Joseph hopped off the camel at the request of his captors. A crowd was forming around them. Items were removed from other camels and set out for inspection. Money was exchanged as Joseph watched.
A prominent-looking man approached his captors. “Have you any slaves this trip?”
They walked up to Joseph. “I have this fine specimen here, mighty Potiphar.”
Although Joseph couldn’t understand a word they said he knew he was the next item to be sold.
Potiphar walked around Joseph, then stood back. “Strip him.”
His captors pulled Joseph’s clothes off him. Potiphar smiled. Joseph glanced at the crowd. Many were staring at him.
Potiphar raised his right hand over his head. He pointed down and spun his finger in a circle.
A captor’s hand pushed Joseph’s shoulder forward. Joseph spun around slowly.
Potiphar’s hand stroked his chin. “How much?”
The captors looked at each other. The leader smiled. “One hundred…”
Potiphar stopped smiling. “That’s twice as much as the last one. I’ll pay fifty for this one as well.”
The lead captor crossed his arms. “Ninety and he’s yours.”
Potiphar crossed his arms. “I’ll split the difference and go seventy.”
The captor didn’t budge. “This one is half the age with twice the muscles as the last one. The only reason I’ll sell him to you for ninety is because I like you, Potiphar.”
Potiphar motioned for Joseph to spin again. He did.
Potiphar’s gaze was low. “How did you come by a Hebrew, anyway?”
“It’s apparently a bad idea to get your older brothers mad at you. He seems resigned to his fate. He hasn’t tried to escape from us. If you don’t want him for ninety I’ll take him to Pharaoh. I can get much more from him.”
“Very well, put his clothes back on him. I’ll take him home with me and send you the money.”
When Potiphar turned to walk away Joseph bent down and grabbed his clothes for a quick redress.
The captor stood in front of Joseph. “We will hold the money before you take your slave.”
Potiphar kept walking. “I’ll send some men for him.”
This humiliating part of Joseph’s life is glossed over in the Biblical account. I’m merely guessing at the way the transaction took place. But, Joseph was treated as an object to be taken advantage of here.
Potiphar needed another person to handle chores around his home and Joseph happened by at the very moment he came looking for a slave.
Had Potiphar delayed Joseph may have been sold to someone else. But, coincidence brought the two of them together to assure Joseph was placed in the best position for his adjustment into Egyptian society.
By the way, I’ve heard it stated that coincidence is simply God’s way of staying anonymous in a situation.
Potiphar wasn’t just any Egyptian. He was in an extremely high position in the Egyptian government. His job placed him in contact with the Egyptian leader, Pharaoh, on a regular basis. Some translations suggest he had a military position. Others say he merely headed up Pharaoh’s household. Either way he had wealth and prestige.
Being in a household in the upper echelon of Egyptian society would expose Joseph to a higher level of manners than he would have experienced elsewhere. It’s doubtful Pharaoh would have come to Potiphar’s house, but perhaps other dignitaries did. This exposure would prove crucial when Joseph entered Pharaoh’s presence to interpret his dreams.
Being placed in a household with other slaves would likely give Joseph others who would help him learn the language and customs.
Being reduced to an object to be sold would give Joseph a tremendous amount of empathy for those who would come to Egypt for food in the coming decades. That experience was bound to leave an indelible mark on his young life. Somebody born into a family of leadership would never face such a lesson.
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Very few people today have ever experienced being sold as a slave. Too many have been forced into that role by ruthless individuals looking out only for themselves. Some have been taken advantage of to the point of empathizing with Joseph on a certain level.
But, to stand and have someone determine your monetary value and then use you for labor is seldom seen today. We turn to scenes from before the American Civil War for any experience we can fathom.
That transaction did take place on the spiritual level. We stood before God and He determined our value to Him. A tear rolled down His cheek while we stood naked before him. Our destiny was set by our ancestors. Sin had us heading to Hell for all eternity. Separation from God Himself was the only course He had.
Until He became one of us and stepped in by becoming the only sacrifice that would fill the chasm of separation. The blood Jesus shed on the cross became the cleansing agent for our sins.
Jesus hung naked on the cross. Humiliated and rejected by the religious leaders of that day, but not by God.
Out of necessity God placed our sins on His Son and placed them in the grave with Him. When Jesus came out of the grave our sins stayed in there.
Those of us who accept Jesus death as the death we deserved will not only rub elbows with dignitaries in heaven, we’ll reign right alongside Jesus in His kingdom.
Joseph didn’t know what fate awaited him in Egypt. We have promises in the Bible that tell us of God’s plans for us.
You didn’t stumble upon reading this by mere coincidence. God is seeking you out to become a member of His adopted family.
The price for your life was set very high. Jesus stood in for you to fulfill that payment.
God has done all He can to bring you to Him. All you have to do is say “Yes” to Jesus.
Eternity with the Creator of the universe awaits those who follow this course.
I’ll see you later. Wade