but forgot him; never more thought of him, of the favour he had done him in interpreting his dream; of the request he made to him, and of the promise which he had probably given him; which was an instance of great ingratitude, and is frequently the case and character of courtiers, who being in high places themselves, neglect others, their petitions to them, and their own promises to do all they can for them.
INTRODUCTION TO Genesis 41
In this chapter are related Pharaoh's dreams, which his magicians could not interpret, Genesis 41:1, upon which the chief butler now remembering Joseph, recommended him to Pharaoh as an interpreter, having had an happy experience of him as such himself, Genesis 41:10, when Joseph was sent for out of prison; and Pharaoh having related his dreams, he interpreted them of seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine, that should be in the land of Egypt, Genesis 41:14; and having done, he gave his advice to provide in the years of plenty against the years of famine, and proposed a scheme for doing it, which was approved of by Pharaoh and his ministers, Genesis 41:33; and Joseph himself was pitched upon as the most proper person to execute it, and was appointed chief over the kingdom next to Pharaoh, who gave him a new name and a wife upon this occasion, Genesis 41:38; accordingly, in the years of plenty he took a tour throughout the whole land, and gathered and laid up food in vast quantities in every city, Genesis 41:46; an account is given of two sons born to Joseph, and of their names, Genesis 41:50; and of the seven years of famine, beginning to come on at the end of the seven years of plenty, which brought great distress on the land of Egypt, and the countries round about, who all came to Joseph to buy corn, Genesis 41:53.
that Pharaoh dreamed, and, behold, he stood by the river; it seemed to him, in his dream, as if he stood near the river Nile, or some canal or flow of water cut out of that river.
and they fed in a meadow; adjoining to the river, where there was good pasture for them, and gives a reason of their being in so good a condition.
and stood by the other kine; and looked so much the worse, when compared with them:
upon the brink of the river; it not being overflowed, so that there was no grass to be had, but just upon the bank, where these kept for that purpose; for the fruitfulness of Egypt was owing to the river Nile; as that overflowed or did not, there was plenty or famine; hence both these sorts of creatures came up out of that.
so Pharaoh awoke; through surprise at the strange sight he had in his dream.
and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good; which were very uncommon even in those fruitful countries; though Dr. Shaw (e) observes of Barbary, which vied with Egypt for fruitfulness, that it sometimes happens that one stalk of wheat will bear two ears, while each of these ears will as often shoot out into a number of lesser ones, thereby affording a most plentiful increase.
(e) Travels, p. 137. Ed. 2.
sprung up after them; after the seven full ears, in the same place the other did, or near unto them.
and Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream; not a real fact, but a dream; yet not a common dream, but had some important signification in it; it not vanishing from his mind, but abode upon it, which made him conclude there was something more than common in it, and made him very desirous to have the interpretation of it.
and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof; who pretended to have great skill in the things of nature, and in astrology and other sciences, by which they pretended to know future events, and to interpret dreams among other things; and show what they portended, and what things would happen for the accomplishment of them:
and Pharaoh told them his dream; both his dreams, which for the similarity of them, and there being so little interruption between them, are represented as one dream; for that both were told them appears by what follows:
but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh; they were nonplussed and confounded, and did not know what to say; the things were so strange and surprising that he related, that they could not offer any conjectures about them, or, if they did, they were very unsatisfactory to Pharaoh.
saying, I do remember my faults this day; which some interpret of his forgetfulness of Joseph and his afflictions, and of his ingratitude to him, and breach of promise in not making mention of him to Pharaoh before this time; but they seem rather to be faults he had committed against Pharaoh, and were the reason of his being wroth with him, as in Genesis 41:10; and these were either real faults, which the king had pardoned, or however such as he had been charged with, and cleared from; and which he now in a courtly manner takes to himself, and owns them, that the king's goodness and clemency to him might appear, and lest he should seem to charge the king with injustice in casting him into prison; which circumstance he could not avoid relating in the story he was about to tell.
and put me in ward in the captain of the guard's house: in consequence of his wrath and displeasure, for crimes really or supposed to be committed by him; and the captain of the guard's house was a prison, or at least there was a prison in it for such sort of offenders; and this was Potiphar's, Joseph's master's, house:
both me and the chief baker; which explains who the officers were Pharaoh was wroth with, and who were for their offences committed to prison.
