Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Jacob, received manifestations of the will of the Lord at a very early age. This apparent favor caused some jealousies among his brothers.
When Joseph was 17, he was sent by his father to inquire about the welfare of his brothers who were tending the family flocks at Dothan. When they saw him approaching, they said, `Behold the dreamer cometh' (Gen. 37:19), and they plotted to take his life. But by the intercession of one of his brothers, a compromise was reached, and they sold Joseph for 20 pieces of silver to a group of Ishmaelites who were going down into Egypt to sell their spices.In his April 1956 general conference address, Elder Sterling W. Sill, then an Assistant to the Twelve, said: "In Egypt God did not forsake Joseph but continued to give him other manifestations of the divine will. This fact was known to some of Joseph's associates, and 15 years later when Pharaoh had a dream which troubled him, Joseph was sent for. Joseph told Pharaoh that there would come seven years of great plenty. These would be followed by seven years of famine, and Joseph advised Pharaoh to build granaries and store up the corn in the good years to reduce the suffering during the years of famine. Pharaoh, seeing that Joseph was a man of ability and understanding and that the Lord was with him, appointed him to be the manager of this great Egyptian welfare program. Then Joseph built granaries and stored up the corn during these seven years of plenty.
"Finally the years of abundance were over, and the great famine began. Then Joseph opened the granaries, and all of the surrounding nations, including the brothers of Joseph, came to Egypt to buy corn. When the brothers learned that Joseph was now a man of great authority and power, they were naturally very frightened. But Joseph quieted their fears with these words. He said: ` . . . be not grieved nor angry with yourselves . . . that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.' (Gen. 45:5.)
"And thus for [20 pieces of silverT several nations were saved from starvation."