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The Delta Drought
Israel and Egypt are not a great distance apart (they in fact share a common national border), and yet when the land of Israel experienced a great drought, Egypt was still prospering.
"42:1 Now when Jacob saw that there was corn [i.e. wheat - see Corn] in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? 42:2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.
"Get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live"
Agriculture in the land of Israel required rain to water the relatively dry and sandy soil. Egypt was also surrounded by desert, but the Nile delta region was not only well-watered with a natural irrigation system, the deposits from the river provided a deep, fertile organic soil that held whatever water it received far better than other kinds of soil. Egypt still required rain, in order to make the river flow, but as far as that particular drought was concerned, it bought Egypt time to prepare before it too eventually felt the effects of the drought.
How did the Egyptians know to prepare for a severe drought? The LORD gave the warning to the Pharaoh in a dream, which then also had the purpose of making the Israelite patriarch Joseph The Prime Minister Of Egypt after the LORD gave Joseph the knowledge to interpret the dream.
"41:1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. 41:2 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow. 41:3 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river.
Exactly as prophesied, the effects of the drought hit Egypt as well, but by the time that it did, Joseph had made the nation ready. It was under those conditions that the Israelites moved to Egypt's "land of Goshen" - in the rich, well-watered Nile delta region.
"41:53 And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. 41:54 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. 41:55 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.
Fact Finder: What Israelite "ark" made its voyage in Egypt's Nile River? Who was in it?