Who was Pharaoh in Joseph's day?
1. Histori of the Chaste Joseph (1666)
The fictional author of this biblical novel is identical to that of the Satyrical Pilgram and the Musai: Samuel Greifnson vom Hirschfeld.
On the front page, Grimmelshausen's first novel is referred to as "Example", which shows the "unchangeable  providence of God". The story of the biblical Joseph is retold for the first time in German using Hebrew, Egyptian, Persian and Arabic sources. The preface "To the reader" reports that the Joseph story is told more extensively in other non-biblical sources. The author would therefore have compiled these sources and included them as long as they did not contradict the Bible or "even too fabulous" (p. 1). But if it is desired that these stories are also told, then they could be included in the sequel, the life story of Musai, Joseph's Egyptian conductor. The Musai is already announced.
The following is a brief synopsis, which interprets the story as a divine plan: God had decided to move the family of Jacob to Egypt so that they could be brought out from there by Moses and multiply. To do this, he would have had to force Jacob and his family through a famine to leave their homeland Canaan and move to Egypt. So that they could find food there too, he would have sent Joseph, who had been sold into slavery by his brothers, and given him the power to feed Jacob's family and his descendants. All of this is told “simply” in this book (p. 2). The reference to the simple narrative style is already an indication of the Simplicissimus, which is just emerging, and acts as a signal for satirical elements in this biblical novel.
The actual narrative is preceded by another preface, "Joseph to Momum and Zoilum", in which the main character forbids criticism of this novel. The two arch critics are addressed in the preface to the Satyrical Pilgram and in the preface to Proximus and Lympida, another signal of intertextuality.
Joseph is described as an extraordinarily handsome young man with extensive knowledge of various sciences and as very virtuous: "Darbey would he be very humble / pious / honest / talkative / friendly and gracious demeanor / he would know absolutely nothing about vices / that he would also be hers I don't understand names ”(p. 8). Because of these qualities, because he always supports his father and looks very much like his mother Rachel, Jacob loves him more than any other of his brothers. That is why Jacob gives him a "waistband-embroidered skirt" (ibid.). This excessive love arouses the envy of Joseph's elder brothers, who gradually become his enemies. When Joseph had several prophetic dreams, Jacob interpreted them as announcements of great honor to Joseph and as evidence of Joseph's virtue while the brothers would succumb to vice.
The brothers are angry at these dreams and Jacob's interpretations. They come to realize that Joseph is loved more by their father than all of them combined. They fear that Joseph might cheat them out of their inheritance, as their father Isaac and Esau once cheated and later his father-in-law Laban, and they decide to move to Shechem and see how things develop. If necessary, they would have a large part of the herd under their control and could use them as collateral. "So these brothers let themselves be driven by zeal / envy / hatred / resentment / anger and mistrust / and moved with their flocks to the rich land of Shechem" (p. 21).
Meanwhile, Joseph, who shows himself humble despite the prophecies, is instructed by his father in the art of dream interpretation. When, after a while, the brothers and their flocks have still not returned, Jacob fears that something might have happened to them, and he sends seventeen-year-old Joseph to look for them.
When he has found her, he is glad to see her healthy again. With the brothers, however, who can see him from afar in his brightly colored coat, the hatred becomes so great that they make plans for murder. But the level-headed Ruben can dissuade her from immediately killing Joseph. When Joseph reached them, he greeted them warmly and explained the reason for his coming. However, before he can finish the greeting, Simeon grabs him and ties him up. They throw him into a pit to leave him to his further fate. Then they tear the brightly colored dress and stain it with the blood of a goat they slaughtered for this purpose. So they take revenge on the dress, which symbolizes the beginning of the enmity, "as dogs do with stones / when they / if they thrown with them / don't want to damage" (p. 36 f.). But Reuben, who intends to secretly free Joseph and send him back to his father, moves away from the brothers to wait for the night. So he does not notice that Joseph is selling them for thirty pieces of silver to Ishmaelite merchants who happen to be passing by. In order to hide their crime from their father, they pretend that a wild animal had killed Joseph and show him the blood-stained colorful skirt. Jacob bitterly mourns his son and curses the stars, omens and dreams that would have deceived him so much. The narrator's comment, however, evaluates this deception as a compensation for Jacob's deception against Isaac when he faked the blind old man with an animal skin with thick hair: “So Jacob would be cheated on with his dearest son Rock / because he would cheat his father with his dearest son Rock had cheated ”(p. 47).
