And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.
Read Chapter 37
Ambrose of Milan
Indeed, Reuben and Judah observed the holy bonds of brotherhood and desired to free Joseph from their hands. Judah receives the preference by his father’s blessing, and rightly so, when it is said to him, “The sons of your father shall bow down to you. A lion’s whelp is Judah, and he is the expectation of nations.” Surely this is appropriate to Christ alone, for whom it was in store that he should be worshiped by his brothers and awaited by the nations and that he should wash his tunic in wine by the passion of his own body, because he did not stain his flesh with any spot of sin …. Conferring together against that counsel, the brothers abused him in whom “the blessing prevailed over the blessings of the enduring mountains and was stronger than the desires of the everlasting hills.” Who did Joseph understand was being prefigured in himself? Only he who surpasses the merits of all people and possesses the summit of limitless power beyond the desires of all the saints, he whom no one matches in prayer. And so, in the case of the patriarchs, enmity is repaid through grace, for they are excused from their guilt and made holy by the gift of revelation. For it is not so much a matter of blame in having said what refers to the people as it is a matter of happiness in having seen what refers to Christ. The people assumed the character of a sinner to receive the grace of their Lord and Redeemer. Assuredly grace destroyed guilt; guilt did not diminish grace.