(Calvin, Genesis 2. part 19)

years' abundance, and as many years of want in corn and other seeds, as 
the vision of the ears of corn did: for the similitude, in the latter 
case, better agrees with the thing represented. 
  8. "In the morning his spirit was troubled." A sting was left in 
Pharaoh's heart, that he might know that he had to deal with God; for 
this anxiety was as an inward seal of the Spirit of God, to give 
authenticity to the dream; although Pharaoh deserved to be deprived of 
the advantage of this revelation, when he resorted to magicians and 
soothsayers, who were wont to turn the truth of God into a lie. He was 
convinced by a secret impulse that the dream sent by God portended 
something important; but he seeks out imposters, who would darken, by 
their fallacies, the light which was divinely kindled; and it is the 
folly of the human mind to gather to itself leaders and teachers of 
error. No doubt he believed them to be true prophets; but because he 
voluntarily closes his eyes, and hastens into the snare, his false 
opinion forms no sufficient excuse for him; otherwise men, by merely 
shutting their eyes, might have some plausible pretext for mocking God 
with impunity: and we see that many seek protection for themselves in 
that gross ignorance in which they knowingly and purposely involve 
themselves. Pharaoh, therefore, as far as he was able, deprived himself 
of the benefit of the prophecy, by seeking for magicians as the 
interpreters of it. So we see it daily happens that many lose hold of 
the truth, because they either bring a cloud over themselves by their 
own indolence, or too eagerly catch at false and spurious inventions. 
But because the Lord would, at that time, succor the kingdom of Egypt, 
he drew Pharaoh back, as by main force, from his error. 
  "There was none that could interpret." By this remedy God provided 
that the dream should not fail. We know what an inflated and impudent 
race of men these soothsayers were, and how extravagantly they boasted. 
How did it then happen that they gave the king no answer, seeing they 
might have trifled in any way whatever with a credulous man, who 
willingly suffered himself to be deluded? Therefore, that he might 
desist from inquiry, he is not allowed to find what he had expected in 
his magicians: and the Lord so strikes dumb the wicked workers of 
deceit, that they cannot even find a specious explanation of the dreams. 
Moreover, by this method, the anxiety of the king is sharpened; because 
he considers that what has escaped the sagacity of the magicians must be 
something very serious and secret. By which example we are taught, that 
the Lord provides the best for us, when he removes the incitements of 
error from those of us who with to be deceived; and we must regard it as 
a singular favour, when either false prophets are silenced, or their 
fatuity is, in any manner, discovered to us. As for the rest, the king 
might hence easily gather how frivolous and nugatory was the profession 
of wisdom, in which the Egyptians gloried above all others; for they 
boasted that they were possessed of the science of divination which 
ascended above the very heavens. But now, as far as they are concerned, 
the king is without counsel, and, being disappointed of his hope, is 
filled with anguish; nevertheless he does not so awake as to shake off 
his superstition. Thus we see that men, though admonished, remain still 
in their torpor. Whence we plainly perceive how inexcusable is the 
obstinacy of the world, which does not desist from following those 
delusions which are openly condemned as foolishness, from heaven. 
  9. "Then spake the chief butler." Although the Lord took pity on 
Egypt, yet he did it not for the sake of the king, or of the country, 
but that Joseph might, at length, be brought out of prison; and further, 
that, in the time of famine, food might be supplied to the Church: for 
although the produce was stored with no design beyond that of providing 
for the kingdom of Egypt; yet God chiefly cared for his Church, which he 
esteemed more highly than ten worlds. Therefore the butler, who had 
resolved to be silent respecting Joseph, is constrained to speak for the 
liberation of the holy man. In saying, "I do remember my faults this 
day," he is understood by some as confessing the fault of ingratitude, 
because he had not kept the promise he had given. But the meaning is 
different; for he could not speak concerning his imprisonment, without 
interposing a preface of this kind, through fear, lest suspicion should 
enter into the mind of the king, that his servant thought himself 
injured; or, should take offense, as if the butler had not been sensible 
of the benefit conferred upon him. We know how sensitive are the minds 
of kings; and the courtier had found this out by long experience: 
therefore he begins by acknowledging that he had been justly cast into 
prison. Whence it follows that he was indebted to the clemency of the 
king for restoration to his former state. 
