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been gathered into the royal coffers. Then they brought their cattle and exchanged them for corn for their families, the cattle themselves indeed thin and scarcely able to support life on the scanty herbage in the less dried-up spaces the Delta; thus also cattle and sheep and asses and horses became the property of the king. Then, as the palpitating misery still dragged its way along, only horror, only want, only wretchedness over the whole country, and utter ruin except the relief in the store-houses, the people came to sell themselves to the monarch.
“We will not hide it from my lord,” they said to Joseph, “how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle: there is not aught left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies and our lands: wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land ? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh : and give us seed, that we may live and not die, that the land be not desolate."
The monarch thus became possessor in fee simple of the whole land; Joseph also had the people removed to the cities, where he could more easily supply them with food; and thus also he broke up local attachments and helped to bring the inhabitants more completely under the control of the sovereign, the necessity for which will appear in our succeeding chapter. The priests, however, were excepted from this sale of lands; they were already sufficiently attached to the ruler and needed no further subjecting influences; so their supplies from the store-houses were continued as a free gift, which in their peculiar condition they could also accept without too much humiliation of heart.
But those seven horrible years, seemingly endless, were gone at last. The nation so beat down by despair and suffering had scarcely energy enough left in the last of the period to look for a better time ; and when it came and the river rose, and got to be yet higher and higher, and then to the listless eyes presented the old spectacle of a wide deluge in which the rich deposits were, they knew, settling quietly —even perhaps in more fruitful abundance than usual—the hearts of the people remained crushed and their voices were yet hollow and unnatural; so familiar had suffering and despair got to be to every one, and so unwonted was any other sentiment.
When now Joseph opened the store-houses freely to issue to the inhabitants grain for sowing once more, and told them that for the future he would exact from them for Pharaoh a fifth of the produce as a toll on their lands, and spoke of their wives and little ones whom the remaining four-fifths would cheer, they had only energy enough left in their numbed feelings to answer submissively,
“ Thou hast saved our lives; let us find grace in the sight of my lord and we will be Pharaoh's servants."
By degrees, however, as the grain sprung up, and the whole great valley turned once more green in the growing crops, and far and wide the waving harvests invited the sickle, the vitality of the nation reasserted itself, and hope and cheerfulness and at last joy came back to the people of Egypt. Year after year of fruitfulness began to wipe out the remembrances of past horrors; and in the mean time, down at Goshen prosperity and rapid increase were also attending the late immigrants there. Jacob lived on in a happy old age, seeing his descendants and also his tribe of retainers multiply; the latter and his own posterity, indeed, made one by their common faith and the common peculiar rite ordained by heaven. He saw also the flocks and herds increasing and spreading in vast numbers over the fruitful pastures: but, among all these sights Jacob did not feel that this was or could be the permanent home of his people; and all these rich, wide plains, even with Joseph near, could not produce a home feeling to him. Then, finally, after seventeen years in the new land,-a period of that calmness and that quiet and respectful attention and affection which old
age loves so well,—the patriarch, knowing that the time for his departure to a far better than earthly home was drawing nigh, sent for Joseph, and exacted from him an oath that, after death, his body should be taken back to Canaan.
“Deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt; but I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace.”
Not long afterward it was told the Governor that bis father was ill; and taking his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim, with him, he hurried down to Goshen, to his bedside. The patriarch was far gone in the disease, but when told that Joseph was there, he rallied his strength and sat up; and after some words to his son, the two lads were brought before him. Sight had already grown so dim that he did not recognize them and had to ask their names; but love was as strong as ever, and he proceeded to give his blessing to all three.-Joseph and his boys. The latter had been placed by their father according to age, the elder one, Manasseh, on his right, and Ephraim on the left; but Jacob in the divine inspiration within him, crossed his hands, and although warned of his mistake, still continued to give the chief blessing to the younger; (just as far subsequest events in Canaan justified). To all he said,
“God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads ; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."
Then he sent for his remaining sons, and when they had gathered around his bed, he uttered through the divine afflatus a peculiar prophecy respecting each one, having reference chiefly to the position which their posterity would have after the final occupation of Canaan. That to Judah is particularly remarkable, showing that in this tribe would eventually be the seat of royal power; and that it would so continue until Shiloh' should come, when the sceptre would depart. For Benjamin the father's affection, if left to itself, would have been glad to predict a magnificent future; it was, however, He “shall raven as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.” The tribe did, indeed, afterward show itself to be one of violence; but it was an honored tribe; for Saul, the first king, came from it; subsequently also the Christian Paul, in whom the remarkable energy of the tribe became chastened into forming the grand apostle for Christ.
So the end of Jacob had come. After these predictions, he charged his sons to take his body, after death, back to Canaan, and to bury him in the cave of Machpelah, to rest there with the remains of his progenitors. The great wall at Hebron, which we have already spoken of, doubtless encloses the spot where reposed his remains, and where, if violence has not been used toward them, they may possibly still remain ; for the Egyptian embalming, as we know, is an effectual security against decay.
“And Joseph fell upon his father's face and wept upon him and kissed him,"—that face now so calm and placid, but which had so often been lighted up in the strong affections for him. Then he gave directions to the embalmers. News of the death had been extended all over Egypt, where
1775v, a word considered by Christians as referring to the Messiah. Various explanations of it have been given: 1, as a proper name, they come to Shiloh ;" 2, as an appellative, the “ bringer of peace ;” till the “ bringer of peace comes ;" 3, as in the ancient versions, which regard it as compounded of v contracted from 10% and ih, equal to 15 to him, both being equivalent to " which belongs to him ;"—the meaning therefore being “till he comes to whom it (the sceptre or dominion) belongs.”
the sympathy with their Governor who had saved their own lives was general; the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.
But among the mourners for the aged patriarch were ten men, in whom also a cold fear was mingled with their grief. Those brothers of Joseph had not learned, in those seventeen years in Egypt, to understand him; and their guilty hearts whispered to them that, now the restraint of the father's presence being taken away, he might visit on them their fell purposes of old in regard to himself. They judged him too much by their own bad hearts. In shame, or through fear, they did not dare to appear before him, but sent a messenger :
“ Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father."
The message so full of distrust, and with his father's name, overcame him to tears; and on this indication they came themselves and fell before him with the words,
“Behold, we be thy servants;"-they had indeed become abject. He reassured them;
“Fear not; for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore, fear ye not: I will nourish you and your little ones.”
There was great nobleness in this reassurance of them, by placing it not on the ground of any magnanimity in himself, but because God had a purpose in their act, for the safety of another nation as well as of themselves; he further tried to give them confidence by words of kindness and peace.
When the seventy days of general demonstrations of