As sometimes happens, men of evil intent unwittingly put into place the plan of our Heavenly Father. As for the events in Joseph’s life, “God meant it unto good.” (Gen. 50:20)
The 20th century author Thomas Mann was so intrigued with the story of Joseph that he wrote five books about him. A theme in his book Joseph in Egypt [pp. 1-2] is that the Ishmaelites who purchased Joseph and took him to Egypt were only playing their part in a plan designed of God, which Joseph recognized. For example, in the opening pages of the book Joseph asks, “Where are you taking me?” Their answer is, “Thou art by chance with us, because our father hath purchased thee from harsh masters, and thou goest with us withersoever we go.” Joseph responds: “I only meant: whither doth God lead me, in that I go with you? . . . Journey whither you will and on your own affairs . . . so that you Ishmaelites do indeed journey quite independently and according to your own ends . . . whither you will, but besides that you are the means and tool . . . that I arrive at my goal.” . . .
Truly Joseph’s story is one that teaches the truth that “all things work together for good to them who love God.” (Romans 8:28) For this reason alone, the similarity of Joseph to Jesus Christ is significant – one to be studied and taught. — Church News, July 30, 1994, p. 12