Ishmaelite merchants quickly noticed Joseph's beauty and were amazed that they could buy him for so little money. There is a quarrel between them, for everyone claims their property, and blood would have been shed had it not been for robbers, who are vastly outnumbered, to attack the caravan. When the merchants despair, one of them, Elamit Musai, has the saving idea: He puts Joseph in a precious robe that they actually wanted to give to the Pharaoh, puts a crown on him and adorns him with jewelry. He tells the superstitious robbers that the god Apollo descended to earth and assumed human form. Because Joseph actually looks divine with robe and crown, the trick succeeds. When the robbers have disappeared, Joseph has to return the treasures. He had previously made them promise to spare the shepherds in the area and thus provide security for his brothers. Even at this point in time, Joseph is described as caring and not resentful.
Musai, well versed in chiromancy, predicts Joseph that in thirteen years he will be a father and a powerful man. Then he, Musai, would come to him and ask him for mercy and forgiveness because he would not be releasing him now. In addition, he predicts that this veneration as a supposed God is only the prelude to a much greater veneration that will be shown to him.
When the merchants arrived in Thebes, they wanted to give Pharaoh Joseph as a present. The Pharaoh, however, is a "decayed eye-sighted gentleman" (p. 61) who hates Joseph because of his beauty and fears that he will appear even older and uglier next to him. He also fears for the chastity of his wife and daughters. So he refuses the gift and gives Joseph back to the merchants.
Potiphar, however, the Pharaoh's kitchen master, shows keen interest in Joseph and pays a high price for him. He is a fifty-year-old widower who lost his wife when giving birth to his daughter and who, based on a prophecy, decided not to marry again. He needs a reliable steward for his property and uses Joseph as such. For this purpose he also lets him teach how to read and write hieroglyphics.
Joseph fits into his new role very quickly and increases his master's income tenfold within a year. He learns the Egyptian language quickly and expands his knowledge. Potiphar soon realizes that he has invested his money well. Despite his position in Potiphar's house, in which he only has to obey his master, Joseph remains humble and humble and is kind to the slaves under him.
Because his business is flourishing, Potiphar decides to get married again. His choice falls on Selicha, the daughter of a royal court master. She is much younger than him and not happy to have to marry a man who is now sixty. Joseph is commissioned to perform the courtship, although he suspects that there will be no blessing on this marriage. Selicha does not accept the marriage proposal because of the groom, but because of the suitor, because she hopes to be able to spend secret hours with him.
Soon after the wedding, she begins to make advances to him. He pretends not to notice her advances. To keep up appearances, she fakes Potiphar's deep love, which Potiphar enjoys without realizing that he is making himself “Hanrey” (p. 71). In many ways she tried again and again to seduce Joseph, but failed because of his loyalty to his Lord. The dismayed Selicha laments her fate that she fell in love with a slave over whose life she could command and who was now her “cruel tyrant” (p. 78). Then she realizes that she is not alone. She is overheard by Asaneth, the daughter of her sister and a Heliopolitan priest, a "beautiful and incomparable virgin" (p. 80). Asaneth, who is described as virtuous and honest, reproaches Selicha for polluting the honor of her sex with her love for a slave. However, when she realizes Joseph's beauty and virtue, she falls in love with him herself.
Selicha later becomes intrusive again and tries to persuade Joseph to fulfill her desires. He is in a torment of conscience because on the one hand he does not want to anger his mistress any further, but on the other hand he wants to keep his loyalty to Potiphar. By flattering words, he succeeds once more in escaping her. Selicha laments his “Diamantines Hertz” (p. 92) and decides not to give up. One last time she uses all of her physical stimuli to seduce him. Joseph tries to bring her to reason and, when this is unsuccessful, pretends to be impotent. Selicha, however, grabs his coat and tries to pull him into her bed. Joseph breaks free and escapes from her room. Selicha stays behind, angrily tears the coat he left behind and scratches his face "like a hell of a Furi" (p. 109). She swears vengeance in anger.
