Trafficked People of the Bible & God’s Response
By Susanna Thorn
These Stories are only Biblically Based and should not be read as Biblical themselves. I have only looked deep into the Biblical stories of these people and made connections that logically make sense in my mind to flush out the character and struggles of each of these people. My hope is that you will see yourself or those around you in these stories and the God that shows His love to them will become real to you and become your God. Dedicated to Jesus for His Glory and to my daughter Gloria that she would know Him Deeper.
“Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand – but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.
The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream……
Genesis 40:20-23, 41:1a – The Bible, NIV
Drip…… Drip…… Drip……. Drip…… Drip…… Drip….
The sound of water on the prison walls was a regular cadence to every moment of Joseph day.
It was there when he fell asleep, as he did his chores around the prison, as he cared for the other prisoners. Each drop would take its time to hit the exact place the others did. Never too close to become a constant irritation, but frequent enough to keep you up at night thinking of the past until you fell asleep from pure exhaustion. Sometimes it was a blessing, especially when a bowl was placed to catch the precious drops in this desert pit. On some days when rain would fall the drips would become a torrent, and the prison walls would be cleansed of sand and the dry sandy floor would turn to mud.
How long had it been? The prison warden was incredibly pleased with him, as all those that he had served had ever been. He only cared for what he ate and left it all in Joseph’s hands, and it was much better to have something to do then to languish in your own prison cell. Yet it was still a prison, and though the prison warden was content and happy, he was still a prisoner.
It has been many moons since the cupbearer and baker had been in that jail. They had only languished in the prison for three days. On the first night they had both had dreams, and Joseph interpreted the meaning of those dreams. The cupbearer would find himself in right standing to Pharaoh again, while the baker would be put to death, all in the span of three days. Joseph had asked that the cupbearer to remember him after he had been restored to his post serving the Pharaoh. On the third day both were taken, and Joseph was told by the prison warden his interpretation of their dreams had come to pass just as he had said. Joseph then lived in hope that soon he would be summoned, but the days turned to weeks, then months, it could be at least years by now, and Joseph hope of being freed from this prison faded more and more as each day passed.
Dreams! Why did it always have to be Dreams! It was dreams that got him in this situation in the first place! He could not have helped being loved by his father Jacob, now named Israel. It was not that he asked for the beautiful coat, the coat that his father had commissioned to be made for him, with so many bright beautiful colours, with purple and gold and silver and green and yellow and so many others. The memory of his loving father’s face when Joseph had received that coat put a lump into Joseph’s throat.
If only he had kept his mouth shut! He should not have shared his dreams with his brothers, technically half brothers, or cousins if you wanted to look at it, since some of their mothers were sisters. Yet the dream of the bushels of hay was so real, and his brothers twelve did kneel before him. The next dream where the sun, moon and twelves stars also bowed down felt more real than regular dreams. Yet looking back there was no way that he could have kept quiet, how could he? He had been taught to be honest and true.
The teaching had been ingrained from him from childhood. He remembered the day when the whole family had packed up and moved away from everything he had ever known. He remembered the joy he had riding on his father shoulders as they set out. The joy of seeing his father and having him as a constant presence, something that had not happened in years. He remembered later the great camp of warriors that came after them. He remembered the fierce words between his father and grandfather. He remembered his little child heart almost stop dead with fear when his father proclaimed death upon his mother.
Father adored his mother, but father did not know that mother had taken grandfathers gods. Joseph had found them when he had been going through the saddlebags of their donkey and his mother had made him promise not to tell. He remembered running to his mother and telling her what father had said, and she immediately told him to leave the tent and go out to watch. His heart almost stopped as his grandfather went into their tent, each moment thinking he would come out with his mother and the gods. He prayed to the God of his father Israel to please, please, protect his mother. Then grandfather came out of the tent with nothing. How his father had raged at grandfather regarding the treatment he had received. Joseph knew his grandfather was right, he knew the gods were in the tent, but for the sake of his mother’s life, he kept silent.
Yet this did not protect his mother, for a few years later she died giving birth to his brother Benjamin, making them motherless. What he had feared most had come to pass, because of deceit. It was a lesson his tender heart had never wavered from. Integrity was a jewel above all, so quickly lost, almost impossible to be regained. He vowed at his mother’s grave that he would be truthful from now on. The price of deceit was too high.
How he missed Canaan! His home! Where he belonged! He missed the cooking of his brother’s mothers, the training and teaching of his father and grandfather. He even missed the smell and feel of the sheep! Even the little ones that clambered to follow you over hill and dale. There he had been happy. There he had been free.