(f) Juchasin, fol. 135. 2.((g) Annales Ver. Test. p. 14.
we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream; they both dreamed exactly what should befall them, as it was interpreted to them; the dreams, the interpretation of them, and the events, answered to each other.
an Hebrew servant to the captain of the guard; he first describes him by his age, a young man, then by his descent, an Hebrew, and by his state and condition, a servant; neither of them tended much to recommend him to the king:
and we told him; that is, their dreams:
and he interpreted to us our dream, to each man according to his dream did he interpret; told them what their dreams presignified, what the events would be they portended; the interpretation was different according to their dreams.
me he restored unto my office, and him he hanged: that is, Joseph interpreted the butler's dream to such a sense, that he should be restored to his butlership, and accordingly he was; and the baker's dream, that he should be hanged, and so he was. Aben Ezra and Jarchi interpret this of Pharaoh, that he restored the one, and hanged the other, or ordered these things to be done, which answered to Joseph's interpretation of the dreams; but the former sense seems best, for Joseph is the person immediately spoken of in the preceding clause; nor would it have been so decent for the butler, in the presence of Pharaoh, to have spoken of him without naming him, and which would have been contrary to his usage before.
and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon; that is, out of the prison house; which, as Jarchi says, was made like a ditch or dungeon, or in which the dungeon was where Joseph was first put when he was brought to prison; though it cannot be thought that he continued there when he had so much respect shown him by the keeper, and had other prisoners committed to his care: however, he was fetched in great haste from his place of confinement, by the messengers that were sent for him; or "they made him to run" (h), from the prison to the palace, the king being so eager to have his dream interpreted to him:
and he shaved himself; or the barber shaved him, as Aben Ezra; his beard had not been shaved, nor the hair of his head cut very probably for a considerable time; it being usual for persons in such circumstances to neglect such things:
and changed his raiment; his prison garments being such as were not fit to appear in before a king, and put on others, which either the king sent him, or the captain of the guard his master furnished him with:
and came in unto Pharaoh: into his palace, and his presence; what city it was in which this Pharaoh kept his palace, is no where said; very probably it was which the Scriptures call Zoan, that being the ancient city of Egypt, Numbers 13:22.
(h) "et currere fecerunt eum", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Vatablus; "et fecerunt ut curreret", Piscator.
I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it; that he could yet meet with; none of his magicians or wise men, who made great pretensions to skill in such matters:
and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it; it had been reported to him, particularly by the chief butler, that when he heard a dream told him, he had such knowledge and understanding, that he could interpret it, tell the meaning of it, what it portended, and what would be the events signified by it.
God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace; such an answer to his request in the interpretation of his dream, as shall give him full content, and make his mind quiet and easy, and which shall tend to the welfare of him and his kingdom. Some render the words as a prayer or wish, "may God give Pharaoh", &c. (i); so as it were addressing his God, that he would be pleased to make known to him his interpretation of the dream to the satisfaction of Pharaoh: but the other sense seems best, which expresses his faith in God, that he would do it, and to whom it should be ascribed, and not unto himself.
(i) "respondeat", Vatablus.
in my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river; the river Nile, where he could have a full sight of what were after presented to his view.
very ill favoured, and leanfleshed; see Gill on Genesis 41:3, but
poor, thin, meagre, exhausted of their flesh and strength through some disease upon them, or want of food: and it follows, what was not before expressed:
such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt, for badness; so poor, so lean, and so ill favoured; for whatever might be seen in other countries, never were such seen in Egypt, which was famous for good cattle.
it could not be known that they had eaten them: or were in their bellies, they seemed never the fuller nor the fatter for them:
but they were still ill favoured as at the beginning; looked as thin and as meagre as they did when they first came out of the river, or were first seen by Pharaoh:
so I awoke; surprised at what he had seen; this was his first dream.
(k) "et venerunt ad interiora earum", Pagninus, Montanus; "in ventrem istarum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Tigurine version.
and, behold, seven ears, &c. See Gill on Genesis 41:5.
and I told this unto the magicians; just in the same manner as he had to Joseph:
but there was none that could declare it unto me; the meaning of it; what all this should signify or portend.
