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were opened, and the corn was sold, not only to the Egyptians, but also to the neighbouring nations, under the direction of Joseph. This famine was severely felt in Canaan; and Jacob, hearing that there was corn in Egypt, sent ten of his sons thither to buy corn; but Benjamin remained with his father,
Joseph had been nearly twenty years in Egypt when his ten brothers appeared, and “ bowed before him.” Instantly recollecting them, but not chusing to discover himself, he enquired who they were; and pretending to be dissatisfied with their account of themselves, he accused them of being spies, and cast them into prison. Joseph probably wished to recal their former wickedness to their remembrance, and to produce contrition by calamity; and if this were his intention, he appears to have succeeded ; for “ they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother ..... therefore is this distress come upon us (h).” At the end of three days, he sent for them out of prison, and supplied them with corn; but he detained Simeon, and bound him in the presence of his brothers. The rest he dismissed, commanding them to come back into Egypt with their youngest brother, to prove the truth of what
(h) Gen. c.42. v.21.
they had asserted; and promised that he would then restore Simeon, and suffer them to traffic in the land.
When Jacob was informed of everything which had passed in Egypt, he was astonished, and grieved to the soul. He recollected the loss of his favourite son Joseph; he lamented the detention of Simeon, and declared that he would not part with Benjamin. But the severity of the famive in Canaan, and the impossibility of procuring corn from any place, except Egypt, at length induced him to send Benjamin thither, with his other sons, for a fresh supply. Upon their return to Egypt, Joseph immediately ordered a feast to be prepared for them at his own house. When he received them there, the sight of his brother Benjamin (i), and the answers which they gave to his enquiries after their father Jacob, affected him so much, that “he sought where to weep; and entered into his chamber and wept (k).” But when he had composed himself, he returned, and entertained them with great kindness, distinguishing Benjamin with particular marks of regard. Before they departed the next morning, Joseph
privately (i) Benjamin was nearest his own age, and was the only one of his brothers by the sgıne mother, namely, Rachel.
(k) Gen. c. 43. v. 30.
privately ordered his steward to put his silver cup with the corn-money in Benjamin's sack; and when they had gone out of the city, they were, by Joseph's direction, pursued, overtaken, and charged with ingratitude and theft. Conscious of their innocence, they proposed, “that with whomsoever the cup was found he should die, and the rest become bondmen to Joseph (1).” And when, upon examination, the cup was found in Benjamin's sack, they expressed the greatest surprize and concern, and all readily returned to Joseph, who reproached them with seeming indignation. The address of Judah to his unknown brother on this trying occasion, is one of the most beautiful examples of natural eloquence it is possible to imagine. He recalled to Joseph's mind every thing which had passed when they were before in Egypt; related to him Jacob's distress at parting with. Benjamin ; stated the fatal consequences which must follow to their aged parent, if Benjamin did not return into Canaan; and offered himself to remain a bondman instead of Benjamin ; "For how," added he, “shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil' that shall come on my father (m).”—“Then Joseph
(1) Gen. c. 44. v. 9.
could not refrain himself before all thein that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man'to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians, and the house of Pharoah, heard. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph.— Doth my father yet live?-- And his brethren could not answer him, for they were troubled at his presence (n).” Joseph, perceiving their distress, endeavoured by every expression of kindness to confort them, and desired that they would go again into Canaan, and bring their venerable parent and all his family, that they might be placed in the land of Egypt, and partake of every good thing which the land afforded. returned into Canaan, and told their father that Joseph was alive, and governor of Egypt. The account appeared so incredible to Jacob, that he was with difficulty persuaded of its truth; but being at length convinced, he exclaimed in a transport of joy and gratitude, “ It is enough ; Joseph my son is yet alive. I will go and see him before I die (0).”--And Jacob, and all his family, with their cattle and goods, set out for Egypt. And as they rested at Beersheba, God
appeared (n) Gen. c. 45. v. 1, &c. re) Gen. c. 45. v. 28.
appeared unto Jacob in a dream, and said, “ Fear
including Joseph and bis two children, amounted
(9) Gen. C. 46. v. 3 and 4.
(r) There now went to Egypt, Jacob himself, and sixty-four sons and grandsons, together with one daughter, Dinah, and one grand daughter, Sarah ; these sixtyseven persons, added to Joseph and his two sons, who were already in Egypt, make up the number exactly seventy.
(s) Gen. C. 46. V. 34.