  14. "Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph." We see in the person of a 
proud king, as in a glass, what necessity can effect. They whose 
circumstances are happy and prosperous will scarcely condescend to hear 
those whom they esteem true prophets, still less will they listen to 
strangers. Wherefore it was necessary that the obstinacy of Pharaoh 
should be first subdued, in order that he might send for Joseph, and 
accept him as his master and instructor. The same kind of preparation is 
also necessary even for the elect; because they never become docile 
until the pride of the flesh is laid low. Whenever, therefore, we are 
cast into grievous troubles, which keep us in perplexity and anxiety, 
let us know that God, in this manner, is accomplishing his design of 
rendering us obedient to himself. When Moses relates that Joseph, before 
he came into the presence of the king, changed his garments, we may 
hence conjecture that his clothing was mean. To the same point, what is 
added respecting his "shaving himself," ought, in my opinion, to be 
referred: for since Egypt was a nations of effeminate delicacy, it is 
probable that they, being studious of neatness and elegance, rather 
nourished their hair than otherwise. But as Joseph put off his squalid 
raiment, so, that he might have no remaining cause of shame, he is 
shaved. Let us know, then, that the servant of God lay in filth even to 
the day of his deliverance. 
  15. "And Pharaoh said unto Joseph." We see that Pharaoh offers himself 
as a disciple to Joseph, being persuaded, by the statement of the 
butler, that he is a prophet of God. This is, indeed, a constrained 
humility; but it is expressly recorded, in order that, when the 
opportunity of learning is afforded us, we may not refuse reverently to 
honour the gifts of the Spirit. Now, though Joseph, in referring Pharaoh 
to God, seems to deny that he himself is about to interpret the dream, 
yet his answer bears on a different point: for, because he knew that he 
was conversing with a heathen addicted to superstitions, he wishes, 
above all things, to ascribe to God the glory due to him; as if he had 
said, I am able to do nothing in this matter, nor will I offer anything 
as from myself; but God alone shall be the interpreter of his own 
secret. Should any one object, that whenever God uses the agency of men, 
their office ought to be referred to in connection with his command: 
that indeed I acknowledge, but yet so that the whole glory may remain 
with God; according to the saying of St. Paul, "Neither is he that 
planteth anything, neither he that watereth." (1 Cor. 3: 7.) Moreover, 
Joseph not only desires to imbue the mind of Pharaoh with some relish 
for piety, but, by ascribing the gift of interpreting dreams to God 
alone, confesses that he is destitute of it, until he obtains it from 
God. Wherefore, let us also learn, from the example of holy Joseph, to 
honour the grace of God even among unbelievers; and if they shut the 
door against the entire and full doctrine of piety; we must, at least, 
endeavor to instill some drops of it into their minds. Let us also 
reflect on this, that nothing is less tolerable than for men to arrogate 
to themselves anything as their own; for this is the first step of 
wisdom, to ascribe nothing to ourselves; but modestly to confess, that 
whatever in us is worthy of praise, flows only from the fountain of 
God's grace. It is especially worthy of notice, that as the Spirit of 
understanding is given to any one from heaven, he will become a proper 
and faithful interpreter of God. 
  16. "God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace." Joseph added this 
from the kindly feeling of his heart; for he did not yet comprehend what 
the nature of the oracle would be. Therefore he could not, in his 
character as a prophet, promise a successful and desirable issue; but, 
as it was his duty sincerely to deliver what he received from the Lord, 
however sad and severe it might prove; so, on the other hand, this 
liberty presented no obstacle to his wishing a joyful issue to the king. 
Therefore, what is here said to the king concerning peace, is a prayer 
rather than a prophecy. 
