Genesis 37, 39-48

Jacob continued to live in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived.

 

  This is the story of Jacob's family.

      
  Joseph, a young man of seventeen, took care of the sheep and goats with his brothers, the sons of Balkan and Zillah, his father's concubines.  He brought bad reports to his father about what his brothers were doing. 

       Jacob loved Joseph more than all his other sons, because he had been born to him when he was old.  He made a long robe with full sleeves for him.

       When his brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than he loved them, they hated their brother so much that they would not speak to him in a friendly manner. 

        One time Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him even more.  He said, "Listen to the dream I had.  We were all in the field tying up sheaves of wheat, when my sheaf got up and stood up straight.  Yours formed a circle around mine and bowed down to it."

        "Do you think you are going to be a king and rule over us?" his brothers asked.  So they hated him even more because of his dreams and because of what he said about them.

        Then Joseph had another dream and told his brothers, "I had another dream, in which I saw the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowing down to me."

        He also told the dream to his father, and his father scolded him: "What kind of a dreams that? Do you think that your mother, your brothers, and I are going to come and bow down to you?"  Joseph's brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept thinking about the whole matter.
   

       One day when Joseph's brothers had gone to Shechem to take care of their father's flock, Jacob said to Joseph, "I want you to go to Shechem, where your brothers are taking care of the flock."

  
       Joseph answered, "I am ready."

       His father told him, "Go and see if your brothers are safe and if the flock is all right: then come back and tell me."  So his father sent him on his way from the Hebron Valley. 

       Joseph arrived at Shechem and was wandering around in the country when a man saw him and asked him, "What are you looking for?" 

        "I am looking for my brothers, who are taking care of their flock," he answered. "Can you tell me where they are?"
The man said, "The have already left. I heard them say that they were going to Dothan." 

        So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.  They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted against him and decided to kill him.  They said to one another, "Here comes that dreamer.  Come on now, let's kill him and throw his body into one of the dry wells.  We can say that a wild animal killed him.  Then we will see what becomes of his dreams."
       

        Reuben heard them and tried to save Joseph.  "Let's not kill him," he said.  "Just throw him into this well in the wilderness, but don't hurt him."  he said this, planning to save him from them and send him back to his father. 

        When Joseph came up to his brothers, they ripped off his long robe with full sleeves.  Then they took him and threw him into the well, which was dry.  

       While they were eating, they suddenly saw a group of Ishmaelite traveling from Gilead to Egypt.  Their camels were loaded with spices and resins.  Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain by killing our brother and covering up the murder?  Let's sell him to these Ishmaelites.  Then we won't have to hurt him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood."  His brothers agreed, and when some Midianite traders came by, the brothers pulled Joseph out of the well and sold him for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelite, who took him to Egypt.  

       When Reuben came back to the well and found that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes in sorrow. he returned to his brothers and said, "The boy is not there! What an I going to do?"  Then they killed a goat and dipped Joseph's robe in its blood.  They took the robe to their father and said, "We found this.  Does it belong to your son?"  He recognized it and said, "Yes, it is his!  Some wild animal has killed him.  My son Joseph has been torn to pieces!"  

        Jacob tore his clothes in sorrow and put on sackcloth.  He mourned for his son a long time.  All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, " I will go down to the world of the dead still mourning for my son."  So he continued to mourn for his son Joseph.  

        Meanwhile, in Egypt the Midianites had sold Joseph to Potiphar, one of the king's officers who was the captain of the palace guard.  Now the Ishmaelite had taken Joseph to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, one of the king's officers, who was the captain of the palace guard.  

        The LORD was with Joseph and made him successful  He lived in the house of his Egyptian master, who saw that the LORD was with Joseph and had made his successful in everything he did.  Potiphar was pleased with him and made him his personal servant; so he put him in charge of his house and everything he owned.  From then on, because of Joseph the LORD blessed the house hold of the Egyptian and everything that he had in his house and in his fields.  Potiphar turned over anything except the food he ate. 

        Joseph was well-built and good-looking, and after a while his master's wife began to desire Joseph and asked him to go to bed with her.  He refused and said to her, "Look, my master does not have to concern himself with anything in the house, because I am here.  He has put me in charge of everything he has.  I have as much authority in this house as he has, and he has  not kept back anything from me except you.  How then could I do such an immoral thing and sin against God?"  Although she asked Joseph day after day, he would not go to bed with her.  

