Then there passed by Midianites merchants; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit…
And they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit. As a compromise Joseph had been thrown into a pit. His brothers at first intended to murder him. Their intention was almost as bad as a murder. The Scriptures tell us that "he that hateth his brother is a murderer." And one writer says, "Many a man who has not taken a brother's life, by indulgence of malevolence, is in the sight of God a more sinful man than many who have expiated their guilt on a scaffold." Joseph only was the gainer in that life was spared. To the brothers deep guilt appertained. They threw him into a pit to perish, thinking possibly to lessen guilt by avoiding the actual shedding of blood.
I. WE MUST EXPECT TO FIND PITFALLS IN LIFE. To Joseph the snare came suddenly. He was forced in. He had acted as he believed rightly in revealing the wicked deeds of his brethren, and he suffers for it. His brothers seize the first opportunity of bringing reprisals upon him for what they considered his officiousness. When alone they seized him. They were ten men to one stripling. Coward brothers! "In with him," they say. In the pit's depth is security, in its dryness speedy death. The pitfalls into which many stumble or into which they are drawn are such as these: circumstances being altogether unfavorable in life; or severe and overpowering temptations to some special sin, as intemperance, passion, or lust; or greed, or ambition, or spiritual pride. Debt, loss of character, and despondency are also deep pitfalls. If we come to love evil for itself, that is a very deep pit, and it adjoins that state which is hopeless. Many are drawn into these pits by carelessness, indifference, and neglect, while others are so entangled by circumstances and conditions of birth that the wonder is that they ever escape.
II. THERE IS OFTEN DELIVERANCE FROM THE DEEPEST PITFALLS. To Joseph it came at the right moment. It came in response to earnest desire. The brothers thought to make a profit by his deliverance, but God was saving him through their avarice and timidity. Joseph was helpless. His brothers had to lift him out. We must feel our helplessness, and then Christ is sure to deliver us from the pit of sin and despair. The brothers of Joseph had low and mercenary aims in lifting up their brother; Jesus is all love and self-sacrifice in the effort to save us. Nothing but the long line of his finished work and fervent love could reach souls. When brought up from the pit we shall not be inclined to praise ourselves. We shall ascribe all the glory to him who "brought us up out of the deep pit and fairy clay, and placed our feet upon a rock, and established our goings." - H.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.