Excerpt from St. Ephraim the Syrian's "Sermon on Joseph the Most Virtuous"
translation by Fr. Ephraim Lash (http://anastasis.org.uk/Joseph.pdf)
"For just as the Lord * was sent to us
from the Father’s bosom, * to save us all,
So the youth Joseph * from Jacob’s bosom
was sent to enquire * about his own brothers.
And just as Joseph’s * harsh brothers,
as soon as they saw * him approaching,
began to devise * evil against him,
though he was bringing * them peace
from their father, * so the Jews also,
ever hard of heart, * as soon as they saw
the Saviour, said, * ‘This is the heir,
let us kill him, * and all will be ours’.
And just as Joseph’s * brothers said,
‘Let us do away with him, * and let us be set free
of his dreams’, * in the same way too
the Jews said, * ‘Come, let us kill
him and lay hold * on his inheritance’.
Joseph’s brothers, * while eating,
sold him, * slaying him in intent.
In the same way too * the abominable Jews,
while eating the Passover, * slew the Saviour.
The descent of Joseph * into Egypt signifies
the descent to earth * of our Saviour.
And as Joseph * within the marriage chamber
trampled down all * the strength of sin,
putting on the bright * prizes of victory,
against the Egyptian woman, * his mistress,
so too the Lord, * the Saviour of our souls,
by his own right hand, * descending into Hell,
destroyed there * all the power
of the dread * and near invincible tyrant.
When Joseph * had conquered sin
he was put in prison * until the hour of his crowning;
so too the Lord, * that he might take away
every sin of the world, * was placed in a grave.
Joseph in prison * spent two whole years,
passing his time * in great freedom;
while the Lord, * as powerful, remained
in the tomb for three days, * not undergoing corruption.
Joseph, on Pharao’s order, * was brought out
graciously from prison, * as a true type,
when he easily interpreted * the meaning of the dreams,
indicating the abundance of grain * that was going to be;
while our Lord [Jesus Christ] * was raised from the dead
by his own power, * despoiling Hell,
offering to the Father * our liberation,
proclaiming resurrection * and everlasting life.
Joseph took his seat * in Pharao’s chariot,
having received authority * over the whole of Egypt;
while our Saviour, * king before the ages,
ascending into heaven * on a cloud of light,
took his seat with glory * at the Father’s right hand,
above the Cherubim, * as Only-begotten Son.
When ruling * over Egypt, Joseph
having received authority * against his enemies,
his brothers * were brought willingly
before the tribunal * of the one who had died through them;
they were brought to prostrate * with fear and trembling
before the one who had been sold * by them to death;
and with fear they prostrated * before Joseph,
whom they had not wanted * to be king over them.
But Joseph, recognising * his brothers,
revealed them as murderers * by a single word;
but they, when they realised, * stood dumbfounded
in great shame, * not daring to utter,
not having anything * at all to say in their defence,
knowing exactly * their own sin
at the moment * when they sold him;
while he, who seemed * to have been destroyed by them in Hades,
was suddenly found * to be ruling over them.
So too on that * fearful day,
when the Lord comes * on the clouds of the air,
he takes his seat on the throne * of his kingdom,
and all his enemies * are brought bound
by fearsome Angels * before the judgement seat,
all those who did not want * him to rule over them.
For the lawless Jews * thought then,
that if he were crucified, * he would die as a human;
the wretches not being persuaded * that God had come,
for salvation, * to save our souls.
Just as Joseph * said quite openly
to his brothers, * making them fear and tremble,
‘I am Joseph, * whom you sold [into slavery],
but now I rule over you, * though you did not want it’.
So too the Lord * shows the Cross
in an image formed of light * to those who crucified him,
and they recognize * the Cross itself
and the Son of God * who was crucified by them.
From the Matins of Holy Monday: