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dieted, I have been restored to my office, and the baker has been hanged upon the cross."
The king then sent straightway for Joseph, who, after being shaved, bathed, and clothed in fine raiment, was brought before Pharaoh.
To him Pharaoh said, "I saw a dream which I have told unto all the wise men of Egypt, and there is no one of them who can interpret it."
Joseph replied, "God shall tell to Pharaoh, through me, things that shall be greatly to his advantage."
Then Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams of the seven fat oxen and the seven lean ones, and how the lean devoured the fat, and also of the seven full ears and the seven poor ears, and how the latter destroyed the former.
Without any hesitation, Joseph then said, "Through these dreams God speaks to Pharaoh. The seven fat oxen and the seven full ears betoken that there will come seven years of great plenty in the land of Egypt. The seven poor oxen and the seven small ears mean that after the seven plentiful years shall come seven years of barrenness and famine, so severe that all the plentifulness of the seven fruitful years shall be forgotten, and Egypt shall be smitten with hunger and suffering.
"Now, therefore, let the king choose some wise and honest ruler who may appoint officers in all the towns of the kingdom. Let these officers gather into great barns and granaries the fifth part of all the corn and the fruits that shall grow during these first plenteous years that be to come, and store it there to be ready against the coming of the seven years of famine, so that Egypt may not perish from hunger."
Pharaoh and his counselors all believed the words of Joseph and were convinced that his advice was good, and Pharaoh said to his servants, "Where shall we find such a man as this Hebrew describes—a man who is honest, and filled with the spirit of God?"
As he thought, he turned to Joseph and said, "Inasmuch as God has spoken to us through you, we can find no man who is wiser than you, or better fitted to perform this great task than you are. So I make you chief ruler of my house and my kingdom, and the people shall obey the commands of your mouth. Only I shall stand before you. Lo! thus have I ordained you master over all the land of Egypt."
So Pharaoh took a ring from his hand and put it into the hand of Joseph, and clothed him with a rich double cloak bordered with royal fur. He put a golden collar about his neck and led him to the royal chair. Then Pharaoh caused the trumpet to sound and the heralds to cry out that all men should kneel before Joseph, the chief ruler of all the land of Egypt.
And the king said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh. Without your command shall no man move hand nor foot in all the land of Egypt."
At the same time, he changed Joseph's name to one that in the tongue of the Egyptians meant The Savior of the World. Moreover, he gave to the new ruler, as his wife, Asenath, the daughter of the priest, Poti-phera. At this time, Joseph was about thirty years old.
The seven years of plenty came, and the yield of the fields was greater than ever before. Joseph traveled round about all the region, and under his direction one-fifth of all the sheaves of corn were
THE BROTHERS BOWED DOWN BEFORE JOSEPH
brought into the barns, and of the abundance of fruits, one-fifth was stored away in every town. So great was the abundance that the corn might be compared to the sands of the sea; and it was impossible to measure the great harvests.
During the seven years of plenty before the famine and hunger came, Joseph had two sons. The first of these he named Manasseh, saying, "God has made me to forget all my labors, and my father's house has forgotten me." The second son he named Ephraim, saying, "God has made me to grow rich and powerful in the land of my poverty."
So passed the seven years of plenty and great fertility, and the seven years of scarcity and hunger began to come as Joseph had foretold. And all over the world hunger and suffering grew universal, and in the land of Egypt, too, there were hunger and scarcity.
When the Egyptians, suffering from hunger, cried aloud to Pharaoh, asking food, he answered them, "Go to Joseph, and whatever he says, that shall you do."
Daily grew the hunger and increased the suffering in all the land. Then Joseph opened the barns and granaries and sold corn to the Egyptians, and from all the provinces people came into Egypt to buy corn to stop their hunger.
Now Jacob, far away in Palestine, suffering from the scarcity, heard that in Egypt were victuals to be sold. So he called together his sons and said to them, "Why are you so negligent? I have heard that corn may be bought in Egypt. Go you thither and buy for us what is necessary, that we and our flocks may live, and not perish."
Then ten of the brothers of Joseph went down into Egypt to buy wheat, but they left Benjamin, the youngest, at home with their father, because of the perils of the journey.
When they had entered into the land of Egypt they came before Joseph, the prince and ruler, who alone had power to sell wheat to the people. But the brothers did not know Joseph, and they fell down before him and worshipped him.
But Joseph recognized his brothers, and spoke to them hard words, as though to strangers, saying, "Whence come you?"
His brothers answered, "We are of the land of Canaan, and have come hither to buy what is necessary to keep us from starvation."
As Joseph looked upon his brothers, he remembered the dreams he had had as a boy, yet he still spoke harshly and said, "You are spies, and have come here to note the weak places in this land."
"It is not so, my lord," they answered, "for we thy servants have come only to buy victuals. We are all sons of one man, and we come peaceably, neither thinking nor imagining any evil to you."
Again Joseph answered them, "That is not true. You are certainly spies, and have come to find our weaknesses."
Still they replied, "We are twelve brothers, your servants, sons of one man in the land of Canaan. One brother is at home with our father, and one other brother that we had is dead."
"What I said is true," said Joseph; "you are spies. I swear to you by the health of Pharaoh that you shall not go hence till your youngest brother comes. Send one of your number back to Canaan to bring him hither. You shall lie in prison till it be proved whether the things you say are true or false."
Joseph then cast them into prison, but at the end of the third day he brought them out again and said, "It may be that you are peaceable as you say. If it proves so, then shall you live. Let one of you be bound in prison here, and the rest go your way. Carry home with you the wheat that you have bought into your houses, and come to me with your youngest brother, that I may prove your words; otherwise shall you die."
The brothers spoke together apart and said, "We deserve to suffer thus, for long ago we sinned against our brother Joseph, when in his anguish he prayed to us and we heard him not. Therefore is this sorrow fallen upon us."