  17. "In my dream." This whole narration does not need to be explained, 
for Pharaoh only repeats what we have before considered, with the 
addition, that the lean cows, having devoured the fat ones, were 
rendered nothing better. Whereby God designed to testify, that the 
dearth would be so great, that the people, instead of being nourished by 
the abundance of food gathered together, would be famished, and drag on 
a miserable existence. Joseph, in answering that the two dreams were 
one, simply means, that one and the same thing was showed unto Pharaoh 
by two figures. But before he introduces his interpretation, he 
maintains that this is not a merely vanishing dream, but a divine 
oracle: for unless the vision had proceeded from God, it would have been 
foolish to inquire anxiously what it portended. Pharaoh, therefore, does 
not here labour in vain in inquiring into the counsel of God. The form 
of speaking, however, requires to be noticed; because Joseph does not 
barely say that God will declare beforehand what may happen from some 
other quarter, but what he himself is about to do. We hence infer, that 
God does not indolently contemplate the fortuitous issue of things, as 
most philosophers vainly talk; but that he determines, at his own will, 
what shall happen. Wherefore, in predicting events, he does not give a 
response from the tables of fate, as the poets feign concerning their 
Apollo, whom they regard as a prophet of events which are not in his own 
power, but declares that whatever shall happen will be his own work. So 
Isaiah, that he may ascribe to God alone the glory due to him, 
attributes to him, both the revealing of things future, and the 
government of ail his events, by his own authority. (Is. 45: 7.) For he 
cries aloud that God is neither deceived, nor deceives, like the idols; 
and he declares that God alone is the author of good and evil; 
understanding by evil, adversity. Wherefore, unless we would cast God 
down from his throne, we must leave to him his power of action, as well 
as his foreknowledge. And this passage is the more worthy of 
observation; because, in all ages, many foolish persons have endeavored 
to rob God of half his glory, and now (as I have said) the same figment 
pleases many philosophers; because they think it absurd to ascribe to 
God whatever is done in the world: as if truly the Scripture had in vain 
declared, that his "judgments are a great deep." (Ps. 36: 6.) But while 
they would subject the works of God to the judgment of their own brain, 
having rejected his word, they prefer giving credit to Plato respecting 
celestial mysteries. "That God," they say, "has foreknowledge of all 
things, does not involve the necessity of their occurrence:" as if, 
indeed, we asserted, that bare prescience was the cause of things, 
instead of maintaining the connection established by Moses, that God 
foreknows things that are future, because he had determined to do them; 
but they ignorantly and perversely separate the providence of God from 
his eternal counsel, and his continual operation. Above all things, it 
is right to be fully persuaded that, whenever the earth is barren, 
whether frost, or drought, or hail, or any other thing, may be the cause 
of it, the whole result is directed by the counsel of God. 
  32. "And for that the dream was doubled." Joseph does not mean to say, 
that what God may have declared but once, is mutable: but he would 
prevent Pharaoh's confidence respecting the event revealed, from being 
shaken. For since God pronounces nothing but from his own fixed and 
steadfast purpose, it is enough that he should have spoken once. But our 
dullness and inconstancy cause him to repeat the same thing the more 
frequently, in order that what he has certainly decreed, may be fixed in 
our hearts; otherwise, as our disposition is variable, so, what we have 
once heard from his mouth, is tossed up and down by us, until it 
entirely escapes our memory. Moreover, Joseph not only commemorates the 
stability of the heavenly decree, but also declares that what God has 
determined to do, is near at hand, lest Pharaoh himself should slumber 
in the confident expectation of longer delay. For though we confess that 
the judgments of God are always hanging over our heads, yet unless we 
are stimulated by the thought of their speedy approach, we are but 
slightly affected with anxiety and fear respecting them. 
