XXVII. This is enough to say on this subject. Accordingly Joseph, being appointed the king’s lieutenant, and having undertaken the government and superintendence of the whole of Egypt, went forth in order to become acquainted with all the natives, and investigated all the laws that were established in the different cities, and caused a great affection for himself to arise in the breasts of those who saw him, not only because of the services which he conferred upon every one of them, but also by the unspeakable and unrivalled graces of his appearance and by the courtesy with which he associated with them. But when, in accordance with the interpretation of the dreams, the first seven years of fertility arrived, he collected one-fifth of the produce every year by means of his subordinate officers and others who were employed under him in the public offices, and by this means he collected such a vast quantity of sheaves of corn as no one recollected as having ever existed at any previous time. And the most evident proof of this is that they could not possibly be counted, even although thousands and thousands of persons were occupied in the task, whose sole business it was to devote all their energies to count them. And when these seven years had passed, during which the plain of Egypt was fertile, the famine began, which, as it proceeded and increased, was not confined to Egypt; for as it became diffused, and from time to time extended, so as to be always comprehending fresh cities and countries in succession, it reached to tbe farthest borders of the land, both in the eastern and western direction, so as to reach at last over the whole world all around. Accordingly, it is said that no general pestilence ever extended so widely, not even that which the sons of the physicians call “the creeping pestilence;” for that also attacks all parts at once, and proceeding onwards rapidly like fire, utterly and completely devours the whole mass of the ulcerated body. Accordingly, they selected the men of the highest reputation in every district, and sent them into Egypt to procure corn; for already the prudence of the young man was celebrated in all quarters, who had, thus provided abundant food against a time of necessity. And he at first commanded all the treasure-houses to be opened, calculating that he should make the people more cheerful when they had beheld the store that was provided, and that in some degree he should be feeding their souls rather than their bodies on good hopes. After that, by means of those to whom the office of regulating the distribution of corn was committed, he sold it to all who wished to buy, keeping a constant eye on the future, and seeing what was impending even more clearly than the present.