        But one day when Joseph went into the house to do his work, none of the house servants was there.  She caught him by his robe and said, "Come to be with me."   But he escaped and ran out side, leaving his robe in her hand.  When she saw that he had left his robe and had run out of the house, she called to her house servants and said, "Look at this! this Hebrew that my husband brought to the house is insulting us.   He came into my room and tried to rape me, but I screamed as loud as I could.  When he heard me scream, he ran outside, leaving his robe beside me."  

        She kept his robe with her until Joseph's master came home.  Then she told him the same story: "That Hebrew slave that you brought here came into my room and insulted me.  But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his robe beside me."  Joseph's master was furious and had Joseph arrested and put in the prison where the king's prisoners were kept, and there he stayed.  

        But the LORD was with Joseph and blessed him, so that the jailer was pleased with him.  He put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and made him responsible for everything that was done in the prison.   The jailer did not have to look after anything for which Joseph was responsible, because the LORD was with Joseph and made him succeed in everything he did.  

        Some time later the king of Egypt's wine steward and his chief baker offended the king.  He was angry with these two officials and put them in prison in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same place where Joseph was being kept.  They spent a long time in prison, and the captain assigned Joseph as their servant.

        One night there in prison the wine steward and the chief baker each had a dream, and the dreams had different meanings.  When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were upset.  He asked them, "Why do you look so worried today?"  They answered, "Each of us had a dream, and there is no one here to explain what the dreams mean."  "It is God who gives the ability to interpret dreams, "Joseph said, " Tell me your dreams."  

        So the wine steward said, "In my dream there was a grapevine in front of me with three branches on it.  As soon as the leaves came out, the blossoms appeared, and the grapes ripened.  I was holding the king's cup; so I took the grapes and squeezed them into the cup and gave it to him."  

        Joseph said, "This is what it means: the three braches are three days.  In three days the king will release you, pardon you, and restore you to your position.  You will give him his cup as you did before when you were his wine steward.   But please remember me when everything is going well for you, and please be kind enough to mention me to the king and help me get out this prison.  After all, I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here in Egypt I didn't do anything to deserve being put in prison."  

        When the chief baker saw that the interpretation of the wine steward's dream was favorable, he said to Joseph, "I had a dream too; I was carrying three breadbaskets on my head.  In the top basket there were all kinds of baked goods for the king, and the birds were eating them."  Joseph answered, "This is what it means: the three baskets are three days the king will release you--and have your head cut off! Then he will hang your body on a pole, and the birds will eat your flesh."  

        On his birthday three days later the king gave a banquet for all his officials; he released his wine steward and his chief baker and brought them before his officials.  He restored the wine steward to his former position, but he executed the chief baker.  It all happened just as Joseph had said.  But the wine steward never gave Joseph another thought--he forgot all about him.  

        After two years had passed, the king of Egypt dreamed that he was standing by the Nile River, when seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the river and began to feed on the grass.  Then seven other cows came up; they were thin and bony.  They came and stood  by the other cows on the riverbank, and the thin cows ate up the fat cows. Then the king woke up.  He fell asleep again and had another dream.  Seven heads of grain, full and ripe, were growing on one stalk.  Then seven other heads of grain sprouted, thin and scorched by the desert wind, and the thin heads of grain swallowed the full ones.  The king woke up and realized that he had been dreaming.  In the morning he was worried, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt.  He told them his dreams, but no one could explain them to him.  

        Then the wine steward said to the king, "I must confess today that I have done wrong.  You were angry with the chief baker and me, and you put us in prison in the house of the  captain of the guard.  On night each of us had a dream, and the drams had different meanings.  A young Hebrew was there with us, a slave of the captain of the guard.  We told him our drams, and he interpreted them for us.  Things turned out just as he said: you restored me to my position, but you executed the baker."  

        The king sent for Joseph, and he was immediately brought form the prison.  After he had shaved and charged his clothes, he came in to the king's presence.  The king said to him, 'I have had a dream, and no one can explain it. I have been told that you can interpret dreams."  

