January 24.—Morning. [Or February 16.]
“In the world ye shall have tribulation.”
JOSEPH was Jacob’s best loved and most tried son. Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. This chapter opens a long scene of suffering.
Genesis 37:2–14; 18–24; 28; 31–35
2 Joseph being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
His piety led him to protest against the wrongdoing of his brethren. He would not join them in evil, nor aid them by concealing their evil deeds.
5 ¶ And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
6 And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
9, 10, 11 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying. (Whom God favours the ungodly are sure to dislike. The evil hate the righteous.)
12, 13, 14 And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them.… So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
18, 19, 20 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
21, 22 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him.
24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
31, 32 And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood: And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father, and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.
33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
34, 35 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sack-cloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. (This was a very painful transaction, but let us not forget that the Lord overruled it for the highest good.)
Crosses and changes are their lot,
Long as they sojourn here;
But since their Saviour changes not,
What have his saints to fear?
January 24.—Evening. [Or February 17.]
“The Lord shall preserve thy soul.”
Genesis 39:1–6; 16–23
AND Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.
2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
Grace enabled Joseph to make the best of his position, and to be amiable, industrious, and useful. This was as it should be. A child of God, even as a slave, should honour his religion, and God will bless him in so doing.
3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
This shews that Joseph did not fall into Egyptian idolatry, but avowed his faith in Jehovah, so that his master saw that Jehovah was with him.
4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. (The fear of God leads to honesty and faithfulness, and this is often the road to promotion even among men. Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is.)
5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.
6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not aught he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. (This became a trial to him. Personal beauty is a dangerous gift: we must not be proud of it, but be the more guarded in our conduct if we possess it.)
Joseph found a tempter in his master’s wife, who would have led him into great sin. He refused to listen to her disgraceful request, and said, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” The wicked woman again and again sought to lead him astray, and at last seized him, and held him, so that, to escape from her, he had to leave his garment in her hand. Then her wicked heart turned to malice, and she charged Joseph with being guilty of that unclean action which he had so earnestly refused.
16, 17, 18 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me. And it came to pass as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.
Thus she convinced her husband by showing the garment, which, could it have spoken, would have declared his innocence. A great deal of evidence may be brought against a perfectly innocent man. Let us, therefore, be slow to condemn persons of unblemished character.
19, 20 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.
Here his feet were hurt with fetters, and the iron entered, into his soul.
21 ¶ But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. (God is as much with his servants in a prison as in a palace; he does not desert us however low we may be brought.)
22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.
When a good man is thrown down he is soon up again. Truth ever floats where sin is drowned.
23 The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.
May each youthful descendant of godly parents be so kept by God’s grace that the Lord may always be with him. Keep God’s favour, and nothing is lost. Lose that, and all is gone.
Endow me, Lord, with godly fear,
A quick discerning eye,
To look to thee when sin is near,
And from the tempter fly.
Create in me a holy mind,
A sin-abhorring will,
That tramples down, and casts behind
The baits of pleasing ill.
 Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 47–48). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.