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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

The word to be accomplished was to plant the Israelites in Egypt, that they might be strangers in a land not theirs, and serve them, and be afflicted, until the time should arrive for their oppressors to be judged, and their deliverance effected to the glory of Jehovah's name.

God works by human instrumentality in the affairs of men.

Hence, He selected Joseph, as He has since done the Lord Jesus, whom He has also "separated from his brethren," to be the honoured agent in the developing of His purpose in regard to Israel in relation to their own destiny, and the judgment, and subsequent blessedness, of the nations.

The second chapter of the Josephine parable begins with Joseph in the house of Potiphar.

Being there the victim of a false accusation, he was immured in the State-prison.

But even here he found favour, as he had in Potiphar's house before; for Joseph was a righteous man, and God was with him.

He had been in prison two full years, when the King of Egypt had his dreams of the kine, and the ears The report of his correct interpretation of the chief butler's, and the chief baker's, dreams, while in durance, caused him to be brought before Pharaoh to interpret his.

It was then believed that "interpretations belong to God"; that is, when He muses men to dream prophetically, He reserves the interpretation of them to Himself.

This is illustrated in the case before us, and afterwards in that of Nebuchadnezzar.

Pharoah consulted all the magicians and wise men of Egypt, but there was none that could interpret his dreams.

But God revealed their interpretation to Joseph, who exhibited to the king a luminous exposition of them as indications of what God was about to do; and offered him such advice in the emergency as convinced Pharoah that Joseph was "a man in whom the Spirit of God was," and that "none was so discreet and wise as he".

"Therefore," said the king, "thou shalt be over mine house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled; only in the throne will I be greater than thou".

When Joseph was thirty-seven years old, the famine began in Egypt.

It extended to all the surrounding countries, and was sore in the land of Canaan.

Hearing that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob sent "Joseph's ten brothers" to purchase some.

Now Joseph, being governor, was the man who sold the grain.

This caused the sons of Israel to appear before him; and, as he had predicted, "they bowed themselves before him with their faces to the earth".

Joseph knew them; but they did not recognize him.

He affected to believe they were spies, and put them in ward for three days; but afterwards released them, retaining one as a hostage, for their re-appearance with their youngest brother; and then sent them back loaded with grain for their father's house.

The harsh treatment they experienced from Joseph brought to their recollection the manner they had treated him two-and-twenty years before.

Their consciences accused them; and not knowing that Joseph understood Hebrew, for he spoke with them through an interpreter, they confessed their guilt to one another in his presence, saying, "We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us".

Having visited Egypt a second time, they were introduced into Joseph's house, when Simeon was restored to them.

On Joseph's entrance, "they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance".