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caused him to find favor with his master, could bring him out of this trouble, and make him yet greater than he had ever been. While in prison, he obtained the favor of the jailer, who gave him the command of every thing, and put all who were in the prison under his care. Among these were the chief butler and baker of Pharoah's household, who each of them dreamed a dream, which greatly troubled them; and Joseph interpreted them, and told the chief butler that, within three days, he should be set at liberty, and wait again upon the king; and he asked him to remember him when it should be well with him, and get him out of prison: but he foretold a different fate unto the chief baker, for he said that, within three days, he should be put to death.
Both these events took place, yet the butler did not recollect Joseph, and there is no saying how long he might have been kept a prisoner, had not Pharoah the king dreamed a dream, which none could interpret. To interpret is to explain the meaning of a thing; and the kings of Egypt, as well as some others in those days, used to keep persons on purpose to interpret to them signs and dreams.
But none of the wise men of the land could explain this.
Then the chief butler remembered Joseph, and told Pharoah what had happened to him when in prison. Upon this, the king sent for Joseph, who, when he was brought before him, said that he could not of himself understand the dream, but that God would give him an answer of peace. I will not here tell you what the king dreamed, because you may turn to the forty-first chapter of Genesis, and read it. Joseph foretold seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, which should be followed by seven years of famine so severe that the plenty should be no more remembered. He then advised Pharoah to name some wise men, who should collect a fifth part of the fruits of the land during the years of plenty, that they might not starve when the famine should come.
The king thought that, as the Lord had shewed all this to Joseph, no person Icould be better fitted for the office: he accordingly made him ruler over all the land of Egypt, and next in power to himself; and he went through the land, and laid up corn in all the cities against the day of famine. Affectionately yours.
I SUPPOSE you are sufficiently interested in the history of Joseph, to wish to hear how he behaved in the high rank to which you have seen him raised: his, indeed, is a most wonderful history. He is brought into Egypt a young captive boy, the victim of his brothers' envy; and, in the course of a few years, we see him filling an office of the highest trust, below none in power but the king himself; the lives of the people seeming to depend on his prudence and foresight; the time fast approaching when his dream should be fulfilled, when his brethren should bow before him, when they should ask their very lives of that brother whom they had hated, and sold as a slave.
After the seven years of great plenty, came, as Joseph had foretold, seven years of grievous famine: then were the storehouses which he had filled thrown open, and the people came to buy corn. But the scarcity was grievously felt in other nations; for we read that "the famine was
over all the face of the earth:" and Joseph's father, who lived in the land of Canaan, heard there was corn in Egypt, and sent ten of his sons thither to purchase food; but Benjamin, the youngest, he sent not with them, for he remembered the loss of his favorite Joseph, and feared like mischief should befall him. When
they reached Egypt, and stood before Joseph, he remembered them, but they knew not him; yet he did not, at first, make himself known to them, but spoke roughly, and asked them whence they came. He then pretended to take them for spies; but they told him they were all sons of one man, and one was left with their father in Canaan, and one was not.(*) Upon this Joseph ordered them to be put in prison for three days: he then set them at liberty, on condition that Simeon should be left behind, while the others returned with food for their families; making them promise that, when they came again, they should bring their brother Benjamin. On their way home, they found their money had been put again into their sacks: then they thought that all this trouble was come upon them, to punish them for their cruelty to their brother, whom they supposed to be dead.
When they reached home, their father was very much grieved, and said, "Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away." When they had eaten all the corn which they had brought from Egypt, Jacob asked them to go again; yet they dared not, unless he would allow their young brother to go with them. This grieved him exceedingly, but at length he consented. Judah took him under his care, and they stood before Joseph a second time, who, when he saw his brother Benjamin, ordered that they should eat meat with him. Simeon was then brought to them, and they were seated in order from the eldest to the youngest; but Joseph sent his young brother a mess five times as large as the others. When they had eaten, he ordered their money to be put again into their sacks, and his silver cup into the sack of the youngest; and the next morning, as soon as it was light, they set out on their way home: but before they were far on the road, he sent his steward after them, who charged them with having stolen the cup; and they said that he in whose sack it was found should die. What was their sorrow, then, when it was found