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Lord God, and was ready to obey his commands as soon as they were made known to him, by one who, he was convinced, spake by the inspiration of the SpiRit Of God ; his determination to follow Joseph's counsel was perfectly consistent with a stedfast belief in God; and the honours he heaped on him shewed a firmi trust in the Divine promises. The name which was given to Joseph by Pharaoh signifies a prime minister. Without imputing ambition to Joseph, we may account for his accepting this post by supposing, that in so doing he followed a Divine impulse.
The knowledge of the true God was not totally lost among the Egyptians at this time ; but in what manner they paid their adorations te the Supreme-Being we do not know: it is supposed that they made use of symbols to express his attributes. Even this was a great corruption of the religion of Noah; but not so bad as what they were afterwards guilty of, in setting up imaginary deities, in competition with the Lord. Had Potipherah been an idolator of the last description, we have reason to think no temptation would have prevailed on Joseph to form an alliance with him; and it will be shewn in a following Section, that Joseph did not entirely conform to the customs of the Egyptians: therefore we may conclude, that he practised the religion of his fathers, as much as it was in his power to do in a foreign land. We are told that "the Lord was with Joseph," which would scarcely have been the case if he had forsaken the Lord.
Joseph soon, by his great activity, convinced Pharaoh, that in appeinting him as prime minister he had made a judicious choice.
How merciful was Go D in so ordering events that abundance should precede scarcity!'
L S While
While Joseph continued in prison, he recollected, with regret, the comforts of his father's house; but his exaltation was now so great, and his means of doing good so enlarged, that he thought it his duty to settle his mind entirely ro his present situation. Pharaoh appears to have continued very stedfast in his attachment to Joseph. What dreadful situation would he and his people have been in, had not the Lord so wonderfully interposed for their relief!
Jn this Section we have a fresh instance to warn us against human attempts to interpret dreams. In former ages, as we learn from this and other passages of Scripture, God sometimes gave intimation to kings of particular nations concerning future events, in which they and their people were concerned. But in general dreams do not admit of any interpretation at all* because they are the mere sports of fancy, or rather the remnants of ideas, which have before passed in the mind. .
Kings are instructed by this portion of Scripture to seek out as ministers, men not only "discreet and wise," but those " in whom the Spirit Of God is;" or persons who regulate their lives, in all the relative duties, by the revealed will of God. From the example of Joseph, Ministers may learn, that they should, in the management of public affairs, consult the welfare of both king and people, and establish such laws as may give their country consequence with other nations. The Subjects of a kingdom are led from this portion of Scripture, to consider it as an interposition of Providence in their favour when they have righteous rulers; and private persons are admonished, in the time of affliction, to place their trust and confidence in God, who can so order events, as by a happy reverse of fortune to make them forget all their form er sorrows, and bless them with prosperity in the height of their affliction.
JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN.
From Genesis, Cliap. xlii.
Now when Jacob knew that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon ano ther?
And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt; get ye down thither, and buy for us from thence, that we may live, and not die.
And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren.: for he said, Lest peradventure mischief Befal him.
And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land : and Joseph s brethren came and bowed down themselves before him, with their faces to the earth.
And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye ? and they 6aid, From the land of Canaan, to buy food.
And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him. And Joseph remembered the dreams which he L 6 dreamed dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land you are come.
And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.
And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land you are come.
And they said, Thy servants 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, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies.
Hereby he shall be proved; by the life of Pharaoh, ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither.
Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there he any truth in you ; or else, Dy the life of Pharaoh, surely ye are spies.
And he put them all together into ward three days. And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live : for I fear God.
If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison . 20 ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses ; But bring your youngest brother unto me : so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And rliey did so.
An ' they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that'we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would nothear ; therefore is this distress come upon us.
And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not snto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye
would would not hear? therefore behold also his blood is required.
And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.
And he-turned himself about from them, and wept: and returned to them again, and communed with them and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.
Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with com, and to restore every man's money into his sack: and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them.
And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence. And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money: for behold it was in his sack's mouth.
And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored: and lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that Gou hath done unto us?
And they came unto Jacob their father, unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befel unto them, saying.
The man who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies.
We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.
And the man, the lord of the country, said anto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men: leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of your houshoids, and be gone.
And bring your youngest brother unto ^me; then shall I kaow that ye are no spies, but that ye are true