        Joseph answered, "I cannot, Your Majesty, but God will give a favorable interpretation."  The king said." I dreamed that I was standing on the bank of the Nile, when seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the river and began feeding on the grass.  then seven other cows came up which were thin and bony.  They were the poorest cows I have ever seen anywhere in Egypt.  The thin cows ate up the fat ones, but no one would have known it, because they looked just as bad as before.  then I woke up.  I also dreamed that I saw seven heads of grain which were full and ripe, growing on one stalk.  Then seven heads of grain sprouted, thin and scorched by the desert wind, and the thin heads of grain swallowed the full ones.  I told the dreams to the magicians, but none of them could explain them to me."  

        Joseph said to the king, "The two dreams mean the same thing; God has told you what he is going to do.  The seven fat cows are seven years, and the seven full heads of grain are also seven years; they have the same meaning.  The seven thins cows which came up later and the seven thin heads of grain scorched by the desert wind are seven years of famine.  It is just as I told you--God has shown you what he is going to do.  There will be seven years of great plenty in all the land of Egypt.  After that, there will be seven years of famine, and all the good years will be forgotten, because the famine will ruin the country.  The time of plenty will be entirely forgotten, because the famine which follows will be so terrible.  The repetition of your dream means that the matter is fixed by God and that he will make it happen in the near future.  "Now you should choose some man with wisdom and insight and put him in charge of the country.  You must also appoint other officials and take a fifth of the crops during the seven years of plenty.  Order them to collect all the food during the good years that are coming, and give them authority to store up grain in the cities and guard it.  The food will be a reserve supply for the country during the seven years of famine which are going to come on Egypt.  In this way the people will not starve."  

        The king and his officials approved this plan, and he said to them, "We will never find a better man than Joseph, a man who has God's sprit in him."  The king said to Joseph, "God has shown you all this, so it is obvious that you have greater wisdom and insight than anyone else.  I will put you in charge of my country, and all my people will obey your orders.  Your authority will be second only to mine.   I now appoint you governor over all Egypt."  

        The king removed from his finger the ring engraved with the royal seal and put it on Joseph's finger.   He put a fine linen robe on him, and placed a gold chain around his neck.   He gave him the second royal chariot to ride in, and his guard of honor went ahead of him and cried out, "Make way! Make way!" 

        And so Joseph was appointed governor over all Egypt.  The king said to him, "I am the king--and no one in all Egypt shall so much as lift a hand or a foot without your permission."  He gave Joseph the Egyptian name Zephaniah Apnea, and he gave him a wife, Senath, the daughter of Peripheral, a priest  in the city of Mediapolis.  

       Joseph was thirty years old when he began to serve the king of Egypt.  He left the king's court and traveled all over the land.  During the seven years of plenty the land produced abundant crops, all of which Joseph collected and stored in the cities.  

        In each city he stored the food from the fields around it.  There was so much grain that Joseph stopped measuring it--it was like the sand of the sea.  
Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons by Asenath.    He said, "God has made me forget all my sufferings and all my father's family"; so he named his first son Manasseh.  He also said, "God has given me children in the land of my trouble"; so he named his second son Ephraim.  

       The seven years of plenty that the land of Egypt had enjoyed came to an end, and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every other country, but there was food throughout Egypt.    

       When the Egyptians began to be hungry, they cried out to the king for food.  So he ordered them to go to Joseph and do what he told them.  The famine grew worse and spread over the whole country, so Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians.  People came to Egypt from all over the world to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.  

       When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why don't you do something? I hear that there is grain in Egypt; go there and buy some to keep us from starving to death." 

       So Joseph's ten half brothers went to buy grain in Egypt., but Jacob did not send Joseph's full brother Benjamin with them, because he was afraid that something happen to him.  The sons of Jacob came with others to buy grain, because there was famine in the land of Canaan.   

       Joseph, as governor of the land of Egypt, was selling grain to people from all over the world.  So Joseph's brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground.  When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he acted as if he did not know them.  He asked them harshly, "Where do you come from?"  "We have come from Canaan to buy food," they answered.  

       Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.  He remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them and said, "You are spies; you have come to find out where our country is weak."  

       "No, sir," they answered. "We have come as your slaves, to buy food.  We are all brothers. We are not spies, sir we are honest men."  Joseph said to them, "No! You have come to find out where our country is weak."  They said, "We were twelve brothers in all, sir, sons of the same man in the land of Canaan.  One brother is dead, and the youngest is now with our father."  

