him (Phil. 1:29; 3:10), as well as to reign with Him; yea, the place of glory is only reached by the path of suffering (Rom. 8:17).

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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