  33. "Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man." Joseph does more than 
he had been asked to do; for he is not merely the interpreter of the 
dream; but, as fulfilling the office of a prophet, he adds instruction 
and counsel. For we know that the true and lawful prophets of God do not 
barely predict what will happen in future; but propose remedies for 
impending evils. Therefore Joseph, after he had uttered a prophecy of 
the changes which would take place in fourteen years, now teaches what 
ought to be done; and exhorts Pharaoh to be vigilant in the discharge of 
this duty. And one of the marks by which God always distinguished his 
own prophets from false prognosticators, was to endue them with the 
power of teaching and exhorting, that they might not uselessly predict 
future events. Let us grant that the predictions of Apollo, and of all 
the magicians were true, and were not entangled with ambiguous 
expressions; yet whither did they tend, but either to drive men headlong 
in perverse confidence, or to plunge them into despair? A very different 
method of prophesying was divinely prescribed, which would form men to 
piety, would lead them to repentance, and would excite them to prayer 
when oppressed with fear. Moreover, because the prophecy of which 
mention is here made, was published only for the temporal advantage of 
this fleeting life, Joseph proceeds no further than to show the king for 
what purpose the dream had been sent to him; as if he had said, "Be not 
sorry on account of this revelation; accept this advantage from it, that 
thou mayest succor the poverty of thy kingdom." However, there is no 
doubt that God guided his tongue, in order that Pharaoh might entrust 
him with this office. For he does not craftily insinuate himself into 
the king's favour; nor abuse the gift of revelation to his private gain: 
but, what had been divinely ordained was brought to its proper issue 
without his knowledge; namely, that the famishing house of Jacob should 
find unexpected sustenance. 
  35. "Under the hand of Pharaoh." Whereas prosperity so intoxicates 
men, that the greater part make no provision for themselves against the 
future, but absorb the present abundance by intemperance; Joseph advises 
the king to take care that the country may have its produce laid up in 
store. Besides, the common people would also form themselves to habits 
of frugality, when they understood that this great quantity of corn was 
not collected in vain by the king, but that a remedy was hereby sought 
for some unwonted calamity. In short, because luxury generally prevails 
in prosperity, and wastes the blessings of God, the bridle of authority 
was necessary. This is the reason why Joseph directed that garners 
should be established under the power of the king, and that corn should 
be gathered into them. He concludes at length, that the dream was 
useful, although at first sight, it would seem sad and inauspicious: 
because, immediately after the wound had been shown, the means of cure 
were suggested. 
  38. "Can we find such a one as this? We see that necessity is an 
excellent teacher. If prefects or judges are to be created, some one is 
advanced to the honour because he is a favorite, without consideration 
of his desert; whence it happens that they who are most unworthy 
frequently creep into office. And although we see political order 
disturbed and mankind involved in many inconveniences, because they who 
are least suitable, rashly push themselves, by wicked contrivances, into 
affairs for which they are not able to manage; nevertheless, ambition 
triumphs, and subverts equity. But necessity extorts a sober judgment. 
Pharaoh says nothing but what is naturally engraven on the hearts of all 
men, that honors ought to be conferred on none but competent persons, 
and such as God has furnished with the necessary qualifications. 
Experience, however, abundantly teaches, that this law of nature slips 
from the memory, whenever men are free to offend against it with 
impunity. Therefore the pride of Pharaoh was wisely so subdued, that he, 
setting aside ambition, preferred a foreigner just brought out of 
prison, to all his courtiers, because he excelled them in virtue. The 
same necessity restrained the nobles of the kingdom, so that they did 
not each contend, according to their custom, to obtain the priority of 
rank for themselves. And although it was but a compulsory modesty, 
inasmuch as they were ashamed to resist the public good; yet there is no 
doubt, that God inspired them with fear, so that, by the common consent 
of all, Joseph was made president of the whole kingdom. It is also to be 
observed that Pharaoh, though he had been infatuated by his soothsayers, 
nevertheless honors the gifts of the spirit in Joseph: because God, 
indeed, never suffers man to become so brutalized, as not to feel his 
power, even in their darkness. And therefore whatever impious defection 
may hurry them away, there still abides with them a remaining sense of 
Deity. Meanwhile, that knowledge is of little worth, which does not 
correct a man's former madness; for he despises the God whom with his 
mouth he proclaims: and has no conception of any other than I know not 
what confused divinity. This kind of knowledge often enlightens profane 
men, yet not so as to cause them to repent. Whereby we are admonished to 
regard any particular principle as of small value, till solid piety 
springs from it and flourishes. 