When Potiphar comes home that evening, she accuses Joseph of trying to rape her. As proof, she shows Joseph's torn cloak. Potiphar initially doubts her accusation because he noticed the looks she gave Joseph. But then he remembers the prophecy he received after the death of his first wife that he would be betrayed in his second marriage without his realizing it; because of this prophecy, he had originally not wanted to remarry. Now he sees the prophecy confirmed. He does not understand that the deception consisted in the fact that Selicha never loved him, only Joseph, and has Joseph thrown into prison as an alleged cheat.
Joseph has to work hard as a blacksmith in prison. He sees in it the providence and a righteous judgment of God, because apparently through this work he should lose his beauty, which has brought him into this misfortune.
Meanwhile, Asaneth learns the truth about Joseph's capture. To spare her relatives the shame, she is silent, but bribes the jailer to keep Joseph away from all the hard work and treat him well.
Selicha meanwhile becomes seriously ill from anger, unfulfilled love, zeal, vindictiveness, remorse and the fear that the truth might come to light. Because Potiphar believes she is in this condition because of Joseph's crimes, he plans to have him killed. Asaneth can prevent this from happening, however. Instead, he writes a letter to Joseph, in which he explains why he had Joseph thrown in prison and that on the next day of the court he will accuse him of being a "hardship / honor thief and murderer" (p. 127). But he wanted to give Joseph the opportunity to defend himself.
In his reply, Joseph rejects the allegation of attempted rape and testifies to God that he is innocent. Asaneth sees in Joseph's letter further evidence of his virtue, because despite his predicament he refrained from mentioning Selicha's infatuation. This increases their love for him. She succeeds in persuading Potiphar to postpone the trial and she is able to thwart a poison attack by Selicha on Joseph.Joseph wonders and puzzles who the apparently high-ranking person could be who helps him and who knows about Selicha's love for him. He thanks God for this care and asks him to protect the unknown person.
Joseph's imprisonment lasted two years, during which he acquired further knowledge in prognostics, astrology and dream interpretation. A year and a half after Joseph's imprisonment, the old Pharaoh dies and his son Tmaus ascends the throne. Selicha continues to languish in her grief and finally “dies” on the very day that Joseph had foretold (p. 138).
Some time after the change on the throne, the chief baker and the Pharaoh's cupbearer are taken to prison. Both are accused of relatively minor offenses, but the new king punishes even minor offenses harshly. Both have had dreams that Joseph interprets for them. The cupbearer, who had dreamed of three vines that he let flow into the pharaoh's goblet as wine, he predicts the imminent pardon. But to the baker, who had dreamed that birds would eat three baskets of bread on his head, he prophesied that he would be executed as a thief. Both prophecies turn out to be true, but Joseph does not benefit from them for the time being and remains in prison.
Because the new Pharaoh pardoned many prisoners in the course of his coronation and the workshops lack workers, serfs are brought in. This is how Musai, who once protected the caravan from the robbers by making Joseph an embodiment of Apollo, arrives in Joseph's prison. The two recognize each other immediately and become friends. Musai again prophesies a great future for Joseph: Without his help, Egypt would perish within fifteen years. In addition, he will experience great happiness within a week and receive the hand of the "most excellent Dam in all of Egypt" (p. 146).
A few days later the pharaoh has dreams that the courtly interpreters of dreams cannot interpret. In the general perplexity, the cupbearer remembers Joseph and tells the pharaoh that a Hebrew slave who had formerly belonged to Potiphar and who is now in prison has interpreted his and the baker's dream correctly. Therefore, Joseph, who, contrary to his expectations, has lost none of his beauty in prison, is taken out of prison and brought before the Pharaoh. On the way he happened to meet Asaneth, who wanted to go to Pharaoh to ask for him. When he sees her, he immediately falls in love with her.
