Imágenes de páginas

they had brought with them, and bowed themselves down to the ground.

And he asked them of their father, if he was well; they answered, “Thy servant our father is in good health,” and bowed again.

Now when Joseph looked up and saw Benjamin, his brother, he was much affected, and was obliged to retire to his chamber; and there, we are told, he wept.

He then washed his face, and went out unto them, but he did not let them see how he was affected; and told his servants “to set on bread;" they then set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians who did eat with him, by themselves. For the Egyptians were not allowed to eat bread with the Hebrews.

“ And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth,” which caused the brethren to marvel much at one another.

“ And he sent messes to them from his own table, but Benjamin's mess was five times as much as any of the others; and they ate, drank, and were merry.”

Joseph called his steward, and told him to fill the men's sacks with as much food as they could carry, and to put every man's money in his sack's mouth. And to put his silver cup in the sack's mouth of the youngest, and also his money with it; and the steward did as Joseph had com. manded him.

As soon as the morning was light, they started on their journey homeward. They had hardly got out of the city, when a messenger came running after them in great haste; when he came up, he accused them of having taken away

bis lord's silver cup; but they, being confident in their own minds it must be a mistake, told the messenger to search, and that on whomsoever it should be found, “ let him die,” and the others would be bondsmen to his lord..

Then began they to search their sacks, beginning at the eldest, and when they came to Benjamin's sack, there the cup was found; their surprise and grief were indescribable,

* * * * they reloaded their asses, and returned to the city.

They were then brought before Joseph, who said “ What is this that ye have done? did ye not think a man like me could divine ?” (or find you out.) Judah could hardly make any answer for grief,—at last he told him God had found out their wickedness, and they offered all to be Joseph's servants; but Joseph said, “ God forbid that I should do 80,—no, he on whom the cup was found, he shall be my servant; get ye home in peace unto your father.”

Then Judah came near unto him, and requested to be allowed to speak again, saying, “ My lord asked his servants, when we first came, have ye a father or a brother and we said, “We have a father, an old man; and also a child of his old age, a little one: his brother is dead, and he is left alone with his father, -his father loveth him dearly.' And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may see him.' We said, “The lad cannot leave his father, or he will die.' Then thou saidst unto thy servants, • Ex. cept ye bring your brother, ye shall see my face no more.'

We told thy words unto our father, when he wanted us to buy more food, who said to us, “Ye know that my wife bare me two sons, one went out from me and was torn in

pieces, and I saw him not since: and if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye will bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.'

“Now, therefore, if we go back to our father without our brother, he will surely die, and we shall be the cause.

Thy servant was surety that no harm should come to the lad; now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide in the place of the lad as a bondman, and let him go with his brethren; for how shall I be able to meet my father, if the lad be not with me,-lest harm come to my father?".

Joseph could not refrain himself any longer, after Judah's heart-rending address; but caused all around to leave him, except his brothers : and then made himself known unto them.

He was much affected and wept aloud; Joseph again asked “Doth my father yet live ?” his brethren were much troubled at his presence, and could not answer him.

Joseph affectionately told them to come nearer, saying, “ I am Joseph, whom ye sold into Egypt,” but, be not grieved, or angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither, for God did send me before you, to preserve life.

For two years hath the famine been in the land, and it is to continue for five years more : God sent me before you, to preserve your posterity, and save your lives by a great deliverance. So it was not you that sent me hither, but God. He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and all his house; and ruler throughout all Egypt.

“ Go immediately to my father, and tell him so. and also tell him to come down unto me: tarry not, for thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, thou and thy children: and

thy children's children, and thy flocks and herds, and all that thou hast, and be near unto me; and then I will nourish thee during the coming five years of famine, lest thou and thy household come to poverty."

Then he fell on Benjamin's neck and wept again, and afterwards introduced all his brethren.

It soon got to Pharaoh's ears that Joseph's brethren had come; and he commanded that they should be well treated ; and told them to bring their father and the children down to Egypt, where they should be well used.

And Joseph gave them provisions for the way home,to all he gave changes of clothing; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of clothing. To his father he sent ten asses laden with all the good things of Egypt; ten she-asses laden with corn, and bread, and meat, for his father by the way.

So his brethren departed; and when they arrived at Canaan, they told unto Jacob all that had happened, and he fainted away * * * * * he did not believe them; but when he saw the waggons, and all that Joseph had sent, his spirits revived; and he said, “It is enough, Joseph is alive. I will go and see him before I

[ocr errors]

Jacob, accompanied by all his family, started on their journey to Egypt, and took their cattle, and their goods from Canaan with them. He sent Judah to go before, to direct him to Goshen, where he was to meet Joseph.

Great was the joy of the meeting," they fell on each other's neck and wept,” Jacob saying, “ Now let me die, since I have seen thy face again.”

Joseph presented his father to Pharaoh, and by his direction placed his father and brethren in the land of Goshen, whence their return to Canaan might be easy when the famine was over.

The famine in Egypt kept increasing, so that Joseph, by the sale of corn, drew all the money of Egypt into the king's exchequer, or treasury; when money failed, he gave the Egyptians corn for their flocks and herds: these being exhausted, he sold them corn for their lands and persons.

Thus all the Egyptians became, to a certain extent, the property of the king; and they paid him, yearly, a fifth part of all their crops, as the proprietor of their lands.

Jacob dwelt in Goshen seventeen years, and died at a great age. Joseph caused his physicians to embalm him, according to the manner of the time among the Egyptians. As my young readers may see for themselves in the Egyptian Gallery of the British Museum, where there are bodies that have been kept, by the process of embalming, for upwards of 2,000 years.

After Joseph's return from the funeral, his brethren, as in their father's name, by messengers, begged that he would forgive them the injury they would have done him, in resolving to murder him, and afterwards in selling him for a slave.

But Joseph soon comforted them, and said he would keep them and their little ones as long as he lived.

Joseph lived a prosperous and happy life, and died at a very advanced age, a. M., or the year of the world, 2369.

Having gone through the principal parts of Joseph's eventful career, there is one lesson we should like to impress

« AnteriorContinuar »