  40. "Thou shalt be over my house." Not only is Joseph made governor of 
Egypt, but is adorned also with the insignia of royalty, that all may 
reverence him, and may obey his command. The royal signet is put upon 
his finger for the confirmation of decrees. He is clothed in robes of 
fine linen, which were then a luxury, and were not to be had at any 
common price. He is placed in the most honorable chariot. It may, 
however, be asked, whether it was lawful for the holy man to appear with 
so great pomp? I answer, although such splendor can scarcely ever be 
free from blame, and therefore frugality in external ornaments is best; 
yet all kind of splendor in kings and other princes of the world is not 
to be condemned, provided they neither too earnestly desire it, nor make 
an ostentatious display of it. Moderation is, indeed, always to be 
cultivated; but since it was not in Joseph's power to prescribe the mode 
of investiture, and the royal authority would not have been granted to 
him without the accustomed pomp of state, he was at liberty to accept 
more than seemed in itself desirable. If the option be given to the 
servants of God, nothing is safer for them, than to cut off whatever 
they can of outward splendor. And where it is necessary for them to 
accommodate themselves to public custom, they must beware of all 
ostentation and vanity. With respect to the explanation of the words; 
whereas we render them, "At thy mouth all the people shall kiss," others 
prefer to read, "shall be armed;" others, "shall be fed at thy will or 
commandment;" but as the proper signification of the verb "nashak" is to 
kiss, I do not see why interpreters should twist it to another sense. 
Yet I do not think that here any special token of reverence is intended; 
but the phrase rather seems to be metaphorical, to the effect that the 
people should cordially receive and obediently embrace whatever might 
proceed from the mouth of Joseph: as if Pharaoh had said, "Whatever he 
may command, it is my will that the people shall receive with one 
consent, as if all should kiss him." "The second chariot," is read by 
the Hebrews in construction, for the chariot of the viceroy, who holds 
the second place from the king. The sense, however, is clear, that 
Joseph has the precedence of all the nobles of Egypt. 
  There are various opinions about the meaning of the word "avraich". 
They who explain it by "tender father," because Joseph, being yet in 
tender years, was endowed with the prudence and gravity of old age, seem 
to me to bring something from afar to correspond with their own fancy. 
They who render it "the father of the king," as if the word were 
compounded of the Hebrew noun "av", and the Arabic "rach", have little 
more colour for their interpretation. If, indeed, the word be Hebrew, 
the meaning preferred by others, "Bow the knee,", seems to me more 
probable. But because I rather suppose that Egyptian terms are referred 
to by Moses, both in this place and shortly afterwards, I advise the 
readers not to distort them in vain. And truly those interpreters are 
ridiculously subtle, who suppose that a Hebrew name was given him by an 
Egyptian king, which they render either "the Redeemer of the world," or 
"the Expounder of mysteries." I prefer following the Greek interpreters, 
who, by leaving both words untouched, sufficiently prove that they 
thought them to be of a foreign language. That the father-in-law of 
Joseph was, as is commonly believed, a priest, is what I cannot refute, 
though I can scarcely be induced to believe it. Therefore, since "cohen" 
signifies a prince as well as a priest, it seems to me probable that he 
was one of the nobles of the court, who might also be the satrap or 
prefect of the city of On. 
  46. "And, Joseph was thirty years old." For two reasons Moses records 
the age at which Joseph was advanced to the government of the kingdom. 
First, because it is seldom that old men give themselves up to be 
governed by the young: whence it may be inferred that it was by the 
singular providence of God that Joseph governed without being envied, 
and that reverence and majesty were given him beyond his years. For if 
there was danger lest Timothy's youth should render him contemptible, 
Joseph would have been equally exposed to contempt, unless authority had 
been divinely procured for him. And although he could not have obtained 
this authority by his own industry, yet it is probable that the 
extraordinary virtues with which God had endowed him, availed not a 
little to increase and confirm it. A second reason for noting his age 
is, that the reader may reflect on the long duration of the sufferings 
with which he had been, in various ways, afflicted. And however humane 
his treatment might have been; still, thirteen years of exile, which had 
prevented his return to his father's house, not merely by the bond of 
servitude, but also by imprisonment, would prove a most grievous trial. 
