JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN.
: Old Testament Stories
How wonderful is the way in which God works for those who fear Him!
The history of Joseph teaches us this truth.
Joseph had one younger and ten elder brothers. The name of the younger
brother was Benjamin. Jacob was the father of them all; and Rachel was
the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob loved Joseph more than all
his other sons, and made him a coat of many colours; but his elder
brothers hated him
and one day, when far away from home, proposed to
kill him. They cast him into a pit instead, and afterwards sold him as
a slave to some merchants who were travelling from Gilead to Egypt.
When they returned to their father, they took Joseph's coat of many
colours, which they had dipped in blood, and brought it to Jacob,
saying: "This have we found: know now if it be thy son's coat or no."
Jacob knew the coat; and thought Joseph had been killed by some wild
beast, and mourned for him greatly.
The merchants carried Joseph into Egypt, and sold him to one of the
king's officers, named Potiphar. But, though a slave, he was not
forsaken by God. No, God was with him, and made all that he did to
prosper. His master placed him over all his house, but his mistress
wanted him to commit a great sin. When he refused, she accused him
unjustly to his master, and Potiphar had him cast into prison.
God was with Joseph in the prison, and gave him such favour with the
keeper that he set him over all the other prisoners. Among them were
two; one who had been the king's butler, and the other his baker. Both
had dreams which troubled them much, but Joseph was enabled by God to
interpret their dreams for them. By-and-by Pharaoh, the king, dreamed
a dream. He was standing on the banks of a river, and saw seven fat
cows come up out of the water and feed in a meadow; afterwards seven
very lean cows came up and devoured the fat ones. Then Pharaoh awoke;
but he dreamed again, and saw that seven very poor ears of corn
devoured seven that were full and good. In the morning he was greatly
troubled. What could the dreams mean? He called for the magicians and
the wise men, but they could not tell. At last it was told him how
Joseph had interpreted the dreams in the prison; so he sent for
Joseph, who came from the prison, and stood before the king.
Pharaoh said, "I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can
interpret it; and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand
a dream to interpret it." Joseph answered, "It is not in me: God shall
give Pharaoh an answer of peace." Then Joseph told Pharaoh that the
dreams had been sent by God, to show him that after seven years of
great plenty had passed there would come seven years of famine. He
also advised Pharaoh to lay up corn in cities during the years of
plenty, so that the people might be fed during the years of famine.
Pharaoh saw what great wisdom God had given Joseph, and made him ruler
over all the land of Egypt. The corn was stored up; and after the
years of plenty the famine came.
During all this time Jacob and his sons had been dwelling in Canaan;
where, through the famine, they were now in want of food. So Jacob
sent his sons to Egypt to buy corn. The Bible tells us, in the book of
Genesis, how they came to Egypt, and all that befell them there; and
how at last Joseph, the ruler of the mighty kingdom, made himself
known to them as the brother they had cruelly sold for a slave. But he
forgave them, and sent to fetch his father Jacob, saying that all were
to come into Egypt, where he would provide for them.
Jacob could not at first believe the good news his sons brought; but
when he saw the waggons which Joseph had sent to carry him and the
little ones, he said, "It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive; I
will go and see him before I die." So he journeyed to Egypt, with his
sons, and all that he had; and as he drew near Joseph went to meet
him. When Joseph met his father, he fell on his neck, and wept there.
And Jacob said, "Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because
thou art yet alive." He was so full of joy that it seemed to him there
was nothing else worth living for. Afterwards Joseph presented his
father to Pharaoh; and Jacob blessed Pharaoh; who allowed him and his
family to dwell in the land of Goshen.