IN the thirty-seventh chapter of Genesis there is an account of two remarkable dreams, which Joseph had while he still lived with his father in the land of Canaan. Joseph was then seventeen years of age, an upright young man, and especially beloved of his father.

Joseph was one of a family of thirteen children, twelve sons and; one daughter. The sons of Jacob at that time were not all righteous young men. They were, to a certain extent, idolaters, and possessed of a cruel and revengeful a spirit. Joseph listened to the teachings of his father Jacob, and feared the Lord. He was more obedient to his father's instructions than any of his ten older brothers.

He was especially grieved at their wicked conduct, and sought to induce them to pursue a righteous course. This only imbittered them against him. He then went and laid the matter before his father, not as a mischief-making talebearer, but as a faithful brother. This exposure of their wrongs enraged his brethren against him. Jacob's love for Joseph made his brethren envious, and now that envy turns to malice, and finally to murder. Joseph, as well as his brethren, was a shepherd. But the angel of the Lord taught Joseph in dreams. These he innocently related to his brethren: 

"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 obeisance to me. And he told it to his father and to his brethren; 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." 

Genesis 37:7-11.

In the engraving the artist has given a beautiful illustration of Joseph's dreams.

The overruling providence of God now permits circumstances to transpire so that Joseph's dreams in regard to his brothers are most remarkably and literally fulfilled.

While pursuing their vocation as shepherds, his brethren sometimes wandered quite a distance from the paternal home. Jacob, with the solicitude of a true father, sends Joseph to see if they are all well. Joseph dutifully performs quite a journey to find his brethren, but how wickedly is he requited for his faithfulness and love!

When they behold him, even afar off, they conspire against him to slay him. 

But Reuben proposes to cast him into a pit, hoping that he may be able to deliver him to his father. While Reuben is absent, however, his brethren, having relented at the thought of letting Joseph perish by starvation, lift him out of the pit, and sell him to a band of Ishmaelite merchants.

Joseph is now carried down to Egypt, and sold as a slave to Potiphar, a chief officer of the king. But God was with him, and he grew in such favor "with his master that he intrusted all that he possessed to Joseph's care."  Soon, because of his integrity to the law of God, Joseph is unjustly thrust into prison. But even there the Lord was with him, and Joseph was given a position of some importance. After a time the Lord used him to interpret the two dreams of the chief butler and the chief baker; and eventually he is brought in before Pharaoh to interpret two singular dreams that disturbed him. 

Joseph explains to Pharaoh that there will be seven years of remarkable plenty, followed by seven years of severe famine. Pharaoh now gladly takes Joseph from prison and makes him grand vizier of all Egypt. During the seven years of plenty, Joseph lays up vast stores of food throughout Egypt, for the coming famine. In the years of famine the surrounding nations came to Egypt to purchase food. 

They had doubtless heard how the king of Egypt had been providentially directed in a dream to make preparation for the famine. As the dreadful scarcity reached into Canaan, even the patriarch Jacob and his sons are in danger of starvation, so the ten sons of Jacob also go down to Egypt to buy food. " And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brethren came AND BOWED DOWN THEMSELVES BEFORE HIM WITH THEIR FACES TO THE EARTH." Genesis 42:6.

Joseph knew his brethren, and remembered the dreams he had dreamed about them. He then tested them by a variety of proofs to see if they were as wicked as when they sold him into Egypt. Again the narrative says: "And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house (for he was yet there), AND THEY FELL BEFORE HIM ON THE GROUND." 

Genesis 44:14.

After making himself known to his brethren, Joseph sends to Canaan for his father and the whole household. For, said he, "God sent me before you, to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance." Genesis 45:7.

After Jacob and his sons came to Egypt, "Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 


We now see a most literal fulfillment of Joseph's two remarkable dreams. Those who desire to learn all the interesting incidents of this wonderful story, should carefully read Genesis, chapters thirty-nine to forty-seven inclusive.

From this part of Joseph's history we may observe the following things: 

1. The purposes of God will be fulfilled.

2. It will be well with the righteous.

3. Though Joseph did not at first have any of his relatives in Egypt, yet the Lord was with him.

4. The diligent man shall stand in the presence of kings; he shall not stand before mean men. 

G. w. A.

To God be all glory forever! we bear 

To the Lord of the harvest the wheat with the tare; 

What we lack in our work may he find in our will, 

And winnow in mercy our good from the ill!