Therefore, it was only after he had been proved by long endurance, that 
he was advanced to a better state. Moses then subjoins, that he 
discharged his duties with diligence and with most punctual fidelity; 
for the circuit taken by him, which is here mentioned, was a proof of no 
common industry. He might, indeed, have appointed messengers, on whose 
shoulders he could have laid the greater part of the labour and trouble; 
but because he knew himself to be divinely called to the work, as one 
who had to render an account to the divine tribunal, he refused no part 
of the burden. And Moses, in a few words, praises his incredible 
prudence, in having quickly found out the best method of preserving the 
corn. For it was an arduous task to erect storehouses in every city, 
which should contain the entire produce of one year, and a fifth part 
more. This arrangement was also not less a proof of sagacity, in 
providing that the inhabitants of any given region should not have to 
seek food at a distance. Immediately afterwards his integrity is 
mentioned, which was equally deserving of praise; because in the immense 
accumulation which was made, he abstained from all self-indulgence, just 
as if some humble office only, had been assigned to him. But it is to 
the praise of both these virtues that, after he has collected immense 
heaps, he remits nothing of his wonted diligence, until he has 
accomplished all the duties of the office which he had undertaken. The 
ancient proverb says, "Satiety produces disgust," and in the same manner 
abundance is commonly the mother of idleness. Whence, therefore, is it, 
that the diligence of Joseph holds on its even course, and does not 
become remiss at the sight of present abundance, except because he 
prudently considers, that, however great the plenty might be, seven 
years of famine would swallow it all up? He manifested also his 
fidelity, and his extraordinary care for the public safety, in this, 
that he did not become weary by the assiduous labour of seven years, nor 
did he ever rest till he had made provision for the seven years which 
still remained. 
  50. "And unto Joseph were born two sons." Although the names which 
Joseph gave his sons in consequence of the issue of his affairs, breathe 
somewhat of piety, because in them he celebrates the kindness of God: 
yet the oblivion of his father's house, which, he says, had been brought 
upon him, can scarcely be altogether excused. It was a pious and holy 
motive to gratitude, that God had caused him to "forget" all his former 
miseries; but no honour ought to have been so highly valued, as to 
displace from his mind the desire and the remembrance of his father's 
house. Granted that he is Viceroy of Egypt, yet his condition is 
unhappy, as long as he is an exile from the Church. Some, in order to 
exculpate the holy man, explain the passage as meaning that he so 
rejoiced in the present favour of God, as to make him afterwards 
forgetful of the injuries inflicted upon him by his brethren; but this 
(in my judgment) is far too forced. And truly, we must not anxiously 
labour to excuse the sin of Joseph; but rather, I think, we are 
admonished how greatly we ought to be on our guard against the 
attractions of the world, lest our minds should be unduly gratified by 
them. Behold Joseph, although he purely worships God, is yet so 
captivated by the sweetness of honour, and has his mind so clouded, that 
he becomes indifferent to his father's house, and pleases himself in 
Egypt. But this was almost to wander from the fold of God. It was, 
indeed, a becoming modesty, that from a desire of proclaiming the Divine 
goodness towards him, he was not ashamed to perpetuate a memorial of his 
depressed condition in the names of his sons. They who are raised on 
high, from an obscure and ignoble position, desire to extinguish the 
knowledge of their origin, because they deem it disgraceful to 
themselves. Joseph, however, regarded the commendation of Divine grace 
more highly than an ostentatious future nobility. 
  53. "And the seven years ... were ended." Already the former unwonted 
fertility, which showed Joseph to have been a true prophet, had procured 
for him a name and reputation; and in this way the Egyptians had been 
restrained from raising any tumult against him. Nevertheless, it is 
wonderful that a people so proud should have borne, in the time of 
prosperity, the rule of a foreigner. But the famine which followed 
proved a more sharp and severe curb for the subjugation of their lofty 
and ferocious spirits, in order that they might be brought into 
subjection to authority. When, however, Moses says that there was corn 
in all the land of Egypt, while the neighboring regions were suffering 
from hunger, he seems to intimate that wheat had also been laid up by 
private persons. And, indeed, (as we have said elsewhere,) it was 
impossible but the rumour of the approaching famine would be spread 
abroad, and would everywhere infuse fears and solicitude, so that each 
person would make some provision for himself. Nevertheless, however 
provident each might be, what they had preserved would, in a short time, 
be consumed. Whence it appeared with what skill and prudence Joseph had 
perceived from the beginning, that Egypt would not be safe, unless 
provisions were publicly gathered together under the hand of the king. 
