but cast him into this pit;" for he intended afterwards to come secretly and take him out.

When they had cast him into the pit, they saw a company of Ishmaelitish merchants, who were on their way to Egypt. Then they drew him out, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took his coat, and they slew a kid, and they dipped the coat in the blood, and brought it to their father, and said, “ This we have found : know now whether it be thy son's coat or no.” And Jacob knew it, and said, “ It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him : Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.” And all his sons and all his daughters came and endeavoured to comfort him ; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, “I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning.” b

[blocks in formation]

The Ishmaelites took Joseph to Egypt, and sold him for a slave to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard. And when his master perceived Joseph's wisdom and integrity, and saw that God made him to prosper in all he did, he appointed him overseer over his house, and all that he had be put into his hand. So Joseph enjoyed happy days, even in slavery.

Potiphar had an unchaste wife, who endeavoured to tempt Joseph to great wickedness and unfaithfulness; but Joseph said to her, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” When the woman saw that she could not tempt

Gen. xxxvii. 23-35.

Joseph to sin, she brought a false charge against him to her husband. Then Potiphar cast him into prison. But God was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison, and he committed to Joseph's hand all the other prisoners. So Joseph had again comfortable days, even in prison.

About this time, two of the king's officers—the chief of the bakers and the chief of the butlerswere brought to the prison, and Joseph had the oversight of them. He found them one morning very sad ; and upon his inquiring the cause, they told him that they had both in the night had remarkable dreams, and there was no one to interpret them. “Do not interpretations belong to God?" replied Joseph ; " tell me them, I pray you."

The chief butler replied, “In my dream, behold, a vine was before me ; and in the vine were three branches : and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: and Pharaoh's

cup in my hand; and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's

and I

into Pharaoh's hand.” Joseph said unto him, “ The three branches are three days : yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place : and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh's cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me; and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house.”

When the chief baker saw that the interpre


tation of the chief butler's dream was so good, he was glad, and said to Joseph, “ I also was in my dream, and behold, I had three white baskets on my head : and in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bake-meats for Pharaoh ; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head.” And Joseph answered and said, “ This is the interpretation thereof: the three baskets are three days : yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee.”

And it came to pass on the third day, when Pharaoh kept his birthday, that he remembered the two prisoners, and he restored the chief butler again to his office; but he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them.

6 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.”a And Joseph had to pass two years more in prison. -God knows the best time for deliverance.

Two years afterwards Pharaoh had a dream, and no one could be found who was able to interpret it. Now the chief butler remembered his promise. He told the king that there was a young man in prison, who had once interpreted so wisely to him and to the chief baker their dreams. Joseph was immediately sent for out of prison, and brought before the king. The king said to him, “ 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." And Joseph answered, “ It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of

a Gen. xl. 5–23.

[ocr errors]

peace.” And the king said, “In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river" (the river Nile, which flows through Egypt): “and, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine fatfleshed and wellfavoured; and they fed in a meadow : and, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor, and


illfavoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness : and the lean and the illfavoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: and when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them ; but they were still illfavoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke. And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good : and, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: and the thin ears devoured the seven good ears.

And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, “ The dream of Pharaoh is one : God hath showed Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years : the dream is one. And the seven thin and illfavoured kine, that came up after them, are seven years; and the seven empty ears, blasted with the east wind, shall be seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh : What God is about to do he showeth unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: and there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land : and the plenty shall not be known in the land, by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very

to say,

grievous. And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now, therefore,” Joseph proceeded

6 let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.”

Pharaoh was pleased with the interpretation, as well as with this good counsel. “Where can we," said Pharaoh, “find such a man as this, in whom the Spirit of God is?” So Pharaoh set Joseph over the whole land, and said to him, “Only in the throne will I be greater than thou.” And he took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and clothed him in white silk, and put a golden chain round his neck ; and he made him ride in one of his royal chariots; and they cried before him, “ Bow the knee.” And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, “So surely as I am Pharaoh, without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”

So God led Joseph from his father's house into the pit, from the pit into slavery and into a prison, and from the prison to the king's palace. Joseph

6 Gen. xli. 1- 36. © Luther's version, and English marginal reading.

d Gen. xli. 37-44.


« VorigeDoorgaan »