Psalm 105:17
He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Repeats Joseph’s own explanation, twice given, of the ways of Providence in his life (Genesis 45:5; Genesis 1:20).

105:8-23 Let us remember the Redeemer's marvellous works, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth. Though true Christians are few number, strangers and pilgrims upon earth, yet a far better inheritance than Canaan is made sure to them by the covenant of God; and if we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit, none can do us any harm. Afflictions are among our mercies. They prove our faith and love, they humble our pride, they wean us from the world, and quicken our prayers. Bread is the staff which supports life; when that staff is broken, the body fails and sinks to the earth. The word of God is the staff of spiritual life, the food and support of the soul: the sorest judgment is a famine of hearing the word of the Lord. Such a famine was sore in all lands when Christ appeared in the flesh; whose coming, and the blessed effect of it, are shadowed forth in the history of Joseph. At the appointed time Christ was exalted as Mediator; all the treasures of grace and salvation are at his disposal, perishing sinners come to him, and are relieved by him.He sent a man before them - That is, He so ordered it by his providence that a man - Joseph - was sent before the family of Jacob into Egypt, that he might make arrangements for their reception and preservation. The whole matter was as God had sent him, or had commanded him to go. And yet it was brought about as the result of a series of acts of the most wicked character; by the envy and the hatred of his brethren; by their guilt and hardness of heart in proposing at first to put him to death, and then in their arrangements for selling him to hopeless slavery; by their plan so to dispose of him that their father might never hear of him again, and that they might be troubled with him no more. God did not cause these acts. He did not command them; he did not approve of them. And yet, since they did occur, and since Joseph's brethren were so wicked, God made use of these things to accomplish his own benevolent purposes, and to carry out his great designs. So he makes use of the passions of wicked people at all times to execute his plans (compare the notes at Isaiah 10:5-7; see also Psalm 76:10; and Genesis 50:20); and so he will do to the end of time. People are free in their wickedness; but God is equally free in frustrating their schemes, and overruling their designs for the accomplishment of his own purposes.

Who was sold for a servant - For a slave; Genesis 37:28, Genesis 37:36; Genesis 39:1.

17-21. Joseph was sent of God (Ge 45:5). He sent, by the direction of his secret providence. He sent a man before them, even Joseph,.... Who, though but a lad of seventeen years of age when he was sold into Egypt, yet was a grown man when he stood before Pharaoh, and interpreted his dreams of plenty and famine to come; and advised him to lay up store in the years of plenty, against the years of famine; by which he appeared to be a wise man, as the Targum here calls him; see Genesis 37:3. Him God sent before into Egypt; before Jacob and his sons went down thither, to make provision for them, to support them in the time of famine, and preserve their lives. God is said to send him, though his brethren sold him out of envy; there being such a plain hand of Providence in this matter; and which is observed by Joseph himself over and over again, Genesis 45:5, in which he was a type of Christ, in whom all provisions are made, and by whom they are communicated unto his people; who all receive out of his fulness, and grace for grace.

Who was sold for a servant: either "to a servant": as to Potiphar, as Aben Ezra, who was a servant of Pharaoh's; or rather to be a servant, as Joseph was in his house: he was sold for twenty pieces of silver, as Christ, his antitype, for thirty; the price of a servant, Genesis 37:28, and who not only appeared in the form of a servant, but did the work of one: and a faithful and righteous servant he was to his Father, and on the behalf of his people.

He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. The famine in the land of Canaan (Genesis 41:54) was the instrument which He summoned to effect His purpose.

he brake &c.] So Leviticus 26:26. Bread is the staff, i.e. support, of life (Isaiah 3:1; cp. Psalm 104:15).

17. He had sent a man before them;

Joseph was sold for a slave.

Before the famine came, God had sent Joseph into Egypt to prepare the way for their migration thither. So Joseph himself says, “God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5; Genesis 45:7; cp. Psalm 50:20), recognising that the hand of God had permitted the cruelty of his brothers in order to effect His purpose.Verse 17. - He sent a man before them, even Joseph. This is the real sense, though it is not fully expressed in the Hebrew. On the providential sending of Joseph into Egypt, see his own words, "God did send me before you, to preserve life" (Genesis 45:5). Who was sold for a servant (comp. Genesis 33:28, 36; Genesis 39:1). The poet now begins himself to do that to which he encourages Israel. Jahve is Israel's God: His righteous rule extends over the whole earth, whilst His people experience His inviolable faithfulness to His covenant. יהוה in Psalm 105:7 is in apposition to הוּא, for the God who bears this name is as a matter of course the object of the song of praise. זכר is the perfect of practically pledges certainty (cf. Psalm 111:5, where we find instead the future of confident prospect). The chronicler has זכרוּ instead (lxx again something different: μνημονεύωμεν); but the object is not the demanding but the promissory side of the covenant, so that consequently it is not Israel's remembering but God's that is spoken of. He remembers His covenant in all time to come, so that exile and want of independence as a state are only temporary, exceptional conditions. צוּה has its radical signification here, to establish, institute, Psalm 111:9. לאלף דּור (in which expression דור is a specifying accusative) is taken from Deuteronomy 7:9. And since דּבר is the covenant word of promise, it can be continued אשׁר כּרת; and Haggai 2:5 (vid., Khler thereon) shows that אשׁר is not joined to בריתו over Psalm 105:8. וּשׁבוּעתו, however, is a second object to זכר (since דּבר with what belongs to it as an apposition is out of the question). It is the oath on Moriah (Genesis 22:16) that is meant, which applied to Abraham and his seed. לישׂחק (chronicler ליצחק), as in Amos 7:9; Jeremiah 33:26. To זכר is appended ויּעמרדה; the suffix, intended as neuter, points to what follows, viz., this, that Canaan shall be Israel's hereditary land. From Abraham and Isaac we come to Jacob-Israel, who as being the father of the twelve is the twelve-tribe nation itself that is coming into existence; hence the plural can alternate with the singular in Psalm 105:11. את־ארץ כּנען (chronicler, without the את) is an accusative of the object, and חבל נחלתכם accusative of the predicate: the land of Canaan as the province of your own hereditary possession measured out with a measuring line (Psalm 78:55).
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