       "It is just as I said," Joseph answered. "You are spies.  This is how you will be tested: I swear by the name of the king that your will never leave unless your youngest brother comes here. One of you must go and get him.  The rest of you will be kept under guard until the truth of what you say can be tested.  Otherwise, as sure as the king lives, you are spies"  

       With that, he put them in prison for three days.   On the third day Joseph said to them," I am a god-fearing man, and I will spare your lives on one condition.  to prove that you are hones, one of you will stay in the prison where you have been kept; the rest of you may go and take back to yore starving families the grain that you have bought.  Then you must bring your youngest brother  to me.  This will prove that you have been telling the truth, and I will not put you to death."  

       They agreed to this and said to one another " Yes, now we are suffering the consequences of what we did to our brother; we saw the great trouble he was in when he begged for help, but we would not listen.  That is why we are in this trouble now."  Reuben said, "I told you not to harm the boy, but you wouldn't listen.  And now we are being paid back for his death."  

       Joseph understood what they said, but  they did not know it, because they had been speaking to him thought an interpreter.  Joseph left them and began to cry.  

       When he was able to speak again, he came back, picked out Simeon, and had him tied up in front of them.  Joseph gave orders to fill his brothers' packs with grain, to put each man's money back in his sack, and to give them food for the trip.  This was done. 

       The brothers loaded their donkeys with the grain they had brought, and then they left.  At the place where they spent the night, one of them opened his sack to feed his donkey and found his money at the top of the  sack.  "My money had been returned to me." he called to his brothers.  "Here it is in my sack!"  Their hearts sank, and in fear they asked one another, "what had God done to us?"  

        When they came to their father Jacob in Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them: "The governor of Egypt spoke harshly to us and accused us of spying against his country.  'We are not spies' we answered, 'we are honest men.  We were twelve brothers in all, sons of the same father.  One brother is dead, and the youngest is still in Canaan with our father.'  The man answered, 'This is how I will find out if you are honest men: One of you will stay with me; the rest will take grain for your starving families and leave.  Bring your youngest brother to me.  Then I will know that you are not spies, but honest men; I will give your brother back to you, and you can stay here and trade.'"  

        Then when they emptied out their sacks, every one of them found his bag of money; and when they saw the money, they and their father Jacob were afraid.   

  Their father said to them, "Do you want to make me lose  all my children?  Joseph is gone; Simeon is gone; and now you want to take away Benjamin.  I am the own who suffers!"  Reuben said to his father, "If I do not bring Benjamin back to you, you can kill my two sons. Put him in my care, and I will bring back."  But Jacob said, "My son cannot go with you; his brother is dead, and he is the only one left.  Something might happen to him on the way, I am an old man, and the sorrow you would cause me would kill me."  

      The famine in Canaan got worse, and when the family of Jacob had eaten all the grain which had been brought form Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, "Go back and buy a little food for us."  

  Judah said to him, "The man sternly warned us that we would not be admitted to his presence unless we had our brother wiht us.  I f you are willing to send our brother with us, we will go and buy food for you.   If you are not willing, we will to go, because the man told us we would not be admitted to his presence unless our brother was with us."  Jacob said, "Why did cause me so much trouble by telling the man that you had another brother?"  

       They answered, "The man kept asking about us and our family, 'Is your father still living? Do you have another brother?' We had to answer his questions. How could we know that he would tell us to bring our brother with us?"  Judah said to his father, "Send the boy wiht me, and we will leave at once.  Then none of us will starve to death.  I will pledge my own life, and you can hold me responsible for him.  If I do not bring him back to you safe and sound, I will always bear the blame.  If we had not waited so long, we could have been there and back twice by now."   

       Their father said to them, "If that is has it has to be, then take the best products of the land in your packs as a present for the governor: little resin, little honey, spices, pistachio nuts, and almonds.  Take with you also twice as much money that was returned in the top of your sacks.  Maybe it was a mistake.  Take your brother and return  at once.  May Almighty God cause the man to have pity on you, so that he will give Benjamin and your other brother back to you.   As for me, if I must lose my children, I must lose them."  So the brothers took the gifts and twice as much money, and set out for Egypt with Benjamin.  

