And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
Read Chapter 39
Ambrose of Milan
Lowly servants have grounds on which they may glory; Joseph also was a servant. Those who have passed from freedom into slavery through some exigency have a source of consolation. They have something to imitate, so that they may learn that their status can change but not their character; that among household servants there is liberty; and that in servitude there is constancy. Masters have something to hope for through good and humble servants. Abraham found a wife for his son through a servant of his household. The Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph, and the blessing of the Lord was granted to all his property in house and in fields. “And he entrusted all things whatsoever were his into the hands of Joseph.” We note that what the masters could not govern, mere servants governed.
What is the meaning of “a man of means”? Everything went well for him, grace from on high preceded him everywhere, and the grace that flourished with regard to Joseph was so obvious as to become plain even to his master, the chief steward. Recall the text says, “His master realized that the Lord was with him, and whatever he did the Lord conducted successfully in his person. Joseph found favor with his master, who set him over his household and entrusted to him all his possessions.” Do you see what it means to be helped by the right hand from above? I mean, behold, a young man, a stranger, a captive slave, yet entrusted by his master with his whole household: “he entrusted everything to him,” the text says. Why? Because along with power from on high Joseph also contributed his own way of doing things. Recall the text states, “He gave him satisfaction”; that is to say, he did everything to his complete satisfaction.
What is the meaning of “the Lord was with Joseph”? Grace from on high stood by him, it is saying, and smoothed over all his difficulties. It arranged all his affairs; it made those traders well disposed to him and led them to sell him to the chief steward so that he should advance gradually and, by proceeding through those trials, manage to reach the throne of the kingdom. But you, dearly beloved, hearing that Joseph endured slavery at the hands of the traders and then experienced the slavery of the chief steward, consider how he was not alarmed and did not give up hope or debate within himself in these terms: “How deceitful were those dreams that foretold such prosperity for me! I mean, look, I have gone from slavery to harsh slavery and a range of masters, from one to another, forced to associate with savage races. Surely we haven’t been abandoned? Surely we haven’t been passed over by grace from on high?” He said nothing of the sort; he gave it not a thought; on the contrary, he bor...