A Servant of Prisoners

A servant of prisoners. Think on those four words for a minute or so.


Are you finished thinking?

The closing section of Genesis is fourteen chapters long – this is Genesis 37 through Genesis 50. It is surprisingly titled The Generations of Jacob. It is surprising because Jacob has very little to do with it. It is more surprising to learn that Jacob has thirteen kids and these fourteen chapters have very little to do with them. These closing chapters are about Joseph (Genesis 37, Genesis 39 through Genesis 50) and Judah (just Genesis 38).

In Genesis 40 we find Joseph in prison. He has been there not as a guest but as a prisoner! He has been there for quite some time. But in Genesis 39 we learn that he quickly gained favor in the eyes of the warden. He is more than an ideal prisoner, he is an extraordinary prisoner! The whole prison is put in his charge. Joseph is a prisoner in charge. He has made the warden’s job so easy, so much so that he loves being the warden!

But there is Genesis 40. And in Genesis 40, the prison population grows by two – a cupbearer and a baker, but no candlestick maker are placed there. And Joseph is not in charge. Instead, he is placed in their charge! Joseph is assigned to attend to them. In other words, Joseph is given as a servant to prisoners. Can you imagine this? A servant of prisoners.

But here is the kicker. Joseph serves well. Joseph thus far is continually humbled, from the pit to the prison which he calls another pit. And throughout it all he serves well.

A servant of prisoners. It made me think of the saying, “the best place to serve God is where he sets you down.” Leading to Genesis 40, four times in Genesis 39 we are told that the Lord, Yahweh, was with Joseph. So, Joseph was a servant of prisoners and he served well. Does it have anything to do with the glorious truth that the best place to serve God is wherever he sets you down? By the way, to the prisoners Joseph served, he directed their very thoughts to the most high God.


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