       There they presented themselves to Joseph.  When Joseph saw Benjamin wiht them, he said to the servant in charge of his house, 'Take these men to my house.  They are going to eat with me at noon, so kill an animal and prepare it.""  

       The servant did as he was commanded and took the brothers to Joseph's house.  As they were bring brought to the house, they were afraid and thought, "We are being brought here because of the money that was returned in our sacks the first time.  They wills suddenly attack us, take our donkeys, and make us his slaves."  

       So at the door of the house, they said to the servant in charge, "If you please, sir, we came here once before to buy food.  When we set up camp on the way home, we opened our sacks, and each man found his money in the top of his sack--every bit of it.   We have brought it back to you.  We have also brought some more money with us to buy more food.  We do not know who put our money back in our sacks." 

       The servant said, "Don't worry. Don't be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, must have put the money in you sacks for you. I received your payment."   

       Then he brought Simon to them.  The servant took the brother into the house.  He gave them water so that they could wash their feet, and he fed their donkeys.  They got their gifts ready to present to Joseph when he arrived at noon, because they had been told that they were to eat with him.  

        When Joseph got home, they took the gifts into the house to him and bowed down to the ground before him.  He asked about their health and then said, "You told me about your old father--how is he?  Is he still alive and well?"  They answered, "Your humble a servant, our father, is still alive and well."  And they knelt and bowed down before him.    When Joseph saw his brother Benjamin, he said, "So this is your youngest brother, the one you told me about.  God bless you, my son."    

       Then Joseph left suddenly, because his heart was full of tender feelings for his brother.  He was about to break down, so he went to his room and cried.  After he had washed his face, he came out, and controlling himself, he ordered the meal to be served.    Joseph was served at one table and his brothers at another.  The Egyptians who were eating there were served separately, because they considered it beneath their dignity to eat with Hebrews.  

       The brothers had been seated at the table, facing Joseph, in the order of their age from the oldest to the youngest.  When they saw how the had been seated, they looked at one another in amazement.   Food was served to them from Joseph's table, and Benjamin was served five times as much as the rest of them.    So they ate and drank with Joseph  until they were drunk.  

       Joseph commanded the servant in charge of his house, "Fill the men's sacks wiht as much food as they can carry, and put each man's money in the top of his sack.  Put my silver cup in the top of the youngest brother's sack, together wiht the money for his grain."   He did as he was told.  

      Early in the morning the brothers were sent on their way with their donkeys.  When they had gone only a short distance from the city, Joseph said to the servant in charge of his house,  "Hurry after them, ask them,  'Why have you paid back evil for good?  Why did you steal my master's silver cup?  It is the one he drinks from, the one he uses for divination.  You have committed a serious crime!' "  When the servant caught up with them, he repeated these words.  

       They answered him,  "What do you mean, sir, by talking like this?  We swear that we have done no such thing.    You know that we brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money we found in the top of our sacks.  Why then should we steal silver or gold from your master's house?  Sir, if any one of us is found to have it, he will be put to death, and the rest of us will become your slaves."  He said, " I agree; but only the one who has taken the cup will become my salve, and they rest of you can go free. "  

  So they quickly lowered their sacks to the ground, and each  man opened his back.  Joseph's servant searched carefully, beginning wiht the oldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack.  The brothers tore their clothes in sorrow, loaded their donkeys, and returned to the city.   

        When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, he was still there.  They bowed down before him, and Joseph said, " What have you done?  Didn't you know that a man in my position could find you out by practicing divination?"  "What can we say to you, sir?" Judah answered.  "How can we argue?  How can we clear ourselves?  God has uncovered our guilt.  All of us are now your slaves and not just the one with whom the cup was found."  Joseph said,  "Oh, no! I would never do that!   Only the one who had the cup will be my slave.  The rest of you may go back safe and sound to your father." 

