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But it was not in Egypt only that the famine raged ; it spread all over the earth; and all countries came up to buy corn.

A year after the advancement of Joseph, Isaac died, being a hundred and eighty-one years old, and his sons, Esau and Jacob, buried him.


A YEAR after the commencement of the famine, scarcity began to press sorely upon the family of Jacob; and, hearing that there was corn in Egypt, he sent down ten of his sons to buy ; but his youngest, Benjamin, he suffered not to go lest evil should befall him, and not one of the sons of Rachel be left to him.

The men came down to Egypt, and bowed themselves before Joseph ; but, in the mighty prince, they could not recognize the weeping hated stripling whom they had condemned to slavery so many years ago, but whom God had sent down into Egypt to preserve their lives. He, however, knew them, and instantly recollected his early dreams, and adored the hand of Jehovah who had thus wonderfully brought about their fulfilment.

He did not discover his knowledge of them; but professed to speak roughly unto them, and to take them for spies; for seeing that his brother Benjamin was not there, he had formed a plan whereby he might induce them to bring him down. He put them in prison, telling them that if they were as they represented—twelve sons of a man in Canaan, of whom one was not, and one remaining at home, he would keep them until one went back with corn, and should bring again this young brother.

On the third day he visited them, and said, “I also fear the Lord Jehovah ; therefore go nine of you again into Canaan, and bring thence your brother; only ye shall leave as a security your brother Simeon.”

Then, for the first time, the judgment of God seemed to have overtaken them for their crime towards Joseph; and in the very land to which they had sent him. Each now accused himself and his brethren, saying, verily, guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hearken unto him, therefore is this distress come upon us!” Now

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the beautiful form of the gentle captive seemed to pass before them, and by his tears and sighs after home and freedom, silently to accuse them. Reuben spoke with more bitterness than the rest, and reproached them for disregarding his interposition. “Spake I not unto you, saying, do not sin against the child ? and ye would not hear; therefore, behold, his blood is required."

They knew not that Joseph was in the room with them, and understood each word they uttered, for he had spoken by an interpreter. They knew not that he, for whose sake they now accused themselves, stood by them, and that his heart, gentle as it had ever been, melted within him at the sight of their repentance and sorrow; and when he went out from them, they knew not that it was to give vent to the feelings of his swelling soul in tears.

When the steward filled the sacks, Joseph bade him return to each man as much money as he had paid for the corn ; and, also, to give them provisions for the way. When they reached their father's house and emptied the corn from their sacks, they found every man his money ; and they, and their father, were much afraid, lest the lord of Egypt should suppose they had dishonestly retained it.

When they told Jacob of the only condition upon which they could obtain the release of Simeon, or a further supply of corn, he lifted up his hands and eyes to heaven, and in the sorrow and heaviness of his heart, he reproached his sons with their cruelty, crying bitterly, “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.” Vainly Reuben endeavoured to soothe him, and offered to answer for the safety of Benjamin, with the life of his own sons; Israel would not listen to him, but folding his beloved son to his bosom, as if to prevent his departure, he cried vehemently, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is left alone; if mischief befall him on the way in which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave !"

But at length the corn was consumed, and famine began to press grievously upon them; and, when Jacob bade his sons go again to

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