The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him; but his bow abode in strength; and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel.”- Gen. 49:23,24
Those who have borne the gyves and fetters, those who have felt that they were not free men, that they had not liberty, might tell how sorely the archers grieved (Joseph) when they shot at him the arrows of their envy. He became a slave, sold from his country, dragged from all he loved. Farewell to home and all its pleasures-farewell to a father’s smiles and tender cares. He must be a slave, and toil where the slave’s task-master makes him; he must be stripped in the streets, he must be beaten, he must be scourged, he must be reduced from the man to the animal, from the free man to the slave. Truly the archers sorely shot at him.
(M)y brethren, do you hope, if you are the Lord’s Josephs, that you shall escape envy? I tell you, nay; that green-eyed monster, envy, lives in London as well as elsewhere, and he creeps into God’s church, moreover. Oh! it is hardest of all, to be envied by one’s brethren. If the devil hates us, we can bear it; if the foes of God’s truth speak ill of us, we buckle up our harness, and say, “Away, away, to the conflict.” But when the friends within the house slander us; when brethren who should uphold us, turn (to be) our foes; and when they try to tread down their younger brethren; then, sirs, there is some meaning in the passage, “The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him.” But, blessed be God’s name, it is sweet to be informed that “his bow abode in strength.” None of you can be the people of God without provoking envy; and the better you are, the more you will be hated…But fear not; you have naught to do with what man shall say of you. If God loves you, man will hate you; if God honors you, man will dishonor you. But recollect, could ye wear chains of iron for Christ’s sake, ye should wear chains of gold in heaven; could ye have rings of burning iron round your waists, ye should have your brow rimmed with gold in glory; for blessed are ye when men shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for Christ’s name’s sake; for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.~ C.H. Spurgeon