By Mary Vee
The sun baked Joseph's skin. Since his brothers stole his coat of many colors he only had a thin tunic to wear. Sweat dripped down his forehead and into his eyes. He tried to blink it away. Instead his vision blurred. He tugged at the ropes holding him prisoner at the back of an Ishmaelite caravan. "If only I could wipe the sweat off my face."
"You best be quiet." Another slave whispered to him. "They catch you talking and they'll rope your neck, or beat you."
Joseph looked up and saw an Ishmaelite glaring back at him. His foot smacked into a rock causing him to stumble. He bit his tongue to keep from crying out.
Joseph thoughts swirled from memories of being thrown into a deep pit by his brothers to eating juicy figs with his father and mother to freezing the night before while trying sleep without a blanket on the cold desert sand. How did he get here? Where was he going? What would happen to him?
His stomach growled. The Ishmaelites gave him only a small piece of bread and a cup of water for supper. Breakfast wasn't any better. He closed his eyes and pictured the roasted lamb served a few nights ago. Mother made her special broth and fresh bread to go along with the meat. Joseph signed. I thought I was too full to ever eat again.
The caravan came to a stop. Joesph raised his elbow to wipe sweat on his upper arm then blinked the bright sun from his eyes. He for forced his tongues to find moisture to lick his lips. "So thirsty."
One of the Ishmaelites pressed his way toward Joseph. He raised his whip. "Did I hear one of you slaves speak?" Joseph's eyes went wide and he shook his head. The man lowered his whip. "I suppose you're thirsty?" Joseph and the other slaves lowered their heads. The man laughed. "Well, we can't have you dieing of thirst, now can we. Can't hardly sell you for a good price that way?" He guffawed and reached for his water skin. "Take a drink. Not much, mind you." He poured some water in Joseph's mouth. "By tomorrow, you'll fetch me a good price, no doubt."
Joseph held the the water in his mouth to wash the mucky film away. He swallowed the water and looked toward the sky. Thank you God for the drink.
The next day the caravan entered Egypt. Joseph passed noisy marketplaces filled with merchants selling food, blankets, and jewelry. Musicians played strange music and the people wore strange cloths. Joseph was so busy looking around he hadn't noticed that the caravan stopped. He walked right into the back of a camel.
An Ishmaelite untied his ropes and grabbed the end. He tied the slave's ropes together and held his whip high. "Try to escape and you'll regret it." He led Joseph and the other slaves to a platform. "Stand in a straight line."
A second Ishmaelite raised his hands before the crowd. "We have collected the finest slaves to serve you. We've searched far and wide to bring you the best. Look here at their muscles." Someone pushed Joseph forward. "Now here is fine slave. Strong, healthy. What is your bid?"
A well dressed man pushed his way to the front. "There will be no bidding. I will buy him for Potifer." He handed the slave trader a bag of coins and signaled for Joseph's release.
The Ishmaelite opened the pouch and nodded. "Release the slave to him."
Joseph kept his eyes toward the ground and stumbled forward. The well dressed man grabbed the rope and led Joseph through the marketplace toward the edge of the city. At the end of the street was a home large enough to be a palace. The man led Joseph through the gate to a small building. "Akhom." An older man opened the door. "Take this slave and clean him up. Prepare him to work in Potifer's house."
Joseph's trip to Egypt would not be the kind most people would want to take for a vacation. He was tired, thirsty, hungry, cold, and hot. His feet and arms hurt. He learned quickly to not speak. Yet in the whole trip, the Bible never tells us that he grumbled against his brothers.
Why didn't Joseph grumble? In our story what did he thank God for? How was he able to thank God when everything seemed to be bad? What can we learn from this story?