HOW JOSEPH'S DREAM CAME TRUE
Genesis xli: 46, to xlii: 38.
HEN Joseph was made ruler over the land of Egypt, he did
just as he had always done. It was not Joseph's way to
sit down and rest, and enjoy himself, and make others
wait on him. He found his work at once, and began to do
it faithfully and thoroughly. He went out over all the
land of Egypt, and saw how rich and abundant were the
fields of grain, giving much more than the people could
use for their own needs. He told the people not to
waste it, but to save it for the coming time of need.
PLOWING IN BIBLE TIME
And he called upon the people to give him for the king,
one bushel of grain out of every five, to be stored up.
The people brought their grain, after taking for
themselves as much as they needed; and Joseph stored it
up in great store-houses in the cities; so much at last
that no one could keep account of it.
The king of Egypt gave a wife to Joseph from the noble
young women of his kingdom. Her name was Asenath; and
to Joseph and his wife God gave two sons. The oldest
son he named Manasseh, a word which means, "making to
 "For," said Joseph, "God has made me forget all my
troubles, and my toil as a slave."
The second son he named Ephraim, a word that means,
"Because," said Joseph, "God has not only made the land
fruitful, but he has made me fruitful in the land of my
The seven years of plenty soon passed by, and then came
the years of need. In all the lands around people were
hungry, and there was no food for them to eat; but in
the land of Egypt everybody had enough. Most of the
people soon used up the grain that they had saved: many
had saved none at all, and they all cried to the king
to help them.
"Go to Joseph," said King Pharaoh, "and do whatever he
tells you to do."
Then the people came to Joseph, and Joseph opened the
store-houses, and sold to the people all the grain that
they wished to buy. And not only the people of Egypt
came to buy grain, but people of all the lands around
as well, for there was great need and famine
And the need was as great in the land of Canaan, where
Jacob lived, as in other lands. Jacob was rich in
flocks and cattle, and gold and silver; but his fields
gave no grain, and there was danger that his family and
his people would starve. And Jacob,—who was now
called Israel also,—heard that there was food in
Egypt, and he said to his sons:
"Why do you look at each other, asking what to do to
find food? I have been told that there is grain in
Egypt. Go down
 to that land, and take money with you, and buy grain,
so that we may have bread, and may live."
Then the ten older brothers of Joseph went down to the
land of Egypt. They rode upon asses, for horses were
not much used in those times, and they brought money
with them. But Jacob would not let Benjamin, Joseph's
younger brother, go with them, for he was all the more
dear to his father, now that Joseph was no longer with
him; and Jacob feared that harm might come to him.
Then Joseph's brothers came to Joseph to buy food. They
did not know him, grown up to be a man, dressed as a
prince, and seated on a throne. Joseph was now nearly
forty years old, and it had been almost twenty-three
years since they had sold him. But Joseph knew them
all, as soon as he saw them. He resolved to be sharp
and stern with them, not because he hated them, but
because he wished to see what their spirit was, and
whether they were as selfish, and cruel, and wicked as
they had been in other days.
They came before him, and bowed, and with their faces
to the ground. Then, no doubt, Joseph thought of the
dream that had come to him while he was a boy, of his
brothers' sheaves bending down around his sheaf. He
spoke to them as a stranger, as if he did not
understand their language, and he had their words
explained to him in the language of Egypt.
"Who are you? And from what place do you come?" said
Joseph, in a harsh, stern manner.
They answered him, very meekly, "We have come from the
land of Canaan to buy food."
"No," said Joseph, "I know what you have come for. You
have come as spies, to see how helpless the land is, so
that you can bring an army against us, and make war on
"No, no," said Joseph's ten brothers, "we are no spies,
we are the sons of one man, who lives in the land of
Canaan; and we have come for food, because we have none
"You say you are the sons of one man, who is your
father? Is he living? Have you any more brothers? Tell
me all about yourselves."
And they said, "Our father is an old man in Canaan. We
did have a younger brother, but he was lost; and we
 brother still, who is the youngest of all, but his
father could not spare him to come with us."
"No," said Joseph, "you are not good, honest men. You
are spies. I shall put you all in prison, except one of
you; and he shall go and bring that youngest brother of
yours; and when I see him, then I will believe that you
tell the truth."
So Joseph put all the ten men in prison, and kept them
under guard for three days; then he sent for them
again. They did not know that he could understand their
language, and they said to each other, while Joseph
heard, but pretended not to hear:
"This has come upon us because of the wrong that we did
to our brother Joseph, more than twenty years ago. We
heard him cry, and plead with us, when we threw him
into the pit, and we would not have mercy on him. God
is giving us only what we have deserved."
And Reuben, who had tried to save Joseph, said, "Did I
not tell you not to harm the boy? And you would not
listen to me. God is bringing our brother's blood upon
When Joseph heard this, his heart was touched, for he
saw that his brothers were really sorry for the wrong
that they had done him. He turned away from them, so
that they could not see his face, and he wept. Then he
turned again to them, and spoke roughly as before, and
"This I will do, for I serve God, I will let you all go
home, except one man. One of you I will shut up in
prison; but the rest of you can go home, and take food
for your people. And you must come back, and bring your
youngest brother with you, and I shall know then that
you have spoken the truth."
Then Joseph gave orders, and his servants seized one of
his brothers, whose name was Simeon, and bound him in
their sight, and took him away to prison. And he
ordered his servants to fill the men's sacks with
grain, and to put every man's money back into the sack
before it was tied up, so that they would find the
money as soon as they opened the sack. Then the men
loaded their asses with the sacks of grain, and started
to go home, leaving their brother Simeon a prisoner.
When they stopped on the way to feed their asses, one
of the brothers opened his sack, and there he found his
money lying on the top of the grain. He called out to
his brothers, "See,
 is my money given again to me!" And they were
frightened; but they did not dare to go back to Egypt,
and meet the stern ruler of the land. They went home,
and told their old father all that had happened to
them; and how their brother Simeon was in prison, and
must stay there until they should return, bringing
Benjamin with them.
When they opened their sacks of grain, there, in the
mouth of each sack, was the money that they had given;
and they were filled with fear. Then they spoke of
going again to Egypt, and taking Benjamin, but Jacob
said to them:
"You are taking my sons away from me. Joseph is gone,
and Simeon is gone, and now you would take Benjamin
away. All these things are against me!"
Reuben said, "Here are my own two boys. You may kill
them, if you wish, in case I do not bring Benjamin back
But Jacob said, "My youngest son shall not go with you.
His brother is dead, and he alone is left to me. If
harm should come to him, it would bring down my gray
hairs with sorrow to the grave."