Joseph As A Statesman -- By: James Monroe

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 054:215 (Jul 1897)
Article: Joseph As A Statesman
Author: James Monroe


Joseph As A Statesman

Hon. James Monroe

So general has been the interest, in our country, during the past few months, in the discussion of the merits of public men and public questions, from the standpoint of economic policy, that it may not be unsuitable to consider, in this place, the Bible idea of what fits a man for responsible trust under government. And as the concrete is not only more attractive, to most minds, than the abstract, but may even give us clearer views of abstract principles than we could attain without it, I have chosen for my subject, Joseph as a Statesman.

I. In developing this theme, let us consider, first, some of the qualities which Joseph had exhibited before he was chosen to be ruler over Egypt, and see whether they were such as to justify his appointment. Afterwards we will inquire how far our ideal of a statesman is met by the character and ability which he displayed when actually in power as Pharaoh’s prime minister.

1. To begin with the preparatory qualities, it is evident, in the first place, that he had been endowed by nature with remarkable talents for administration. He was a born organizer and manager. He was so made that wherever he went he must put things to rights. For disorder, unless they prevented him by force, he must substitute order; for embezzlement and fraud, uprightness and open dealing; for irresponsible recklessness, strict accountability; for bad and confused accounts, those good and me-

thodical; for waste and extravagance, economy and thrift; for disobedience and eye-service, obedience and fidelity; for dull-eyed indolence, bright-eyed industry; and for all slatternly and dirty methods, those of cleanness and scrupulous care. When one of the Greek philosophers was taken prisoner in battle, and exposed for sale as a slave, by the enemy in the market-place, he was asked what he could do. “Proclaim,” he replied, “that now there is an opportunity for one who would like to buy a master.”

When Potiphar bought Joseph he bought a master—at least a great manager—without having it announced to him beforehand. When Joseph came into his house, he began taking charge of its interests, and every one gave place to him. Potiphar made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house and in the field. So perfect did his confidence in Joseph become, that it is said he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he knew not aught he had, save the bread which he did eat.

When Joseph was sent to prison, on a false charge, this administrative ability was again displayed. So ...

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