It had all been because of his brothers, brothers of his father’s other wives. It was not his fault that they continued to do things that father would not have approved. It was not his fault that they continued to wander and not take care of the things father asked them too. When father asked him to check on his brothers, he did was he was told, and that is when his childhood was taken from him, by his own brothers.
He remembered vividly the day that he came upon them with the sheep, thinking he was among friends, family. Instead like a pack of wolves on an innocent lamb they came upon him. The took his coat, his beautiful coat, and stripped him of it. They threw him in a dried well and left him there with no food or water. This is what made sleep hard to come by, for the prison had the sights, sounds, and feel of that old well, that it was always the last thing he thought of each night, the cold scared place that he had been put in as a boy.
That was not the worst of it. Being in that pit had made him think of how he has been acting, his pride and foolishness fully evident as the light disappeared leaving him in black shadow. He could have taken it as a prank, as older brothers putting their little one in his place. He would have kept his mouth shut from now on, but instead they sold him, like a servant. His own brothers sold him as a slave. He remembered Judah’s face as he took the money. Cold, filled with shame but unwilling to bend, as the Ishmaelite tied him behind one of their camels loaded with spices, balm, and myrrh. Taking him away from everything he knew. He hated remembering that day, and yet the prison walls made it extremely hard to forget.
The journey to Egypt was a blur now, though at the time was excruciating with putting one foot ahead of the other. There had been nothing to make a day different, just try to stay warm in the night and get some sleep, to walking to exhaustion during the day, and maybe water and a bit of food when they stopped.
The day that he came to Egypt had been edged in his memory. The grandeur and lavishness that he saw around him made his special coat of colours seem like rags, and the squalor, hardness, and desperation he saw in masters and slaves’ eyes filled him with fear and panic of what might happen to him. On the way here the regular cadence of travel had left him numb. Now when he was placed into the slave line his heart pounded, and when he was sold it rose to a fever pitch. What was going to happen to him? The preparation for him to be fit for work was degrading and rough. He had never had strangers so close to him before, but it was soon completed.
A slave lives in a state of anxiety every day. You are never told what or why, just what you need to do and if you did not do it properly or quickly punishment would be merited out. This is when his father’s and grandfathers teaching of reading, writing, and speaking Egyptian saved him, as well as his quick mind and talent of figuring out a solution for any problem he saw. They had both taught him well, and his training soon caught the eye of his master Potiphar, the head of Pharaoh’s army. After his master had tested him, he was soon taking care of everything that Potiphar owned. All that the master cared for was what he would eat that day, everything else he placed in Joseph’s hands, and everything Joseph touched prospered.
Yet it was not just the eye of his master that he had caught. Potiphar’s wife had also set her eyes on him, but for a different intent. The moment he became the chief of all that Potiphar owned the women would not leave him be. She wanted him in a way only her husband should give her, and Joseph knew that his success did not come in himself, but because of the God of his fathers. So, he did his work well and learned to avoid her at all costs, or at least have someone with him so that he would never be alone with her.
He knew the price of touching a woman that was not his well. It was another memory edged deep within him. He remembered the uproar when the news came that their beloved sister Dinah had been defiled. It did not matter that the man was a prince and that he would do anything and everything to keep Dinah. He had ruined her, dishonored the family and her brothers were out for blood. He was confused when they spoke so graciously to the father and the boy who had done this terrible thing, as moments later they spoke of destroying the whole household. Joseph stayed out of his brother’s way at that time, their anger was so strong it burned everyone near. Three days later the graciousness that his brothers had shown revealed itself as deceit. For Simeon and Levi went and killed the whole city who had all willingly participated in circumcision, the one requirement that the brothers demanded. He remembered the cries from the city, the sorrow and how his brothers had looted and taken everything for themselves as well as their sister. The experience confirmed that deceit never pays, and that touching a woman dishonorably would bring great trouble upon you, for if nothing would abate a brother’s wrath, what would the wrath of a husband do?
He should have known that it would only be a matter of time. The other slaves and servants gossiped about his master’s wife appetite for young men, that the master did not know about. He stayed out of the conversations, he had too much to do, but he did hear and knew she was trouble. Yet as a slave his only protection was to avoid her. He had already told her that he would not go against his master and his God to her.
He was going from one task to another one day when she cornered him and grabbed his tunic and insisted, he should come with her. There was no one around and she would not let go so he ran. If he had not something would have happened that he would have regretted, but he left his tunic in her hands. This she used as evidence saying that he was the perpetrator, not her. Potiphar was furious and sent him to prison, for a crime that he did not commit, and yet the evidence was stacked against him. For who would believe a slave, even a faithful and good slave over the queen of the household?
