And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seek you?
Read Chapter 37
Ambrose of Milan
“And Joseph was wandering about,” because he could not find his brothers. And it was right that he wandered about, for he was seeking those that were going astray. Yes, “the Lord knows who are his.” Indeed, Jesus also, when he was wearied from his journey, sat at the well. He was wearied, for he was not finding the people of God whom he was seeking; they had gone out from the face of the Lord. The person who follows sin goes out from Christ. The sinner goes out; the just person enters in. Indeed, Adam hid himself as a sinner, but the just person says, “Let my prayer enter in before you.”
Jacob sent his son to manifest solicitude for his brothers, and God the Father sent his onlybegotten Son to visit the human race, which was weak from sin and like lost sheep. When Joseph was looking for his brothers he wandered in the desert. Christ also sought the human race, which was wandering in the world; he too as it were, wandered in the world because he was seeking the erring. Joseph searched for his brothers in Shechem. Shechem is interpreted as a shoulder, for sinners always turn their backs in the face of the just, and shoulders are behind. Just as Joseph’s brothers, struck with envy, offered their back rather than their face to fraternal love, so also the unhappy Jews preferred to envy rather than to love the Author of salvation who came to them. Of such people it is said in the psalms: “Let their eyes grow dim so that they cannot see, and keep their backs always feeble.”