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thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth 1 And his brethren envied him, but his father observed the saying." What is the meaning of " observed the saying," Grandmama?
Grandm.—It signifies that Jacob turned it over in his mind, and understood the dreams to be prophecies of what would take place, but he did not wish that Joseph should consider them as such, for fear it might make him ambitious. We next read that his brethren went to feed the flock at Shechem, and that Jacob wishing to know how they and the flocks were, sent Joseph from Hebron to Shechem.
Harry.—Was Shechem far from Hebron, Grandmama?
Grandm. — Yes, iny dear, a great many miles. Hebron was in Judea, and Shechem was in Samaria. It is called Sychem in the Acts of the Apostles, (vii. 16.) and Sychar in the Gospel of St. John, (iv. 5.) When Joseph had found his brethren, (with the assistance of a man, who seeing him wandering about, told him that they had gone to Dothan,) instead of their rejoicing to see him, they said one to another, "Behold this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore and let us slay him and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams." (Gen. xxxvii. 19, 20.) Reuben his eldest brother, however, was not so cruel as the others, and he begged them not to kill him, but persuaded them to put him into a pit that was near at hand, and intended to have taken him out again as soon as he could, and to have taken him home to his father.
When Joseph was come to where his brethren were, they took off his "coat of many colors," and cast him into the pit, which was empty, and they sat down to eat their bread, but while they were doing so, a company of Jshmaelites who were bringing spices from Gilead, passed by on their way to Egypt, and the cruel brothers thought it would be better for them to sell Joseph to them than to slay him, so they lifted him out of the pit, and sold him as a slave to these merchants for twenty pieces of silver. It appears that Reuben was innocent of that crime, as we read in verses 29 and 30. "And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and whither shall I go?"
Harry.—What did he mean by "the child is not," Grandmama?
Grandm.—He meant that Joseph was missing; that though he had put him into the pit, he could not now find him.
We here see how easily we are led from one crime to another, in the conduct of these wicked men, as their next crime was deceit and falsehood, for they killed a kid and dipped Joseph's coat into the blood of it, to deceive their poor father by making him believe that a wild beast had torn him to pieces; and then when they found that Jacob mourned so bitterly for his son, they, one and all, assisted in trying to comfort him. If they had any real feeling, it ought to have made them mourn more bitterly still to see how their crime had distressed their good father!
Harry.—What did the merchants do with Joseph, Grandmama?
Grandm.— They took him to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard, and he became a very prosperous man for a time, as God was with him, and gave him favor with Potiphar, who placed so much trust in him, that he made him overseer of all that he possessed, and God made all he did prosper; but Potiphar's wife was a very wicked woman, and accused Joseph of behaving very improperly to her, which although quite untrue, made her husband very angry, and he sent Joseph to prison; but the Lord in whom he trusted did not desert him in his misfortune, but "gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison." (xxxix, 21.) And we find he soon became as much trusted in the prison as he had been in Potiphar's house. While Joseph was in prison, Pharaoh's chief butler and chief baker offended him, and were sent to the same prison as Joseph was in, and the keeper of the prison put them under his charge.
One morning he found them both in very low spirits on account of a dream which each of them had had: he asked them why they were so sad, and they replied because they had dreamed and there was no interpreter to tell them the meaning of their dreams.
Harry.—Who was an interpreter, Grandmama?
Grandm.—An interpreter was one who explained the meaning of dreams, in this instance.
Harry.—But, Grandmama, is it right for us to believe that what we dream must come to pass? I thought it was only very ignorant people who believed in dreams.
Grandm.—It was very different in Joseph's time to what it is now, my dear. In those times God frequently employed dreams for making known His will; but now in this Gospel age God has ceased to use dreams, and it is, as you say, only ignorant or. superstitious people who believe in them. When Joseph heard that it was their dreams that had made them unhappy he said to them, "Do not interpretations belong to God I tell them me, I pray you." (xl. 8.) You see here, 'Harry, that Joseph does not try to make them suppose that he was able to explain their dreams by himself, and therefore makes them understand that it is God alone who could show them their meaning. The chief butler then told his dream to Joseph, who informed him that after three days he would be received into the king's favor again, and asked him to think of him then. When the baker heard that, he also asked Joseph what his dream signified, and Joseph told him that after three days he would be hanged. (Refer to Gen. xl, 9—19.)
Harry.—I should not think the baker would feel very happy after Joseph had told him what his dream meant. Were his interpretations true, Grandmama? for he gave a very different one to each man!
Grandm.—Yes, my dear, Joseph was perfectly right, because God had revealed to him what would happen to each of them. You may remember that he told them first that interpretations belonged to God, and they