  55. "Go unto Joseph." It is by no means unusual for kings, while their 
subjects are oppressed by extreme sufferings, to give themselves up to 
pleasures. But Moses here means something else; for Pharaoh does not 
exonerate himself from the trouble of distributing corn, because he 
wishes to enjoy a repose free from all inconvenience; but because he has 
such confidence in holy Joseph, that he willingly leaves all things to 
him, and does not allow him to be disturbed in the discharge of the 
office which he had undertaken. 
Chapter XLII. 
1 Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his 
sons, Why do ye look one upon another? 
2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you 
down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die. 
3 And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. 
4 But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for 
he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him. 
5 And the sons of Israel came to buy [corn] among those that came: for 
the famine was in the land of Canaan. 
6 And Joseph [was] the governor over the land, [and] he [it was] that 
sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and 
bowed down themselves before him [with] their faces to the earth. 
7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself 
strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, 
Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. 
8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him. 
9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said 
unto them, Ye [are] spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. 
10 And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy 
servants come. 
11 We [are] all one man's sons; we [are] true [men], thy servants are no 
12 And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye 
are come. 
13 And they said, Thy servants [are] twelve brethren, the sons of one 
man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest [is] this day with 
our father, and one [is] not. 
14 And Joseph said unto them, That [is it] that I spake unto you, 
saying, Ye [are] spies: 
15 Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go 
forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. 
16 Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept 
in prison, that your words may be proved, whether [there be any] truth 
in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye [are] spies. 
17 And he put them all together into ward three days. 
18 And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; [for] I 
fear God: 
19 If ye [be] true [men], let one of your brethren be bound in the house 
of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: 
20 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be 
verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so. 
21 And they said one to another, We [are] verily guilty concerning our 
brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, 
and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. 
22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do 
not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, 
also his blood is required. 
23 And they knew not that Joseph understood [them]; for he spake unto 
them by an interpreter. 
24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them 
again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him 
before their eyes. 
25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore 
every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: 
and thus did he unto them. 
26 And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence. 
27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the 
inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it [was] in his sack's mouth. 
28 And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, [it is] 
even in my sack: and their heart failed [them], and they were afraid, 
saying one to another, What [is] this [that] God hath done unto us? 
29 And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and 
told him all that befell unto them; saying, 
30 The man, [who is] the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took 
us for spies of the country. 
31 And we said unto him, We [are] true [men]; we are no spies: 
32 We [be] twelve brethren, sons of our father; one [is] not, and the 
youngest [is] this day with our father in the land of Canaan. 
33 And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I 
know that ye [are] true [men]; leave one of your brethren [here] with 
me, and take [food for] the famine of your households, and be gone: 
34 And bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye 
[are] no spies, but [that] ye [are] true [men: so] will I deliver you 
your brother, and ye shall traffick in the land. 
35 And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every 
man's bundle of money [was] in his sack: and when [both] they and their 
father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid. 
36 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved [of my 
children]: Joseph [is] not, and Simeon [is] not, and ye will take 
Benjamin [away]: all these things are against me. 
37 And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I 
bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to 
thee again. 
38 And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is 
dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the 
which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the 
  1. "Now when Jacob saw." Moses begins, in this chapter, to treat of 
the occasion which drew Jacob with his whole family into Egypt; and thus 
leaves it to us to consider by what hidden and unexpected methods God 
may perform whatever he has decreed. Though, therefore, the providence 
of God is in itself a labyrinth; yet when we connect the issue of things 
with their beginnings, that admirable method of operation shines clearly 
in our view, which is not generally acknowledged, only because it is far 
removed from our observation. Also our own indolence hinders us from 
perceiving God, with the eyes of faith, as holding the government of the 
world; because we either imagine fortune to be the mistress of events, 
or else, adhering to near and natural causes, we weave them together, 
and spread them as veils before our eyes. Whereas, therefore, scarcely 
any more illustrious representation of Divine Providence is to be found 
than this history furnishes; let pious readers careful]y exercise 
themselves in meditation upon it, in order that they may acknowledge 

(continued in part 20...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: cvgn2-19.txt