Looking back though he saw his faults. The beautiful coat had inflamed the great pride of who he was with the special treatment of his father and grandfather as well as the special dreams. He had believed that he was special, just as his mother used to tell him. A beautiful miracle child, a blessing from heaven. The time in the pit surprised him, the time as a slave in Potiphar house worked slowly on his pride. Yet when he had been feeling comfortable and prideful again with his position the scandal had happened.
This all brought him to now, to the drip, drip, drip of the walls and the work to be done as the head prisoner for the warden, where his pride, arrogance, self-will, and self love had been decimated like sand.
Yet though it all the God of his Fathers had been watching over him. He could have easily been sold to someone else who would have not treated him as well as Potiphar or had seen his worth. With the accusations against him he could have easily lost his life. Yet instead, he was here.
The fear brought to mind the time he saw his father the most fearful, when his uncle Esau was coming to meet them. The one his father had deceived and stole blessing and birthright from. He was coming with an army of four hundred men. His father had fearfully awoken all of family and taken them across the river to protect them, yet he himself stayed on the other side, alone. When dawn came his father joined them limping because of a wound in his hip, yet his eyes had no fear, but peace. He told them that he had wrestled with the Angel of the Lord, that the angel had blessed him and changed his name to Israel. This and the stories his grandfather Isaac told him about himself and his father, Joseph’s great-grandfather Abraham gave the foundation for Joseph faith. Faith in this God of his Fathers who had protected and provided for his family, who had provided for him now.
Why did the Lord give him those dreams all those years ago? Why did He bless all the works of His hands, and still slavery and prison had happened to him? Why did the Lord give him interpretations of those dreams if was not going to use it get him out of here? Had the Lord abandoned him? Evidently not for he still found favor for those he served, and yet he was still here.
Lord what is your plan?
Joseph was the beloved favorite son of Israel who had ten older half brothers. As we read, he was loved and cared for by his father, but because of his dreams of glory as well as his father’s special treatment of him his brothers consumed with jealousy threw him into a pit then sold him to be a slave in Egypt. Even then the Lord was with him. He was brought into the household of Potiphar where he became second in command because of the Lord’s favor.
Even in this he never lost his humility and integrity but saw himself as he truly was, a servant and slave not to just Potiphar but to the Lord God of his Fathers. This protected him from the wiles of Potiphar’s wife. Yet even though he was a man of integrity, Potiphar wife deceit placed him into a bad situation. Twice in his life other people’s sin had placed him to deal with the consequences of their sin, and yet the Lord was with him.
Through all this the Lord was teaching Joseph, about working hard, about integrity, about how power used wrongly could do great damage. That pride, arrogance and self love could lead to a great fall. All these experiences created the character, integrity and experience that Joseph needed for the time the Lord had planned for him.
When Joseph was still safe in his family the Lord gave him a glimpse of the future He had for him, and yet the way to that future was not the way someone would expect. Worldly success is seen as going from peak to peak, yet that is not how the Lord works. He likes to test those He loves to make sure that they will be faithful with the gifts He wishes to give. That the power, authority, blessing and gifts will be used well. Joseph was tested in this, and he passed with flying colours.
All these hardships that Joseph went through had placed him in the right place at the right time. Without his brothers selling him he would not have been in Egypt. Without Potiphar’s wife accusing him he would not have been in prison to meet the cupbearer. Without the cupbearer forgetting Joseph he would not have been in prison just when Pharaoh needed him when he had the dreams, which gave Joseph enough time to use the seven years of plenty to store up food for the seven years of famine that was to come.
It was also the Lord’s way that He cared for Joseph family, for since Joseph was sent on ahead when the famine hit his brothers came to buy grain. After testing his brothers, he revealed himself to them, forgave them and bid them to bring the whole family to Egypt to be provided for though the famine and beyond. The very words that Joseph said to his brothers were “You planned for me evil, but the Lord used it for good.”
The Lord had great plans for you, and the extremely hard situation that you are in may be giving you the skills and character you need for the future. The position you are in could be positioning you for the next step in His plan. He loves to exalt the humble and humble the proud. The humble know who they truly are, and when He exalt them, they exalt Him for what He has done. The Lord has great and good plans for those who love Him, for those who are called according to His purpose. He has never left you nor forsaken you. What others have done to you may have been great evil, but God loves you and can use all those things for your good, to build you up into an amazing person that He can exalt for the betterment of those around you and for the Glory of His Name.
To read the story of Joseph for yourself you can find it in Genesis 30, 33,37, 39-50 of the Bible