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was not to be borne from a Hebrew slave; that she had lifted up her voice and cried for some one to take him away; and that when she did so, he fled, and dropped his garment, which she had kept as a proof he had been there.
This wicked lie was believed by Potiphar, and he directly threw Joseph “ into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound : and he was there in the prison,” where they hurt his feet with fetters, and he was bound in iron.—(Psalm cv. 18.)
But still “ the Lord was with Joseph ;" and in the prison he soon got the favour of the keeper, who trusted its affairs in his hands, and God prospered him.
Joseph in Prison.
GENESIS XL. While Joseph was in prison, Pharaoh was displeased with two of his servants. One was his chief butler, who supplied him with wine; and the other was his chief baker, who supplied him with bread.
Now, no slave or common person was allowed to serve in the presence of the kings of Egypt; these chief officers were, therefore, of the most noble families, and were, on that account, put into the state prison where Joseph was. “And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them.”
After a time, when Joseph went to see them one morning, he found them both looking very dull, as if something was the matter; and on asking them why they looked so sadly, they told him they had been dreaming, and were very anxious to know what their dreams meant.
Joseph in reply said, “Do not interpretations belong to God ?” that is, God only knows future events; and if your dreams mean anything, God only can tell what they mean. Then Joseph asked to know the dreams.
The chief butler said his was about a vine with three branches, which brought forth ripe grapes, and he pressed them into Pharaoh's cup for him to drink the juice, as was the custom of those times.
Now Joseph was taught by God to explain these dreams; and he told the butler that his meant that he should be restored in three days to Pharaoh's favour, and should give him his cup to drink out of as he used to do.
Joseph wanted no reward for this service, but only asked, that as he had been unjustly put into prison, he would, when restored to the king's favour, kindly speak a word to get him set at liberty.
The chief baker, finding that this was a pleasant explanation of the meaning of the butler's dream, then told his to Joseph.
He said he had dreamt that he had three white baskets on his head; and that in the one at the top he had baked meats for the king, but the birds eat them out of the basket on his head.
Joseph told him that his dream meant that in three days his head should be cut off, and he should be hung on a gibbet, and the birds should eat his flesh.
Three days after this was Pharaoh's birthday, and what Joseph said came to pass—the butler was restored to favour, and the baker was hung.
Joseph raised to Honour.
GENESIS XLI. Two years more passed away, and still poor Joseph remained in prison.
Then Pharaoh dreamed that seven fat kine came out of the river Nile, and fed in a meadow, and seven lean kine came after, and ate up the fat kine.
He went to sleep again, and again he had a dream; and he thought he saw seven ears of fine com springing up from the ground, and after that sprung up seven thin ears, blasted by the hot east wind known by travellers under the name of simoom,—a wind which, in the deserts of Arabia, often suffocates large numbers of persons who are travelling, by blowing suddenly like a flame upon them : and these thin ears ate up the full ones.
Now there were men in Egypt called magicians, or cunning men, who pretended, by thinking on the stars, to know what would happen to people ; and as Pharaoh was distressed about his dreams, be sent for some of these men to tell him what they meant, but they could not even pretend to tell anything about them.
Then the chief butler, probably hoping to get higher into favour by telling of Joseph, told him that there was a young man, a prisoner in the king's prison, who had interpreted a dream which he had when he was there, and also another of the chief baker's, and had told them what came to pass; and he would recommend him to try what he could do.
Pharaoh, glad to catch at anything to ease his mind, sent directly for Joseph; and as soon as he saw him, without asking him who or what he was, he told him his dreams.
Joseph was divinely taught to see that they meant that the river Nile, which overflows the land of Egypt, and causes it every year to bring forth a harvest, should overflow it so as to produce an abundance for seven years; and then it should flow so sparingly, that there would be no water to water the sown grounds; and there should be seven years of dreadful famine, so that people would not be able to get any bread to eat.
Joseph then told Pharaoh that he ought to find some wise man, who would lay up one-fifth part of the corn in plentiful years, and perhaps buy more, and keep it in store till the years of scarcity, so that the people might not starve.
Pharaoh was satisfied with what he said, and no doubt God moved the mind of the king to believe Joseph, as much as he did the mind of Joseph to explain his dreams.
Then the king thought that none could be found like Joseph,—so full of wisdom; and he appointed him ruler, next to himself, over all the land of Egypt; and he clothed him finely, and put a ring on his finger, and a gold chain round his neck; and he made him to ride in a fine state-chariot, and the people bowed to him in respect, as we in civility do to great men when we approach them.
And Pharaoh gave him a name of distinction, as our kings make dukes and lords ; and he found him a wife to be his companion and comforter.
And then Joseph went out through the land, probably to build granaries, or places to keep the corn, and find persons to look after it; as he could not do it all himself.
He was now thirty years of age, and as he was seventeen when he was sold into Egypt, he had been just thirteen years a slave.