“Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.” Genesis 39:20
Prison is a place of humiliation and of shame. It is peopled by those who are under accusation of crime, or who are awaiting the sentence of outraged law. As such, the very name suggests ideas of infamy, and chains, and death. The inmates are the actual or suspected perpetrators of evil, whose name is a reproach—whom society casts out—who are as the noxious weed, which must be rooted from the soil, and as the plague-spot, which it is peril to approach.
But who is the prisoner, into whose cell these words admit us? Within these walls of guilt we find a guiltless man. The blameless Joseph is here immured. Without offense, he is wronged as an offender—without transgression, he is numbered with transgressors.
Reader! the pure delight, the sanctifying feast of Scripture, consists in this. In every page the voice of Jesus is heard—at almost every turn the image of Jesus is discerned. It is clearly so in the dungeon-scene before us. Joseph in custody, reviled for iniquity which he did not commit, foreshadows Jesus, who, without sin, is made sin for us. Yes, He for whom the heaven of heavens is no worthy throne, is clothed for us in prison-garb, and tastes for us the prison-shame.