Then there passed by Midianites, merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
All Commentaries on Genesis 37:28 Go To Genesis 37
Caesarius of Arles
Upon seeing Joseph, his brothers discussed his death; just as when the Jews saw the true Joseph, Christ the Lord, they all resolved with one plan to crucify him. His brothers robbed Joseph of his outside coat that was of divers colors; the Jews stripped Christ of his bodily tunic at his death on the cross. When Joseph was deprived of his tunic he was thrown into a cistern, that is, into a pit; after Christ was despoiled of human flesh, he descended into hell. Afterward Joseph is lifted up out of the cistern and is sold to the Ishmaelites, that is, to the Gentiles; when Christ returns from hell, he is bought by all nations at the price of faith. Upon the advice of Judah, Joseph is sold for thirty pieces of silver; Christ is sold for the same amount upon the counsel of Judas Iscariot. Now in different translations Joseph is not written as sold at the same price, for some say it was twenty pieces of silver and others thirty. This spiritually signifies that Christ was not to be believed and loved equally by all people. In fact, even in the church some love him more, others less, for Christ means more to the soul that loves him with greater charity. Joseph went down to Egypt; Christ went into the world. Joseph saves Egypt from want of grain; Christ frees the world from a famine of the Word of God.