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21. Joseph in Egypt.


The merchants brought Joseph to Egypt and sold him to a certain nobleman named Potiphar, or Pentrephorios. Living in Egypt among pagans, Joseph firmly kept his faith in the true God and feared in any way to sin before Him. He served his master faithfully. Potiphar loved him and made him the manager of his household, but the evil and conniving wife of Potiphar denounced Joseph before her husband. Potiphar believed his wife and put Joseph in prison.

God saw the innocence of Joseph and helped him. In the same prison were the cup-bearer and the baker of Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler. Once they saw dreams. The cup-bearer saw that he gathered grapes from three vineyards, pressed the juice out of them into a cup and gave it to Pharaoh. The baker saw that he was carrying three baskets of bread on his head and that birds came and ate them. Joseph explained these dreams. He said to the cup-bearer that in three days Pharaoh would forgive him and that he would again be the cup-bearer, but to the baker he said that in three days Pharaoh would order him to be hanged and that the birds would eat his body. All this was fulfilled as Joseph said.

Two years later Pharaoh had two dreams in the same night. He dreamed that he was standing on the bank of a river, and out of the river there first came seven fat and beautiful cows, and after them came seven thin cows. The thin cows ate the fat ones, but they did not get fatter. The other dream was that on a single stalk seven full ears were growing, but then seven dry and empty ears grew, and the empty ears swallowed the seven full ones. In the morning Pharaoh called in all the wise men of Egypt, but none of them could explain the dreams to him.

Then the cup-bearer remembered Joseph and told the King about him. They brought Joseph to Pharaoh, and he explained the dreams. "Both dreams," he said, "signify the same thing. In the land of Egypt there will be seven years of great plenty; after this there will come seven years of famine." At the same time, Joseph advised Pharaoh to prepare during the plentiful years enough grain to supply for the entire time of the famine.

Pharaoh understood that God Himself had revealed the meaning of the dreams to Joseph and made him his chief minister in the land of Egypt, first after himself, and entrusted to him the preparation of the grain.

Note: See Genesis, chap. 39-40; 41:1-46.

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