The Chancellor tells Joseph about the Pharaoh's dreams: seven lean oxen would have simply eaten seven fat ones without becoming fat themselves, and seven lean ears of corn would have devoured seven rich ears without increasing in size. Joseph replies that God sent dreams to Pharaoh so that he could prepare for the events that would happen in his reign. He explains to Pharaoh that the seven fat oxen and rich ears of corn meant seven good harvest years. The seven lean oxen and ears of wheat, on the other hand, would represent seven bad years which the good years consumed. It is therefore important that the Pharaoh commission a wise man in good time to make the necessary preparations so that Egypt does not lose its prosperity in the bad years.
After a brief consultation with the dignitaries, the Pharaoh himself determined Joseph to be the man he had advised. Joseph should have full power of disposal and should only be subordinate to the Pharaoh. Joseph thanks Pharaoh and promises to do everything possible to justify his trust. But first he wants to sort out his own affairs because he is still suspected of having committed adultery. The Pharaoh therefore summons the maids of the Selicha and Potiphar to appear before the court, which he presides himself.
In the trial, Selicha's “wickedness” (p. 162) and Potiphar's “folly” (p. 163) soon come to light, with Asaneth's help Joseph can prove his innocence. Potiphar is severely reprimanded for letting Joseph remain innocent in prison for so long and is relieved of his post as head chef. After the trial, Joseph is installed in his new office and, amid general cheers, which only the ashamed Potiphar does not join in, but later congratulates him, he is betrothed and married to Asaneth.
Joseph, who is now the Pharaoh's deputy and bears the honorary name Psonthom Phanachon, gets Musai out of prison and makes him the conductor (administrator) of his house. He had grain silos and grain houses built all over Egypt. He buys whatever grain he can find and makes it a punishable offense to feed good grain to the cattle. Any grain that is not needed must be taken to the royal storerooms. In this way he collects enormous amounts of grain during the seven fat years while the pharaoh's treasuries are emptied, to the annoyance of the imperial councils, who consider Joseph to be a swindler. The common people also begin to grumble and become dissatisfied about Joseph's actions. Soon they believe that Joseph is wasting Pharaoh's treasures and mocking him. The situation is on the verge of rebellion when the seven fat years are over and the first crop failures occur. Soon a completely unexpected shortage hits the population everywhere.
Before the drought began, Asaneth gave birth to two sons to Joseph whom he named Ephraim and Manasseh. In addition, Asaneth accepts his faith after she has learned from her father, a priest in Heliopolis, that there is only one true God and that the Egyptian gods are only deceptions that are used to hide the true faith from the common people. Asaneth is all the more dear to Joseph because he brought her to the true faith. Under the skilful administration of Musai, Joseph's fortune also grew considerably.
After seven years the price increases and the famine gradually spreads. One day Musai reports that the men who once sold Joseph as slaves to his caravan are standing in front of the gate to buy grain. He asks if Joseph wants to take revenge on them. Joseph, however, feels no vengeance, and he also refers to divine providence: If his brothers had not sold him as a slave, then he would not have been able to save the caravan from the robbers, then Joseph would never have reached this high position and then Musai would never have been Become an administrator. Therefore, Musai should be grateful to the brothers. Musai praises the wisdom that speaks from Joseph's words.
Joseph receives his brothers without revealing himself to them. He accuses them of being thieves and troublemakers and has them arrested. He confronts her with the charge of having sold a youth into slavery twenty years earlier. Eventually he sends her home, but keeps Simeon hostage. To prove their innocence, they would have to bring their youngest brother Benjamin with them on the next trip. Then he sells them grain and has the money secretly returned to them.
After their return, the Jacob brothers describe their experiences without mentioning the accusation that they once sold a young man into slavery. They ask their father to send them to Egypt a second time with Benjamin so that they can redeem Simeon. Jacob, however, does not want to put Benjamin in danger and denies them permission to travel. But when the supplies are exhausted and they try to persuade him again, he sends them with a heavy heart to Egypt with Benjamin. He gives them double the amount of money and many gifts to appease the Egyptian administrator.