God hath showed Pharaoh what he is about to do; that is, by the above dreams, when they should be interpreted to him; for as yet he understood them not, and therefore there could be nothing showed him, but when interpreted it would be clear and plain to him what events were quickly to be accomplished: God only knows things future, and those to whom he is pleased to reveal them, and which he did in different ways, by dreams, visions, articulate voices, &c.
and the seven good ears are seven years; signify the same:
the dream is one; for though the seven good kine were seen in one dream, the seven good ears in another, yet both dreams were one as to signification.
and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine: or there will be seven years of famine that will answer to them, and are signified by them: Grotius, from the Oneirocritics or interpreters of dreams, observes, that years are signified by kine, and particularly he relates from Achmes, that according to the doctrine of the Egyptians, female oxen (and such these were) signified times and seasons, and if fat (as the good ones here also were) signified fruitful times, but if poor and thin (as the bad ones here were) barren times: it seems as if all this skill of theirs was borrowed from Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dreams here given. Josephus (l) relates a dream of Archelaus the son of Herod, who dreamed that he saw ten ears of corn, full and large, devoured by oxen; he sent for the Chaldeans and others to tell him what they signified; one said one thing and another another; at length one Simon, an Essene, said that the ears signified years, and the oxen changes of affairs, because, when they plough up the earth, they turn it up and change it; so that he should reign as many years as were ears of corn seen, and after many changes should die, as he accordingly did.
(l) Antiqu. l. 17. c. 15. sect. 3. & de Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 7. sect. 3.
what God is about to do, he sheweth unto Pharaoh: the events of fourteen years with respect to plenty and sterility.
(m) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 9.
and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; the seven years of plenty being all spent, it should be as if it never was; the minds of men would be so intent upon their present distressed case and circumstances, that they should wholly forget how it had been with them in time past; or it would be as if they had never enjoyed it, or were never the better for it: this answers to and explains how it was with the ill favoured kine, when they had eaten up the fat kine; they seemed never the better, nor could it be known by their appearance that they had so done:
and the famine shall consume the land: the inhabitants of it, and all the fruits and increase of it the former years produced.
(n) Nat Hist. l. 5. c. 9.
for it shall be very grievous; as it was both in Egypt and in all the countries round about.
it is because the thing is established by God; by a firm decree of his, and is sure, and will most certainly be accomplished; of which Pharaoh might be assured, and to assure him of it was the repetition of the dream made:
and God will shortly bring it to pass: or "make haste to do it" (o), that is, would soon begin to accomplish these events; for, as Bishop Usher (p) observes, from the harvest of this (the then present) year, the seven years of plenty are reckoned.
(o) "festinans Deus ad faciendum", Montanus; "accelerat facere", Drusius; "festinat facere", Piscator. (p) Annal. Ver. Test. p. 15.
and set him over the land of Egypt; not to be governor of it in general, but with a particular respect to the present case, to take care of provision for it.
and let him appoint officers over the land; not Pharaoh, but the wise and discreet governor he should set over the land, who should have a power of appointing officers or overseers under him to manage things according to his direction:
and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years; not the officers appointed, but the appointer of them, the chief governor under Pharaoh, for the word is singular; it is proposed that he should, in Pharaoh's name, and by his order, take a fifth part of all the corn in the land of Egypt during seven years of plenty; not by force, which so good a man as Joseph would never advise to, whatever power Pharaoh might have, and could exercise if he pleased; but by making a purchase of it, which in such time of plenty would be bought cheap, and which so great a prince as Pharaoh was capable of. It is commonly asked, why an half part was not ordered to be took up, since there were to be as many years of famine as of plenty? and to this it is usually replied, that besides this fifth part taken up, as there might be an old stock of former years, so there would be something considerable remain of these seven years of plenty, which men of substance would lay up, as Pharaoh did; and besides, a fifth part might be equal to the crop of an ordinary year, or near it: to which may be added, that in times of famine men live more sparingly, as they are obliged, and therefore such a quantity would go the further; as well as it may be considered, that notwithstanding the barrenness of the land in general, yet in some places, especially on the banks of the Nile, some corn might be produced; so that upon the whole a fifth part might be judged sufficient to answer the extremity of the seven years of famine, and even to allow a distribution to other countries.
and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh; as his property, and only to be disposed of by his orders; for as it was to be purchased with his money, it was right that it should be in his hands, or in the hands of his officers appointed by him, as the Targum of Jonathan:
and let them keep food in the cities; reserve it in the several cities throughout the land, against the years of famine.
