XXXIV. Then when he had washed his hands he restrained his sorrow by the power of reason, and coming back again he feasted the strangers, returning to them the brother who had come with them before, and who had been kept as a hostage for the appearance of the youngest. And with them there also feasted others of the nobles of the Egyptians. And the manner of their entertainment was to each party in accordance with their national customs, since Joseph thought it wrong to overturn ancient laws, aud especially at a banquet where the pleasures should be more numerous than the annoyances. And as he commanded them all to sit down in order according to their age, as the men had not yet learnt the fashion of lying down on occasions of banqueting, they marvelled to see whether the Egyptians would adopt the same habits as the Hebrews, having a regard to regular order, and knowing how to distinguish between the honours due to the eldest and the youngest. Perhaps, too, they thought this man wrho manages all the common business of the house, because the country has hitherto been less refined in matters relating to eating, has now not only introduced regularity and good order into great matters, by which the affairs of peace and war are accustomed to be brought to a successful issue, but also into those things which are usually accounted of less importance, most of which, indeed, refer mainly to amusement. For the object of banquets is cheerfulness, and they do not at all allow the guests to be too solemn and austere-looking. While they were praising the arrangements of the feast in this quiet way, tables are brought indeed, of no great costliness or luxury, as, by reason of the famine, their host did not think it proper to revel too much amid the distresses of others; and they, like men of sense and understanding, praised this part of his conduct also, because he had thus avoided an unseemly magnificence, which is a thing calculated to provoke envy, saying that he was maintaining the character at the same time of one who sympathised with the needy, and also of a liberal entertainer, placing himself between the two, and avoiding all cause for blaming him in either particular. Therefore his preparations for the entertainment escaped all ill-will being suited to the time, and what was wanting was made up by continual cheerfulness, and by pledging one another in wine, and by good wishes, and by exhortations to eat what there was, which to persons of gentleman-like and accomplished minds was more pleasant than all the sumptuous dishes and liquors which men fond of eating and of epicurism provide for eating and drinking, which are in reality deserving of no serious care, but by which they do in truth display their little-mindedness with great pomp.