Now there was no bread in all the land,
for the famine was very severe;
both the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan languished because of the famine.
Joseph gathered in all the money
that was to be found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan,
as payment for the grain which they were buying
then Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s palace.
And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt
and in the land of Canaan,
all of Egypt came to Joseph, and said:
“Give us bread: for why should we die in your presence,
for the money is gone!”
And Joseph said,
“Bring your livestock, and I will sell to you against your livestock,
if the money is gone.”
So they brought their livestock to Joseph,
and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses,
and for the stocks of sheep and cattle, and the asses;
thus he provided them with bread in exchange
for all their livestock during that year.
And when that year was ended,
they came to him the next year and said to him:
“We cannot hide it from my lord that our money is spent;
my lord also has our herds of cattle;
there is nothing left at my lord’s disposal,
but our bodies and our lands.
Why shall we die before your eyes, both we and our land?
Take us and our land in exchange for bread,
and we and our land will be servants to Pharaoh;
give us grain, that we may live and not die,
and that the land will not become desolate.
So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh;
for the Egyptians sold every man his field,
because the famine was too much for them;
thus the land became Pharaoh’s.
And as for the people,
he removed them to the cities,
from one end of the borders of Egypt to the other.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)