against the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt: and so be a supply to the inhabitants of the land, when they should be sore pressed with a famine, and know not what to do, nor where to go for food:
that the land perish not through the famine; that is, that the people of the land perish not, as the above Targum, which, without such a provision, they would have been in great danger of perishing. Justin, an Heathen writer (q), confirms this account of the advice of Joseph, of whom he says, that"he was exceeding sagacious of things wonderful, and first found out the meaning of dreams; and nothing of right, divine or human, seemed unknown to him, so that he could foresee the barrenness of land many years beforehand; and all Egypt would have perished with the famine, if the king, by his advice, had not commanded an edict, that the fruits of the earth, for many years, should be preserved.''
(q) E. Trogo, l. 36. c. 32.
and in the eyes of all his servants; his nobles, ministers of state and courtiers, all highly commended and applauded it; and it was with the general and unanimous consent of all agreed that it should be put into execution: but then the next question, and the thing to be considered, was, who was a person fit to be engaged in such an affair?
can we find such an one as this is, in whom the Spirit of God is? if we search among all the ranks and degrees of men throughout the kingdom, let them be of what character they will, we shall never find a man like this, who appears to have the Spirit of God, or "of the gods", as he in his Heathenish way spoke, and which he concluded from his vast knowledge of things; and especially of things future: hence the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan interpret it, the spirit of prophecy from the Lord.
forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this; the interpretation of his dreams, what would be hereafter for fourteen years to come, what was advisable to be done for the good of the nation, and had proposed a plan so well contrived and formed:
there is none so discreet and wise as thou art; and consequently none so fit for this business, since he was so divinely qualified; and Justin, the Heathen writer (r), observes that he had such knowledge and experience of things, that his answers seemed to be given not from men, but from God.
(r) E. Trogo, l. 36. c. 32.
and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled; not only in his family, but in his whole kingdom; whatever he ordered and commanded them to do, they should it, or "all my people shall kiss" (s), that is, either their hand at the sight of him, or meeting him, in token of respect and veneration shall yield a ready and cheerful obedience to him, of which the kiss was a sign, see Psalm 2:12. The Targum of Onkelos renders it, "shall be fed" (t), supplied with corn, and with all necessary provisions, and so Jarchi interprets it; which is restraining it to that part of his office which concerned the gathering and laying up their stores for time to come; but the Targum of Jonathan is, "shall be armed" (u); and so Aben Ezra makes him the prince or general of the army, or who had the militia at his command, and could arm them when he pleased; but it seems to denote a more large and unlimited power than either of these, even the government of the whole land under the king, who only excepts himself:
only in the throne will I be greater than thou; that is, he alone would be king, wear the crown sit upon the throne, and have all the ensigns of royal majesty, in which Joseph was to have no share; otherwise he was to have an executive power and authority over all his subjects in the land, even to bind his princes at pleasure, and to teach, instruct, and direct his senators, Psalm 105:21.
(s) "osculabitur", Montanus, Junius, & Tremellius, Piscator, Schmidt. (t) Cibabitur, Fagius; "cibum capiet", Tigurine version. (u) Armabitur, Pagninus, Munster, Drusius, Cartwright; so Kimchi.
see, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt; not merely as the corn master general, to take care of a provision of corn in time of plenty, against a time of scarcity, but as a viceroy or deputy governor over the whole land, as appears by the ensigns of honour and dignity bestowed on him; of which in the following verses.
and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen; of which there was the best sort in Egypt, and which great personages used to wear:
and put a gold chain about his neck; another badge of honour and dignity, see Daniel 5:16.
(w) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 33. c. 1.((x) Diodor. Sic. Bibliothec. l. 18. p. 587. Justin. e. Trogo, l. 12. c. 15. (y) Nat. Hist. l. 33. c. 1.
and they cried before him, bow the knee; that is, his guard that attended him, when he rode out in his chariot, called to the people, as they passed along, to bow the knee to Joseph, as a token of veneration and respect; or they proclaimed him "Abrech", which Onkelos paraphrases, this is the father of the king; and so Jarchi, who observes, that "Rech" signifies a king in the Syriac language; and this agrees with what Joseph himself says, that God had made him a father to Pharaoh, Genesis 45:8. Others render it a tender father; and the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem take in both senses,"this is the father of the king, (or let the father of the king live, so the Jerusalem,) who is great in wisdom, and tender in years:''though rather he may be so called, because he acted the part of a tender father to the country, in providing corn for them against a time of scarcity:
and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt; appointed him to be governor of the whole land, and invested him with that office, and made him appear to be so, by the grandeur he raised him to.