When they get back to Joseph, they offer Musai the supposedly missing money. However, Musai claims he is unaware of the lack of money. He has Simeon fetched and leads her to Joseph. He is now with the Pharaoh, in whose high favor he is because he not only leads the country through the famine wisely, but also because all neighboring peoples in Egypt have to buy grain and thus foreign money comes into the state coffers. In this way, under Joseph's leadership, Egypt becomes the richest and most powerful country in the world. Pharaoh's gratitude knows no bounds, but Joseph remains humble and refuses excessive honors and gifts.
When he comes home and hears about the arrival of his brothers through Musai, he invites them to dinner because they had brought their youngest brother with them and he now sees that they are honest people. He arranges the table so that the brothers sit around the table in the order of their age. The table talk, in which Joseph participates little, revolves around Jacob and how difficult it was for him to let Benjamin go with them. Soon they will also talk about the pain that Joseph's death inflicted on Jacob. Since then, there has been little joy in Jacob's house. Asaneth wonders that these virtuous men should once "have sold their husband treacherously" (p. 198). She attributes this to the divine counsel that revealed Joseph's virtues to all the world by saving Egypt from destruction.
Musai explains to the brothers that he has already arranged everything and that their sacks filled with grain will be ready the next morning. In addition, they would have permission to ask for corn again at any time. During the night, Musai puts the money back into the sack and also puts Joseph's tableware in Benjamin's sack. The next morning the brothers happily set out, but at noon they are overtaken by Joseph's guard, who accuse them of stealing from Joseph. When they find the alleged stolen property in Benjamin's sack, Musai has him tied up and carried away. He should be hanged the same day. He releases the rest of the brothers so that they can go wherever they want.
Because the brothers do not dare to return to their father without Benjamin, they follow Musai and the bodyguard. Joseph holds court in his house, he himself is the judge, Musai the prosecutor and the brothers the defense counsel. Joseph passes a seemingly just verdict: Benjamin is hanged as a convicted thief, the brothers released as proven innocents. Then a great howl breaks out among the brothers, Judas and Ruben offer Joseph to die instead of Benjamin and complain that they have to report the loss of a beloved son to Jacob again. When Joseph shows himself inexorably, Ruben claims to have stolen the tableware himself and pushed it under Benjamin. Joseph replies that if this happens, he will have both of them executed.
At that moment, however, Joseph can no longer maintain his facade and tearfully reveals his true identity to his brothers. He would have wanted to see if they would do the same thing to Benjamin as they would have done to him. He now has proof that they are not malicious and that he can forgive them. He says that it was evidently God's will to lead him to Egypt as a slave and to make him the savior of the country. So they did not act of their own accord, but followed Divine Providence. He tells them to return to their father as quickly as possible and to bring him the good news.
When Jacob learns of Joseph's survival and his career, he sees his old dream interpretations confirmed. He accepts Joseph's invitation to come to Egypt and survive the famine there, and after a few days he leaves with all of his family. He is warmly welcomed in Egypt and given a land where he can graze his flocks.
Meanwhile, the famine in Egypt is getting worse. People have to give up all their belongings in order to buy food, and soon there is hardly anything left that does not belong to the Pharaoh. Eventually people are forced to offer themselves as serfs and slaves. You now have to build cities, castles and towers for the Pharaoh. Only the priests and those under Joseph's protection are spared.
After the end of the famine, Joseph set up a feudal economic system: the fields were divided into farmyards, the owners of which had to pay the pharaoh a fifth of the income annually as a tax. The farmers cultivate their fields as before, but are now tenants of the Pharaoh. So everyone benefits from this new system: the common people have a secure job again and the Pharaoh a secure income.
Seventeen years after his arrival in Egypt, Jacob died of old age. He previously blessed his sons and bequeathed the land of Canaan to their descendants, which they should divide among themselves. Joseph and his brothers buried him in Hebron. Joseph spends the rest of his life virtuous and blissful until he dies at the age of 110. Fearing that the Egyptians, who worship him as a god, might worship his bones as idols, he orders his relatives to keep his bones hidden and not to bury them until they return to Canaan one day. It was not until 400 years after his death that Joseph was buried next to his father in Hebron.
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