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was about seventeen years of age when he was sold into Egypt, and he was thirty years of age when he stood before the king.


17. JOSEPH'S BRETHREN COME TO EGYPT. As God had foretold, so it came to pass.

The seven plenteous years came, and Joseph gathered the fifth part of all the corn in all the land of Egypt; of which he collected together so great a quantity, that they were obliged to give up measuring it. The seven years of scarcity also did not fail to come; and in the very first year of the scarcity, the famine in the neighbouring lands was so great, that the people all came to Egypt to buy food of Joseph.

There was famine also in the land of Canaan. Then Israel said to his sons, “ Why do ye look one upon another? Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.” The ten brothers accordingly went to Egypt. Benjamin alone remained with his father. They came into Joseph's presence, and they fell down before him, as before a great Egyptian prince. He, however, knew them; but he made himself strange to them, and spoke roughly to them in the Egyptian language through an interpreter: 6 Whence come ye?” They answered,

From the land of Canaan, to buy food." Joseph said, “ Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. “Nay, my lord,” they answered, “but to buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man's sons; we are true men; thy servants are no spies. We are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan ; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not." And Joseph said unto them, “Hereby ye shall be proved whether ye speak the truth. Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and the rest of you shall remain here in prison."

And he put them all together into ward, and left them there three days. On the third day he had them brought to him again, and he said unto them, “ This do, and live; for I fear God. Let one of you remain behind in prison, but the rest of you go


carry home the corn you have bought; but bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall


your words be verified, and ye shall not die."
Then the brethren said one to another in their
own language, “We are verily guilty concerning
our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his
soul, when he besought us, and we would not
hear; therefore is this distress come upon
They did not know that Joseph understood them,
who, when he heard these words, turned himself
away from them, and wept. Then he commanded
Simeon to be bound before their eyes, and taken
back to the prison ; and the rest went home to
Jacob, in Canaan. But when their aged father
heard all these things, he was very sad, and said,
“ Ye have bereaved me of my

children :

: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. My son shall not go down with you.”




But the famine was so severe in the land, that the sons of Jacob were obliged to go to Egypt again. Jacob was very unwilling to let Benjamin go with them ; but he could not do otherwise. He

gave them, also, presents to take with them of the best productions of the land of Canaan; balm and honey, spices and myrrh, nuts and almonds; “ And God Almighty,” said he, “ give you mercy before the man, that he may


away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”

When Joseph was informed of their arrival, he

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had them brought before him, and spoke kindly to them: “ Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is this your younger brother ? God be gracious unto thee, my son.” He could scarcely keep up his disguise any longer. His heart burned towards his brothers, and he went into his chamber, and wept. a

Then, after he had washed his face, he came out to them again, and kept his countenance. He invited them to dine with him, and commanded food to be set on; and he ate with them, although, according to the custom of the country, they sat at separate tables. The brethren wondered not a little when they saw that they were all placed according to their ages, and they were full of gladness.

Joseph then commanded that their sacks should be filled with corn, and that the money of each of them should be laid at the top of the sack, and that in Benjamin's sack there should also be put his own silver drinking cup. Scarcely had they set off, before Joseph sent his steward after them: “Wherefore,” said he to them, “have ye rewarded evil for good ?” The brethren looked at one another, and could not understand what he meant. Now," said the steward, “ you want to know what I mean. It is that cup out of which


lord drinks. Who has stolen the cup ?” They said, “ Wherefore said my lord these words ? we are honest men ; with whomsoever the cup is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord's bondsmen." Hereupon all the sacks were opened and examined, and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. Then they rent their clothes, and all returned back to the city.b


Gen. xliii. 26-30.

b Gen. xliv. l-13.


On their being brought again before Joseph, he questioned them severely about the cup. Then Judah took upon him to speak :

66 What shall we say unto my lord ? What shall we speak ? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants : behold, we are my lord's servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.” Joseph replied, “Far be it from me to do so; but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.” Then Judah entreated with many words, and prayed earnestly that this might not be done. “When I come to thy servant my father,” said he, “and the lad be not with us, seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life, it shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the grey hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. Now, therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad, a bondman to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.”c

Joseph could refrain himself no longer; he cried out that all the Egyptians should go out. No stranger must be present while Joseph made himself known to his brethren. Then he gave full vent to his tears: “I am Joseph,” he cried out, weeping aloud: “ doth my father yet live ?” And his

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