46 ¶ And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. 47 And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. 48 And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. 49 And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. 50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. 51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. 52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. 53 And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. 54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. 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.
Note that Joseph is thirty years old when he stood before the Pharaoh. Young Hebrew Levite men began their service to God at thirty years of age (Numbers 4:3). David was thirty years old when he began to reign (see 2Samuel 5:4). Jesus Christ began His ministry on earth at that age, as well when He, the Holy Ghost, and God the Father were all three present together at His baptism (Luke 3:21-23).
Joseph toured Egypt as Pharaoh’s representative, carrying with him the power of Pharaoh over the Egyptians. For seven years harvests were plentiful and there was no end to the amount that Joseph could store up for the coming dearth. Obviously, all the food doesn’t mean he left the Egyptians with no food, now, does it but that he gathered all of the food from the 20% of the land that the government took. Countries in crisis, like England in WWII, did things similar to this in their control of food output for war purposes. His wife, Asenath, gave him two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, the meaning of their names found in the text with Manasseh having to do with forgetting and Ephraim being fruitful. The seven years of famine came and in Egypt there was plenty of bread. Finally, when Egyptians began to feel the bite of the dearth they sought for help from the government. Wisely, Pharaoh directed them to Joseph.
This brings us to an important point about reading the Bible. The modern fundamentalist reads it like the owner’s manual for his car and sees And the famine was over all the face of the earth and says there was famine in South America, in the Pacific islands, and in China then, too. But, that is not what this means. The earth, in many places in the Bible, has only to do with the area under concern, the lands of the Near East, what we call the Middle East unless explanatory descriptions like uttermost part of the earth or the four corners of the earth are referring to the entire earth as we know it. This modernistic view of the Bible where we make it mean what we want it to mean and leave no room for question has caused much confusion over the past century, at least. Just remember that when the Bible says;
Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
…it most certainly does not mean that a Roman Emperor had the power to tax the Kalahari bushman of southern Africa or the Olmec kingdom of Mexico. Use some common sense. When you say, “I want everyone to come to my party,” you most certainly don’t mean the entire world without exception.
Thanks to God’s use of Joseph Egypt is now the source of food for the countries around it. All are drawn to it for food as all were supposed to be drawn to Israel for the food that is the word of God had they been obedient. The Old Testament model for evangelism was Israel as a place where men were drawn to know about God as it shall be in the millennial reign of Christ.
Zechariah 8:23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
While under the New Testament model for the Christian the role of evangelism is to go out in the world as we have no abiding earthly country. Jesus told the early Jewish Christians so. Notice in the following how the meaning is to go beyond the boundaries of what the Jew considered his homeland and the command is to go to the uttermost part of the earth.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.