And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.
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Ambrose of Milan
But as for what pertains to the moral interpretation, because our God wishes all people to be saved, through Joseph he also gave consolation to those who are in slavery, and he gave them instruction. Even in the lowliest status, people should learn that their character can be superior and that no state of life is devoid of virtue if the soul of the individual knows itself. The flesh is subject to slavery, not the spirit, and many humble servants are more free than their masters, if in their condition of slavery they consider that they should abstain from the works of a slave. Every sin is slavish, while blamelessness is free. On this account the Lord also says, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.” Indeed, how is each greedy person not a slave, seeing that he auctions himself off for a very tiny sum of money? The person who has piled up what he is not going to use is afraid that he may lose all that he has piled up; the more numerous his acquisitions, the greater the risk he wi...
Then Jacob sent Joseph to the flock that he might bring back to him a report on his brothers. But the brothers, by means of the cloak that was bespattered with blood, sent Jacob a report on Joseph. With no mercy they cast him into a pit in the desert, but they wept over Joseph with tears in the house. They sold him naked to the Arabs but wept over him and wailed in the presence of the Canaanites. They put irons on his hands and feet and sent him on his way but composed lamentations over him in the village. Joseph went down to Egypt and was sold; within a few days he had changed owners twice.
An eunuch. This word sometimes signifies a chamberlain, courtier, or officer of the king: and so it is taken in this place. (Challoner)
Soldiers, cooks, or butchers. Hebrew tabachim, executioners, mactantium. He might also be chief sacrificer, governor of the prisons, all these employments were anciently very honourable, Daniel ii. 14. The providence of God never shines more brightly in any part of the Scripture, than in this history of Joseph, except in that of Jesus Christ, of whom Joseph was a beautiful figure. He was born when his father was grown old, as Jesus was in the last age of the world; he was a son increasing, as Jesus waxed in age and grace before God and men; both were beloved by their father, both comely (Calmet)
I think this was a further blow to those men: they saw that Jacob gave evidence of such ardent love for the one who was not present, nay rather was considered taken by wild beasts, and they were even more racked with envy. But whereas they would merit no excuse for being so cruel to their brother and their father, even the Midianites … serve the divine plan further by handing Joseph over to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief steward. Do you see how things proceed gradually and systematically, and how in every circumstance Joseph shows his characteristic virtue and endurance so that, just as an athlete who has nobly contended will be crowned with the kingdom’s garland, likewise the fulfillment of the dreams would … teach those who sold him that no advantage accrued to them from their awful ruse? Virtue, you see, has such power that even when under attack it emerges even more conspicuous. Nothing, after all, is stronger than virtue, nothing more powerful … not because it has such power of itself ...