Page images

so much partiality in his favour, but at the same time, if Joseph always conducted himself rightly, as we may suppose he did, as there is not a word ever said against him, it would perhaps only be natural that Jacob should love him more than his brethren, who had given their father so much cause for sorrow. Their next cause for hating Joseph, was the dreams he had, which were decidedly a revelation from God to him, of what would afterwards take place. Suppose, Harry, you now read from the sixth to the eleventh verse.

Harry.“And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed : for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright, and behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or, shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams and for his words. And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more, and behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obei. sance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his bretliren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed ? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth ? 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, my 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 thein 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 bim 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 Ishmaelites 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 thein mourn more bitterly still to see how their crime had distressed their good father!

Harry.-What did the merchants do with Joseph, Grandınama ?

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 wilt; but now in this

« PreviousContinue »