«Then Midianite traders passed by: so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver and they took Joseph to Egypt» (Genesis 37:28)
Jacob loved his son Joseph more than he loved his ocher children and gave him colorful tunic as a gift. Joseph also told his family about two dreams he had that suggested chat he was going to be exalted and the rest of the family would bow to him. It’s not surprising that all these things caused envy and hatred in his brothers, Surely Jacob’s preferential treatment was not a fair and Joseph could have kept his dreams to himself, but let us not Forget that the young man was seventeen years old and that there was a divine plan in chis series of events.
However, his brothers’ reaction was disproportionate. They were well aware of what Joseph’s face would be as a slave in Egypt. He would be assigned to the toughest agricultural work or, even worse, to dangerous task of digging tunnels. extracting stones from quarries, constructing buildings or extracting minerals from deep mines. He would be supervised by ruthless men, ready to cruelly punish any error. Due to his condition as a slave, he would not have any rights and would be at the mercy of his owner for the rest of his life. Again, we must think that there was a providential plan behind these injustices.
Joseph’s pain and suffering were real. Jacob’s son had just become a slave. Before that, he lived in a fairly peaceful protected environment within a family with tensions and problems. He enjoyed the freedom of worshiping and obeying his parents’ God. Furthermore, his brothers’ vile treason must have been very difficult for Joseph to cope with.
Joseph could have collapsed under chis injustice, cursed God’s name, gotten angry. become bitter and received any abuse with despair. Instead of that. he reflected on the lessons he learnt during his childhood. On the first day of his captivity he decided co «serve the Lord with undivided heart; he would meet the trials of his lot with fortitude and perform every duty with fidelity. One day’s experience had been the turning point in Joseph’s life. Its terrible calamity had transformed him from a petted child co a man, thoughtful, courageous, and possessed.» (Patriarchs and Prophets, ch. 20, p. 214).
Just like Joseph, you may not understand why certain things happen in your life. But you would do well to adopt his attitude of submission to God who will bring you real victory.