The Dreams of a King - P1
The men who bought Joseph from his brothers were called Ishmaelites, because they belonged to the family of Ishmael, who, you remember, was the son of Hagar, the servant of Sarah. These men carried Joseph southward over the plain which lies beside the great sea on the west of Canaan; and after many days they brought Joseph to Egypt. How strange it must have seemed to the boy who had lived in tents to see the great river Nile, and the cities thronged with people, and the temples, and the mighty pyramids!
The Ishmaelites sold Joseph as a slave to a man named Potiphar, who was an officer in the army of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Joseph was a beautiful boy, and cheerful and willing in his spirit, and able in all that he undertook; so that his master Potiphar became very friendly to him, and after a time, he placed Joseph in charge of his house, and everything in it. For some years Joseph continued in the house of Potiphar, a slave in name, but in reality the master of all his affairs, and ruler over his fellow-servants.
But Potiphar's wife, who at first was very friendly to Joseph, afterward became his enemy, because Joseph would not do wrong to please her. She told her husband falsely, that Joseph had done a wicked deed. Her husband believed her, and was very angry at Joseph, and put him in the prison with those who had been sent to that place for breaking the laws of the land. How hard it was for Joseph to be charged with a crime, when he had done no wrong, and to be thrust into a dark prison among wicked people!
But Joseph had faith in God, that at some time all would come out right; and in the prison he was cheerful, and kind, and helpful, as he had always been. The keeper of the prison saw that Joseph was not like the other men around him, and he was kind to Joseph. In a very little while, Joseph was placed in charge of all his fellow-prisoners, and took care of them, just as he had taken care of everything in Potiphar's house. The keeper of the prison scarcely looked into the prison at all; for he had confidence in Joseph, that he would be faithful and wise in doing the work given to him. Joseph did right, and served God, and God blessed Joseph in everything.
While Joseph was in the prison, two men were sent there by the king of Egypt, because he was displeased with them. One was the king's chief butler, who served the king with wine; the other was the chief baker, who served him with bread. These two men were under Joseph's care; and Joseph waited on them, for they were men of rank.
One morning, when Joseph came into the room where the butler and the baker were kept, he found them looking quite sad. Joseph said to them:
"Why do you look so sad today?" Joseph was cheerful and happy in his spirit; and he wished others to be happy also, even in prison.