56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt.

57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.

Joseph saves countless lives and makes a healthy profit for the Pharaoh at the same time! It really speaks to the incredible bounty of the first seven years that the excess was enough to keep the locals alive and still have more to sell.

Also, once again foreknowledge is essential for him to be able to handle the situation with clarity and decisiveness. God had not only forewarned of the famine, but He had also specified exactly how long it would endure for. By knowing that he needed to divide the resources across seven years Joseph would know exactly how much of their stock he could afford to sell off each year. If it weren’t for that ability to plan ahead, one might have been tempted in the fourth or fifth year to say “this famine might never end! I better hoard everything remaining for myself and let the rest of the world starve.” Then war might have occurred, and unnecessary deaths would have abounded everywhere.

As Joseph conducted his business and sold the grain to many foreign hands, I wonder whether the thought ever occurred to him that his own father was caught within this famine and might very well send for some corn. Did he have any inkling that he might soon see his brothers yet again?

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