and without thee shall not a man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt; which is to be taken not in a strict literal sense, but proverbially, signifying, that nothing should be done in the nation of any moment or importance, relating to political affairs, but what was by his order and authority; the hands and feet being the principal instruments of action. The Targum of Jonathan is,"without thy word (or order) a man shall not lift up his hand to gird on armour, or his foot to mount a horse;''signifying thereby, that all things relating to war and peace should be altogether under his direction.
(z) Antiqu. l. 8. c. 6. sect. 2.
and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah; not the same with Potiphar, Joseph's master, as Jarchi says, not only their, names differ, but also their offices; nor would Joseph, it is imagined, marry the daughter of such a woman, so wicked as his mistress was, and had so much abused him, and been the cause of all his troubles; nor was this Asenath the daughter of Dinah by Shechem, as some Jewish writers (b) assert, whom Potiphar's wife, having no child, brought up as her own, which is not at all probable; but an Egyptian woman, the daughter of the person before named: who was
priest of On: the same with Aven; See Gill on Ezekiel 30:17; and which in Ptolemy (c) is called Onii, about twenty two miles from Memphis, and said to be the metropolis of the "Heliopolitan home"; and has been since called "Heliopolis", as it is here in the Septuagint version, which signifies the city of the sun, and is the same with Bethshemesh, the house of the sun, Jeremiah 43:13; where, as Herodotus (d) says, the sun was worshipped, and sacrifice offered to it, and the inhabitants of this place are by him said to be the wisest and most rational of the Egyptians (e); here Potipherah, Joseph's father-in-law, was "priest"; and Strabo (f) says, at Heliopolis we saw large houses, in which the priests dwelt; for here especially of old it was said, that this was the habitation of priests, of philosophers, and such as were given to astronomy: the Septuagint version and Josephus (g) call this man Petephre; and an Heathen writer (h), Pentephre, a priest of Heliopolis; which a very learned man (i) says, in the Egyptian tongue, signifies a priest of the sun; and so Philo says (k), that Joseph married the daughter of a famous man in Egypt, who had the priesthood of the sun. But the word may as well be rendered "prince" (l), as it is when there is nothing to determine its sense otherwise, as there is none here; and it is more likely, that Pharaoh should marry his prime minister into the family of one of his princes than of his priests; this seems to be more agreeable to the high rank that Joseph was raised to, as well as more suitable to his character as a worshipper of the true God, who would not choose to marry the daughter of an idolatrous priest: though, according to Diodorus Siculus (m), the Egyptian priests were second to the king in honour and authority, and were always about him, and were of his council; and Aelianus, says (n), that formerly with the Egyptians the judges were priests, and the eldest of them was a prince, and had the power of judging all; and even Sethon, king of Egypt, was a priest of Vulcan: whether this prince or priest was of the king's family, or whether the kings of Egypt had a power to dispose of the daughters of their subjects, especially of their priests or princes when dead, is not certain: perhaps no more, as Bishop Patrick observes, is meant, than that Pharaoh made this match, and which was a mark of great honour and affection to Joseph; and which, if even disagreeable to him, being an idolater, he could not well refuse:
and Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt; either the name and fame of him, as Aben Ezra interprets it, see Matthew 4:24; or rather he himself went forth in all his grandeur before related, and took a tour, throughout the whole land to observe the fruitfulness of it, and make choice of proper places to lay up his intended stores.
(a) Prodrom. Copt. p. 124, &c. (b) Targ. Jon. in loc. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 3. 2. Pirke Eliezer, c. 38. (c) Geograph l. 4. c. 5. (d) Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 59. 63. (e) Ib. c. 3.((f) Geograph. l. 17. p. 554. (g) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 6. sect. 1.((h) Polyhistor. ex Demetrio apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 21. p. 424. (i) Jablonski de Terra Goshen. Dissert. 8. sect. 4. (k) De Josepho, p. 543. (l) "praesidis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "principis", Pagninus, Vatablus; so the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan. (m) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 66. (n) Var. Hist. l. 14. c. 34.
and Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh; from standing before him, and ministering to him as his counsellor and chief statesman, or he went out from his court and palace for a while:
and went throughout all the land of Egypt: this seems to be a second tour; before he went to survey the land, and pitch upon the most proper places for granaries to lay up store of corn in; and now he went through it, to gather in and give directions about it, and see it performed, for the years of plenty were now begun.
which were in the land of Egypt; in which only he had a concern, and where only was this plenty:
and laid up the food in the cities; in places built for that purpose, and whither the people round about could easily bring it, and fetch it, when it was wanted:
the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same; which was very wisely done, for present carriage, and for the convenience of the people in time of famine. At this day, at old Cairo, is an edifice the most considerable in it, called Joseph's granary; it occupies a square, surrounded by a wall, and has divers partitions contrived within it, where is deposited the corn, that is paid as a tax to the Gram Seignior, brought from different parts of Egypt (o).
(o) Norden's Travels in Egypt, &c. vol. 1. p. 72.
until he left numbering,.... At first he took an account of the quantities that were bought and laid up, how much there was in each granary, until it amounted to so much, that there was no end of numbering it; it was like the sand of the sea, an hyperbolical expression, denoting the great abundance of it:
for it was without number; not only the grains of corn, but even the measures of it, whatever were used; so Artapanus, an Heathen writer, says (p), Joseph, when governor of Egypt, got together the corn of seven years, an immense quantity.
(p) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 23. p. 430.
before the years of famine came; or "the year of famine" (q); the first year:
which Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah priest of On, bare unto him; which is observed, to show that he had them by his lawful wife; whom the Targum of Jonathan wrongly again makes the daughter of Dinah, and her father prince of Tanis, the same with Zoan; whereas this was "On" or "Heliopolis", a very different place; so Artapanus says (r), that Joseph married the daughter of the priest of Heliopolis, by whom he had children; and another Heathen writer (s) mentions their names, Ephraim and Manesseh.
(q) "annus famis", Tigurine version, Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius; "annus (primus) famis", Schmidt. (r) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 23. p. 429. (s) Polyhistor. apud ib. p. 424.
for God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house; all his toil and labour in Potiphar's house, and especially in the prison; and all the injuries his brethren had done him; all this he was made to forget by the grandeur and honour, wealth and riches, power and authority he was possessed of; and indeed he had so much business upon his hands, that he had scarce time to think of his father, and his family.
for God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction; in the land of Egypt, where he had been long afflicted, even for the space of thirteen years, more or less, in his master's house, and in the prison; but God had made him fruitful in grace and good works, in holiness, humility, &c. and oftentimes afflictive seasons are the most fruitful ones in this sense. God also bestowed great gifts upon him, as skill in the interpretation of dreams, wisdom in political affairs, a large abundance of wealth, and riches, honour and glory; to which may be added, the fruit of his body, his two children.
and the dearth was in all lands; adjoining to Egypt, as Syria, Arabia, Palestine, Canaan, &c.
but in all the land of Egypt there was bread; which was in the hands of everyone, and remained of their old stores in the years of plenty not yet exhausted, and which continued for some time after the dearth began. It is very probable that to this seven years' drought in Egypt Ovid (t) refers, which he makes to be nine; as does also Apollodorus (u).
(t) "Dicitur Aegyptus caruisse juvantibus arva Imbribus, atque annis sicca fuisse novem." --Ovid de Artc Amandi, l. 1. ver. 647. (u) De Deor Orig. l. 2. p. 104.
the people cried to Pharaoh for bread; as their common father, and knowing that he had stores of provision laid up in all cities against this time:
and Pharaoh said to the Egyptians, go unto Joseph; whom he had appointed over this business of providing and laying up corn against this time, and of distributing it:
what he saith to you, do; give the price for the corn he fixes or requires; for this was the principal thing they had to do with him, to get corn for their money.
and Joseph opened all the storehouses; in the several cities throughout the land where he had laid up corn:
and sold unto the Egyptians; for, as he had bought it with Pharaoh's money, it was no injustice to sell it; and as it could be sold at a moderate price, and yet Pharaoh get enough by it, being bought cheap in a time of plenty, no doubt but Joseph, who was a kind and benevolent man, sold it at such a price:
and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt; there being no overflow of the Nile year after year, and nothing left of the old stock but what was in the storehouses.