  Judah went up to Joseph and said, " Please sir, allow me to speak with you freely,  Don't be angry with me; you are like the king himself.  Sir, you asked us, 'Do you have a father or another brother?  We answered, 'We have a father who is old and a younger brother, born to him in his old age.  The boy's brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother's children still alive; his father loves him very much.'  Sir, you told us to bring him here, so that you cold see him, and we answered that the boy could not leave his father; if he did, his father would die.  Then you said, ' You will not be admitted to my presence again unless your youngest brother comes with you.'  "When we went back to our father, we told him what you had said.  Then he told us to return and buy a little food."  We answered, ' We can not go; we will not be admitted to the man's presence unless our youngest brother is with us.  We can go only if our youngest brother goes also.'  Our father said to us, 'You know that my wife Rachel bore me only two sons.  One of them has already left me.  He must have been torn to pieces by wild animals, because I have not seen him since he left.  If you take this one from me now and something happens to him, the sorrow you would causes me would kill me, as old as I am.'  

       "And now, sir,"   Judah continued, "if I go back to my father without the boy, as soon as he sees that the boy is not wiht me, he will die.  His life is wrapped up wiht the life of the boy, ad he is so old that the sorrow we would cause him would kill him.  What is more, I pledged my life to my father for the boy.  I told him that if I did not bring the boy back to hi, I would bear the blame all my life.  And now, sir, I will stay here as your slave in place of the boy; let him go back wiht his brothers.  How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me?  I cannot bear to see this disaster come upon my father."   

       Joseph was no longer able to control his feelings in front of his servants, so he ordered them all to leave the room.  No one else was with him, when Joseph told his brothers who he was.  He cried with such loud sobs that the Egyptians heard it, and the news was taken to the king's palace.  

       Joseph said to his brothers, " I am Joseph.  Is my father still alive?"  But when his brothers heard this, they were so terrified that they could not answer.  Then Joseph said to them, " Please come closer."  They did, and he said, " I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.    Now do not be upset or blame yourselves because you sold me here.  It was really God who sent me ahead of you to save people's lives.  This is only the second year of  famine in the land; there will be five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor reaping.    God sent me ahead of you to rescue you in this amazing way and to make sure that you and your descendants survive.  So it was not really you who sent me here, but God.  He has mad me the king's highest official.  I am in charge of this whole country;  I am the ruler of all Egypt. 

        "Now hurry back to my father and tell him that this is what his son Joseph says: 'God has made me ruler of all Egypt; come to me without delay.  You can live in the region of Goshen, where you can be near me--you, your children, your grandchildren, your sheep, your goats, your cattle, and everything else that you have.  If you are in Goshen, I can take care of you.  there will still be five years of famine; and I do not want you, your family, and your livestock to starve.'"  

  Joseph continued, " Now all of you, and you too, Benjamin, can see that I am really Joseph.  Tell my father how powerful I am here in Egypt and tell him about everything that you have seen.  Then hurry and bring him here."  He threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and began to cry; Benjamin also cried as he hugged him.  Then, still weeping, he embraced each of his brothers and kissed them.  After that, his brothers began to talk with him. 

  When the news reached the palace that Joseph's brothers had come, the king and his officials were pleased.  He said to Joseph,  " Tell your brothers to load their animals and to return to the land of Canaan.  Let them get their father and their families and come back here.  I will give them the best land in Egypt, and they will have more than enough to live on.  Tell them also to take wagons wiht them from Egypt for their wives and small children and to bring their father wiht them.  They are not to worry about leaving their possessions behind; the best in the whole land of Egypt will be theirs." 

   Jacob's sons did as they were told.  Joseph gave them wagons, as the king had ordered, and food for the trip.  He also gave each of them a change of clothes, but he gave Benjamin three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of clothes.  He sent his father ten donkeys loaded wiht the best Egyptian goods and ten donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and other food for the  trip.   he sent his brothers off and as they left, he said to them,  "Don't quarrel on the way."  

       They left Egypt and went back home to their father Jacob in Canaan.   "Joseph is still alive!"  they told him. " He is the ruler of all Egypt!"  Jacob was stunned and could not believe them.  

       But when they told him all that Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to take him to Egypt, he recovered from the shock.  "My son Joseph is still alive! " he said. "This is all I could as for! I must go and see him before I die." 

   Jacob packed up all he had and went to Beersheba, where he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.  God spoke to him in a vision at night and called, " Jacob, Jacob!"  "Yes, here I am," he answered.  "I am God, the God of your father," he said. " Do not be afraid to go to Egypt; I will make your descendents a great nation there.  I will go with you to Egypt, and I will bring your descendants back to this land.  Joseph will be with you when you die."  Jacob set out from Beersheba. 

