"Thou shalt be over my house ; without thy commandment no man shall move hand or foot in the whole land of Egypt," said Pharaoh the King.
"And he clothed him with a robe of silk, put a gold chain about his neck, and a ring upon his finger, and had him proclaimed the saviour of the world! And the Lord blessed the land of Egypt for Joseph's sake." When the years of plenty had passed over the land, the famine came, as predicted, and continued for seven weary years. Then the very men who sold their young brother into bondage journeyed from Canaan toEgypt. They were starving. Money they had in plenty, but of food they had none, so they stood before the Governor who held the keys of all the granaries of Egypt. And he knew them; but there was no resentment in his heart.
"Come nearer to me," he said. "God sent me before you that you might be preserved; God hath made me lord of the whole land of Egypt" and he pressed them to come down with their families and their flocks.
"Come down to me; linger not, then I will feed you." And Pharaoh the King added his persuasion, "I will give you all the good things of the land of Egypt for Joseph's sake."
Then Jacob and his children and their kinsfolk, their flocks and herds, came down to the land of Gessen, a land apart from the busy cities, and settled there, saying:
"Only let my lord look favourably down upon us and we will gladly serve the King."
But there was always a fear in the hearts of the ten brothers. Their crime had been so heinous; they could not believe Joseph had for given them. When, therefore, Jacob their old father died, they trembled lest Joseph, having nothing to restrain him, should revenge himself upon them. Such a thought was far from one in whom dwelt the "Spirit of God."
"Fear not," he said; "I will feed you and your children." And he comforted them and spoke gently and mild to them. He kept his promise with princely munificence. Such was the man whom Israel loved "above all his sons."
We know of another Joseph, a Hebrew likewise, one "full of the Spirit of God, a just man." To the first Joseph it was Pharaoh who spoke, and the dominion given was over a pagan, earthly kingdom. To the second it was God Himself Who spoke, and the dominion was over the treasures of Heaven Mary, Immaculate Mother, and Jesus, Son of God. The powers of the Patriarch of old were wonderful. God gave into his hands the sustenance of thousands of people. From his childhood upwards He spoke to him in dreams, and was with him throughout his whole career.
To Joseph, son of David, God spoke in dreams likewise; He was with him "all the days of his life." He put under his protection the Virgin Mother and the little Saviour of mankind. It was Joseph who was their protector at Bethlehem, who planned their flight into Egypt, and nourished them there; who chose the place of their home. It was he to whom Jesus "was subject" during the hidden life. If Pharaoh's wisdom was shown in his choice of a governor for Egypt, is not God's wisdom shown in His choice of a guardian for Mary, a foster-father for Our Lord ? Will it be hard to guess at the virtues of Joseph, son of David, when we know those of the son of Jacob ? The Patriarch was powerful, prudent, mild and gentle, forgiving and long suffering, true to his word, faithful to his promises. We cannot suppose that the Patriarch of the Gospel, with his high calling, could be less powerful, prudent, or wise, less faithful to his promises, and less gracious. So we will come to him with our little troubles, our hopes and disappointments and our needs, spiritual and temporal, and we will ask him for protection, spiritual food, counsel, and help. He will help us with fatherly love if we trust him with childlike confidence.
"Go to Joseph," is still the command, and "do all that he shall tell thee" that is, do as he did, be prudent as he, obedient, self-sacrificing, silent and humble as he; then will come
to pass that other word: "I will give you all good things for Joseph's sake."
- Saints and Festivals, Imprimatur 1913 -
A coloring picture of St. Joseph can be found below.