Joseph Part Three

Part Three

Cartoon Of Man with a key and Bible The complete story is in the Old Testament of the Bible, Genesis Chapters 37 to 46

Back to Joseph and the Special Coat Part One or back to Part Two

Egyptians sowing grain.Joseph had learned to trust God and to do his work well, as a slave and even in prison. He set about his important duties in just the same way.

He travelled the length and breadth of Egypt. In every city he gave orders for huge storage buildings to be put up, to hold grain.

Seven years of wonderful harvests brought huge quantities of grain. Joseph arranged for it to be stored all over the country.

Before the seven years were up, the new storehouses were so full that even Joseph had lost count of how much grain they held.

Egyptian filling storehouses with grain.Then came the lean and hungry years, when no crops would grow. Joseph was busier than ever, selling the grain and seeing that it was fairly shared out.

Soon, people living in nearby countries, who were also hit by famine, heard that there was grain to be had in Egypt. They travelled to Joseph, to ask if they too could buy grain to take home to their own lands.

Back in the land of Canaan, Jacob and his sons were hungry too.

“I hear that they have grain to sell in Egypt,” Jacob told his sons. “Go there and buy some for us.” All the brothers set out, except for Benjamin. Jacob could not bear to be parted from him, for he was the only remaining child of Rachel – the wife he had loved so dearly.

Picture Of Joseph dressed as an Egyptian.As soon as the ten strangers were ushered into the presence of Joseph, he recognized his brothers.But they had no idea who he was. They never expected their brother to be alive, let alone the governor of all Egypt. Besides, he was dressed like an Egyptian.

“Where do you come from?” Joseph asked, sternly. He spoke in the Egyptian language and a servant translated all that was said.

“From Canaan,” they answered. “We have come to buy grain.”

“I don’t believe a word of it!” Joseph said. “I think you are a bunch of spies, come to find out what is going on here.”

“We are honest men,” they protested.

“Then tell me all about yourselves,” Joseph insisted.

“There were twelve of us, all brothers,” they began. “But one brother is dead and the youngest is so dear to his father that he would not let him come with us.”

Joseph felt strange when he heard himself described as dead, but he did not let his feelings show.

Picture Of An Egyptian Scene.“Prove that you are innocent by bringing that youngest brother with you next time you come,” he ordered. “I am going to keep one of you here as a hostage until you return.”

Simeon was taken away and put into prison. The others were allowed to go back to Canaan, with sacks full of grain.

When they arrived home and opened the sacks they were horrified to find their own bags of money lying on top of the grain. They had been given back all they had paid.

“Now we’ll be accused of being thieves, as well as spies,” they cried.

They did not know that Joseph had told his servants to put the money there. He was trying to find out what kind of men those cruel brothers had turned out to be.

Picture of Jacob.Little by little their supply of Egyptian grain ran out and soon Jacob and his large family were hungry again.

“You must go back to Egypt to buy more,” Jacob told his sons.

“Only if we can take Benjamin with us,”they insisted.

“Never!” Jacob cried. “Joseph is dead, Simeon in prison and now you want to take Benjamin away!”

“We shall all be put to death as spies if we don’t,” the brothers reasoned.

Then Judah, the one who had suggested selling Joseph as a slave so many years before, spoke up. “I promise on my life to take care of Benjamin,” he said to Jacob. “I will be responsible for him.”

Sadly and reluctantly Jacob agreed, and watched them all leave for Egypt.

To their great relief they were kindly welcomed and shown to Joseph’s house.

When, after so long, Joseph saw his own brother Benjamin, he could hardly hold back tears of joy. He ordered Simeon to be released and then invited them all to dinner.

When they came in nervously to sit at the table, they were amazed to find that they had been placed in exact order of age. How could anyone have known?

Picture of sand dunes.Benjamin was served with extra large helpings, on Joseph’s orders.

The brothers were full of thankfulness and relief. Their troubles seemed to be over. Soon they would all be safely on their way home, with fresh supplies of grain.

A cheerful and relaxed band of brothers took the return route to Canaan. All was well and Benjamin was safe.

Suddenly, out of the blue, they saw a distant horseman speeding towards them. As he came nearer they recognized, with sinking hearts, a servant of the governor of Egypt.

“How dare you steal my master’s best silver cup?” he shouted, as he drew level with them.

Picture of sand dunes.“We don’t know what you mean,” they protested. “We have stolen nothing. If any one of us has the cup you can put him to death and keep the rest of us as slaves.”

Roughly, the servant searched their baggage and opened their sacks of grain. The last sack he opened was Benjamin’s. There, glinting in the sun, nestled the precious cup.

The brothers were horror-struck. They reloaded their donkeys and silently followed the servant back to Joseph. They little guessed that all that had happened was part of Joseph’s plan to find out what kind of people they really were.

When he had heard the servant’s report, Joseph pronounced, “None but the guilty man shall be my slave.”

Then Judah stepped bravely forward. “If you keep Benjamin, my father will die of grief. Please keep me instead.”

Joseph could hardly believe his ears. His brothers were very different now from the heartless gang who had sold him as a slave and made his father believe he was dead. There were tears in his eyes. He could not keep the truth from them any longer.

Joseph reveals himself to his brothers.“Please leave the room!” he told the servants. Then he spoke to his brothers for the first time in their own language.

“I am Joseph,” he told them, “your long-lost brother.”

The brothers were terrified when the truth at last sank in. The great governor of Egypt was none other than the brother they had treated so badly many years before. Now he would make them pay for it.

But, instead, Joseph told them to come close to him. Then he hugged and kissed them all in turn, beginning with Benjamin.

“Don’t blame yourselves for what you did,” he said kindly. “God had a plan when he brought me here. I have been able to save many lives.”

Jacob's whole family moves to Egypt“Now you must hurry back to fetch our father and all your families. There are still five more years of famine to come. I will see you settled in Goshen, where the pasture is good for your flocks.’

Then, at last, there was laughter and talking and great excitement.

The inquisitive servants were listening and gossiped to everyone. The good news reached the ears of the king himself and soon the brothers set off for home.

“Joseph is still alive!” they called out to Jacob, “and he is governor of all Egypt.”

Old Jacob would not believe them, until he saw the wonderful presents that Joseph had sent to him. Then the whole family packed up their tents and all their belongings.

They gathered their flocks and herds together and began the slow journey to Egypt, to settle in the land that Joseph was preparing for them.

Back to Joseph and the Special Coat Part One or back to Part Two

Cartoon Of Man with a key and Bible The complete story is in the Old Testament of the Bible, Genesis Chapters 37 to 46

 

All the images are courtesy and © copyright of 

Christian Computer Art Christian Computer Art Logo Image and

also Neferchichi Photo of a dog wearing Egyptian headdress.

Fairtrade support badge 9b PNG

This website designed by and all photographs are the © copyright of 

Bob Douglas unless otherwise stated.

[Top of page]