“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well” (Genesis 49:22).
God made Joseph fruitful through affliction. Jacob refers to this fruitfulness of Joseph while blessing him; “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall” (Gen. 49:22). How did Joseph become fruitful? When he was a young lad his own brothers hated him because he refused their company and would not be a partner with them in their bad habits. Their father Jacob loved Joseph, so they were jealous of him. They wanted to kill him, but ultimately they sold him as a slave. Thus he was brought to Egypt and he became a slave in the house of Potiphar. Here, he was falsely accused and put into prison and forgotten entirely for two years. These afflictions lasted for about fifteen years together but when he was thirty, the Lord lifted him up and brought him into favour with Pharaoh. These fifteen years of affliction were not wasted. God used them to prepare Joseph for a very high position. Joseph was able to supply food not only to Egypt, but to other nations as well, throughout the seven years of famine.
In Psalm 105:16-22, we read how Joseph suffered as a slave and then as a prisoner. Finally he was set free by the king and made “lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom”. Generally officers become corrupt and dishonest. No doubt Pharaoh was not able to trust his officers because of their corruption and dishonesty. So he gave full authority to Joseph to punish the corrupt princes and senators. These men must have been rich and powerful. How was Joseph to bring them under discipline? It was a very difficult task, but Joseph had been disciplined by his afflictions, and he was able to teach wisdom to these proud and stubborn men. To qualify Joseph for such a difficult task God had to take him through fifteen years of suffering.