   His sons put him, their small children, and their wives in the wagons which the king of Egypt had sent.  they took their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan and went to Egypt.  Jacob took all his descendants with him: his sons, his grandsons, his daughters, and his granddaughters.  

  The members of Jacob's family who went to Egypt wiht him were his oldest son Reuben and Reuben's sons: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.  Simeon and his sons: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman.  Levi and his sons: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.  Judah and his sons: Shelah, Perez, and Zerah. ( Judah's other sons, Er and Onan, had died in Canaan.) 

       Perez's sons were Hezron and Hamul.  Issachar and his sons: Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron.    Zebulun and his sons: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.  these are the sons that Leah had borne to Jacob in Mesopotamia, besides his daughter Dinah. 

        In all, his descendants by Leah numbered thirty-three.  Gad and his sons: Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arod, and Areli.  Asher and his sons: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah.  Beriah's sons were Heber and Malchiel.  These sixteen are the descendants of Jacob by Zilpah, the slave girl whom Laban gave to his daughter Leah.  Jacob's wife Rachel bore him two sons: Joseph and Benjamin.  

  In Egypt Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, by Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in Heliopolis.  Benjamin's sons were Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.  

       These fourteen are the descendants of Jacob by Rachel.  Dan and his son Hushim.  Haphtali and his sons: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.  These seven are the descendants of Jacob by Bilhah, the slave girl whom Laban gave to his daughter Rachel.  

       The total number of the direct descendants of Jacob who went to Egypt was sixty-six, not including his sons' wives.  Two sons were born to Joseph in Egypt, bringing to seventy the total number of Jacob's family who went there.  

  Jacob sent Judah ahead to ask Joseph to meet them in Goshen.  When they arrived, Joseph got in his chariot and went to Goshen to meet his father.  when they met, Joseph threw his arms around his fathers' neck and cried for a long time.  

       Jacob said to Joseph, " I am ready to die, now that I have seen you and know that you are still alive."  

       Then Joseph said to his brothers and the rest of his father's family, " I must go and tell the king that my brothers and all my father's s family, who were living in Canaan, have come to me.  I will tell him that you are shepherds and take care of livestock and that you have brought your flocks and herds and everything else that belongs to you.  When the king calls for you and asks what your occupation is, be sure to tell him that your have taken care of livestock all your lives, just as your ancestors did.  In this way he will let you live in the region of Goshen."  Joseph said this because Egyptians will have  nothing to do with shepherds.  

       So Joseph took five of his brothers and went to the king.  He told him, " My father and my brothers have come from Canaan with their flocks, their herds, and all that they own.  they are now in the region of Goshen."  He then presented his brothers to the king.   The king asked them," What is your occupation?"  "We are shepherds, sir, just as our ancestors were," they answered.    "We have come to live in this country, because in the land of Canaan the famine is so severe that there is no pasture for our flocks.  Please give us permission to live in the region o Goshen."  The  king said to Joseph, " Now that your father and your brothers have arrived, the land of Egypt is theirs.  Let them settle in the region of Goshen, the best part of the land.  And if there are any capable men among them, put them in charge of my own livestock."  

       Then Joseph brought his father Jacob and presented him to the king.  Jacob gave the king his blessing, and the king asked him, "How old are you?"  Jacob answered," My life of wandering has lasted a hundred and thirty years.  Those years have been few and difficult, unlike the long years of my ancestors in their wandering."  Jacob gave the king a farewell blessing and left.  

       Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt, giving them property in the best of the land near the city of Rameses, as the king had commanded.  Joseph provided food for his father, his brothers, and all the rest of his father's family, including the very  youngest.  

       The famine was so severe that there was no food anywhere, and the people of Egypt and Canaan became weak with hunger.  As they bought grain, Joseph collected all the money and took it to the palace.  When all the money in Egypt and Canaan was spent, the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, " Give us food! Don't let us die.  Do something!  Our money is all gone."  Joseph answered," Bring your livestock; I will give you food in exchange for it if your money is all gone."  so they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. 

       That year he supplied them with food in exchange for al their livestock.  The following year they came to him and said, " We will not hide the fact from you, sir, that our money is all gone and our livestock belongs to you.  There is nothing left to give you except our bodies and our lands.  Don't let us die. Do something! Don't let our fields be deserted.  Buy us and our land in exchange for food.  We will be the king's slaves, and he will own our land.  Give us grain to keep us alive and seed so that we can plant our fields."  

  Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for the king.   Every Egyptian was forced to sell his land, because the famine was so severe; and all the land became the king's property.  Joseph made slaves of the people from one end of Egypt to the other.  The only land he did not buy was the land that belonged to the priests.  They did not have to sell their lands, because the king gave them an allowance to live on. 

   Joseph said to the people, " You see, I have now bought you and your lands for the king.  Here is seed for you to sow in your fields.  At the time of harvest you must give one-fifth to the king.  You can use the rest for seed and for good for yourselves and your families."  They answered," You have saved our lives; you have been good to us, sir, and we will be the king's slaves."  

  So Joseph made it a law for the land of Egypt  that one-fifth of the harvest should belong to the king.  This law still remains in force  today.  Only the lands of the priests did not become the king's property.  The Israelites lived in Egypt in the region of Goshen, where they became rich and had many children.    

Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, until he was a hundred and forty-seven years old.  When the time drew near for him to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, "Place your hand between my thighs and make a solemn vow that you will not bury me in Egypt.  I want to be buried where my fathers are; carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried."  Joseph answered, " I will do as you say."  Jacob said, "Make a vow that you will."  Joseph made the vow, and Jacob gave thanks there on his bed.  

  Some time later Joseph was told that his father was ill.  So he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and went to see Jacob.    When Jacob was told that his son Joseph had come to see hi, he gathered his strength and sat up in bed.  Jacob said to Joseph, "Almighty God appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me.  He said to me, ' I will give you many children, so that your descendants will become many nations; I will give this land to your descendants as their possession forever.'"  

       Jacob continued, " Joseph, our two sons, who were born to you in Egypt before I came here, belong to me; Ephraim and Manasseh are just as much my sons as Reuben and Simeon.  If  you have any ore sons, they will not be considered mine; the inheritance they get will come through Ephraim and Manasseh.  I am doing this because of your mother Rachel.  To my great sorrow she died in the land of Canaan, not far from Ephrath, as I was returning from Mesopotamia.  I buried her their beside the road to Ephrath. " ( Ephrath is now known as Bethlehem. )  

  When Jacob saw Joseph's sons, he asked, " Who are these boys?"  Joseph answered, " These are my sons, whom God had given me here in Egypt."  Jacob said, " Bring them to me so that I may bless them. "  

       Jacob's eyesight was failing because of his age, and he could not see very well. Joseph brought the boys to him, and he hugged them and kissed them.  Jacob said to Joseph,  " I never expected to see you again, and now god has even let me see your children."  

  Then Joseph took them from Jacob's lap and bowed down before him with his face to the ground.  Joseph put Ephraim at Jacob's left and Manasseh at his right.  But Jacob crossed his hands, and put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, even though he was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, who was the older.  

       Then he blessed Joseph:  "May God, whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac served, bless these boys!  May God, who has led me to this very day, bless them!  May the angel, who has rescued me from all harm, bless them!  May my name and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac live on through these boys! May they have many children, many descendant!"  Joseph was upset when he saw that his father had put his right hand on Ephraim's head; so he took his father's hand move it from Ephraim's head to the head of Manasseh.  

       He said to his father, " Not that way, father.  This is the older boy; put your right hand on his head."  His father refused, saying, " I know, son, I  know.  Manasseh's descendants will also become a great people.  But his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become great nations."  

       So he blessed them that day, saying, " The Israelites will use your names when they pronounce blessings.   They will say, ' May God make your like Ephraim and Manasseh.' "

        In this way Jacob put Ephraim before Manasseh.  Then Jacob said to Joseph, " As you see, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will take you back the land of your ancestors.  It is to your and not to your brothers that I am giving Shechem, that fertile region which I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow. "

Friend, can you not draw
encouragement and teaching
from this man of God? 

       God has a place for you; He has a work for you.  Are you in that place, and are you doing that work?

       If not, will you not listen to the still small voice of God's Spirit in your heart?  Will you not now listen to His Word and look to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation?
Repent and obey His divine Word.  Now is the time.  This is the hour to start.

 

May God help you to go forward
in the way of faith as did Joseph.

 

Amazing Change