By Mary Vee
"My lord, it's time to get up."
Joseph struggled to open his eyes. "The sun's up already?"
"Yes, my lord. There are hundreds of people in the court."
Joseph sat up and yawned. "More than usual?"
"I've never seen this many. They're asking for bread but have no money left."
After washing his face and dressing, Joseph walked to the balcony overlooking the court. He listened for a moment to the grumblings of the people. "I'll take care of this. You may go."
As the guard closed the door Joseph dropped to his knees. "Great God of my fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, show me how to help these people." He kept his head bowed until a solution came to him.
Joseph walked down to the court. He called the workers to meet with him. "To any man who has no money to pay for grain, you must accept his livestock as payment." The workers nodded and returned to their posts.
Joseph climbed the stairs to the platform and raised his hands. Everyone in the court hushed. "I have instructed the workers to allow any man without money to pay for his grain with livestock." Before he lowered his arms, the citizens cheered.
Joseph stayed in the court for the morning insuring each person received grain. The people traded horses, flocks, cattle, and donkeys for their grain. We need to set up a place for these animals. They need food and water. Joseph called the head guards. "Gather your men. Set up separate areas for each type animal. Hire men to care for them."
The guard bowed. "Yes, my lord."
A year of nights passed quickly. Despite his busy schedule, Joseph made time to visit his father and brothers as often as possible. He loved listening to their stories and joking with the family.
One morning, back at his home, a guard woke him. "The people have filled the court again."
Joseph washed his face and dressed. He gazed at the crowds below. He tried not to yawn. "Oh, to sleep longer. I'm tired." He listened to the people then dismissed the guard.
Once again, Joseph fell to his knees. "God please help me to feed these people. What can I do?" Moments later, he had an idea. Joseph went down to the court and called another meeting. "To any man who is willing to give himself and his land let him have grain. Record each man's name and his land as a witness of payment."
Joseph climbed up to the platform and raised his hands. "I know you are hungry and that you have given your money and livestock. If you are willing to give yourself and your land you will receive grain."
The people cheered. "Thank you! We'll gladly give our lives and land, what good are they if we don't have food?"
Joseph stepped down and called the captain of the guard. "Be sure not to take payment from the priests. They are to receive all the grain they need without cost. Also give seed to every man who buys grain."
"Yes, my lord."
Joseph went back up to the platform and held up his hands. The people hushed. "Now that I have bought you and your land for Pharaoh, take this seed and sow the land. When harvest comes, you are to give one-fifth of the grain to Pharaoh. The rest will be yours as seen and food."
The people cheered again. "You've saved our lives!"
So Joseph made it a law in all of Egypt that one-fifth of all harvests shall go to Pharaoh except the harvest of the priests. The people stayed in their homes and planted grain.
Why do you think Joseph didn't make the priest pay for the grain? What did Joseph do when he didn't know how to help the people? What can you do when you don't know what to do?