John Calvin on Joseph’s Sale into Slavery

Calvin is such an interesting exegete and does such a fine job of application in his exposition of the Joseph story.  I was struck by this line today in his commentary on Genesis 37:

Thus the promise of God, which had exalted [Joseph] to honour, almost plunges him into the grave.  We, also, who have received the gratuitous adoption of God amidst many sorrows, experience the same thing.  For, from the time that Christ gathers us into his flock, God permits us to be cast down in various ways, so that we seem nearer to hell than heaven.  Therefore, let the example of Joseph be fixed in our minds, that we be not disquieted when many crosses spring forth to us from the root of God’s favour.  For I have before showed, and the thing itself clearly testifies, that in Joseph was adumbrated [foreshadowed], what was afterwards more fully exhibited in Christ, the Head of the Church, in order that each member may form itself to the imitation of his example.

Commentary on Genesis, vol. 2, pg. 266. (Note: page number for the Baker Books reprint, 2003.)

R. Andrew Compton
Christ Reformed Church (URCNA)
Anaheim, CA