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From: When disaster strikes – Footsteps 18

How churches and communities can prepare for disasters, including training in First Aid

Joseph and his response to drought
by Mike Wall and Vinay Samuel.

Read Genesis Chapter 41. Joseph, who was in prison at the time, was called to interpret some vivid dreams of the Pharaoh. His explanation of what God was saying through these dreams was so convincing that Pharaoh put him in charge of Egypt. Joseph organised the storage of all surplus grain during the seven years of good harvests. He asked that one fifth of each year’s harvest should be required from farmers and stored on behalf of the government. The grain was stored in warehouses in nearby cities.

At the beginning of the drought, the warehouses were opened and people allowed to buy grain. As the situation got worse, livestock, labour and land were accepted in exchange for grain (Genesis 47:13-21). People from neighbouring countries were allowed to buy grain too (Genesis 42:1-5).

At the end of the seven years of drought, Joseph gave seed to people for planting. Because all the land in Egypt now belonged to Pharaoh, Joseph asked that a tax of one fifth of the crops produced should be given to Pharaoh. The remaining four fifths of the harvest belonged to the people.

Key points

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