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Genesis 41

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Pharaoh’s Dreams
1When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, 2when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. 3After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. 4And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. 7The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.
8In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.
9Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. 10Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. 11Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. 12Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. 13And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.”
14So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.
15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
16“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. 19After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. 20The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. 21But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.
22“In my dream I saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. 23After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. 24The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me.”
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.
28“It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.
33“And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”
37The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God#41:38 Or of the gods?”
39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”
Joseph in Charge of Egypt
41So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command,#41:43 Or in the chariot of his second-in-command; or in his second chariot and people shouted before him, “Make way#41:43 Or Bow down!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.
44Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On,#41:45 That is, Heliopolis; also in verse 50 to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.
46Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.
50Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh#41:51 Manasseh sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for forget. and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52The second son he named Ephraim#41:52 Ephraim sounds like the Hebrew for twice fruitful. and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
53The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.”
56When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.
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Chapter 41
Pharaoh's dreams
1Two years later, Pharaoh had a dream. In his dream, he was standing by the River Nile. 2Seven cows walked up out of the river. They were fat and good to look at. They ate the grass at the side of the river. 3After those seven fat cows, Pharaoh saw seven other cows that also came up out of the river. Those cows were thin and not good to look at. They stood next to the other cows at the side of the river. 4The thin cows ate the seven fat cows! Then Pharaoh woke up.
5Pharaoh went to sleep again and he had another dream. He saw seven groups of grain that were growing on one branch. The grains were fat and good to look at. 6Then he saw seven other groups of grain that grew after the first seven groups. These grains were thin, because the hot east wind had burned them. 7Then the groups of thin grains ate the seven groups of grains that were good and fat. Then Pharaoh woke up. He realized that it was a dream.
8In the morning, Pharaoh had trouble in his mind. So, he told all the magicians and the wise men in Egypt to come to him. Pharaoh told them about his dreams. But no one could tell Pharaoh what his dreams meant.
9Then the king's cupbearer said to Pharaoh, ‘Now I remember that I have done a wrong thing! #41:9 The cupbearer had authority in the king's house. He would make sure that the king's wine was safe for the king to drink. 10Two years ago, you were angry with me and with your special baker. You put us in prison, in the house of the guards' captain. 11One night we both had a dream. Each of our dreams had its own meaning. 12A young Hebrew man was there with us. He was a servant of the guards' captain. We told the Hebrew man about our dreams. Then he told each of us the meaning of our dream. 13And everything happened as he had told us! You gave me my job as cupbearer again. But you hanged the baker to kill him.’
14So Pharaoh called Joseph to come to him. They quickly brought Joseph from the prison. Joseph washed himself and he cut his beard from his face. He put on clean clothes. Then he went and he stood in front of Pharaoh. 15Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I had a dream, and no one can tell me what it means. But people have told me about you. They say that you can tell the meaning of dreams.’ 16Joseph replied to Pharaoh, ‘I cannot do this. But God will give you an answer that will make you happy.’
17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘In my dream, I stood at the side of the River Nile. 18I saw seven cows that came up out of the river. They were fat, and good to look at. They were eating the grass at the side of the river. 19After them, seven more cows came up out of the river. They were thin and they were not good to look at. I have never seen cows as bad as these in Egypt before. 20The thin cows ate the seven fat cows that came out of the river first. 21When they had eaten them, you would not have known it! They still seemed to be as thin as they were before they ate the fat cows. Then I woke up. 22In another dream, I also saw seven groups of grain that grew on one branch. The grains were fat and good. 23After those, seven other groups of grain grew. Those grains were thin because the hot east wind had burned them. 24The thin grains ate the seven groups of fat grains. I told those dreams to my wise men and magicians. But none of them could tell me the meaning of my dreams.’
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, ‘Your dreams both have the same meaning. God has shown you what he is going to do. 26The seven fat cows tell us about seven years. And the seven groups of fat grains also mean seven years. Both dreams have the same meaning. 27The seven thin cows that came out of the river mean seven years. And the seven groups of thin grains mean seven years. Both of these tell us about seven years of famine.
28This is what your dreams mean. As I said, God has shown Pharaoh what he is going to do. 29There will be plenty of food for seven years all over the land of Egypt. 30But then seven years of famine will follow. People will forget about the seven years when they had plenty of food. The famine will destroy the land of Egypt. 31No one will remember the seven good years, because the famine will be so bad. 32God gave you two dreams with the same meaning because these things will certainly happen. God will cause them to happen very soon. 33Now Pharaoh should look for a clever man. He should look for a man who knows what is right and wrong. Tell him to rule over the land of Egypt.
34-35This is what you should do: Choose some officers. Give them authority to store food during the good years when there is plenty. They must take a fifth part of all the food that grows everywhere in Egypt. They must store the extra food during the good years that will come soon. Give these officers authority to store and to take care of the food in the cities. 36Then you will be ready for the seven years of famine that will happen everywhere in Egypt. The people in Egypt will have enough food, and the famine will not destroy the land.’
37Pharaoh and his officers thought that Joseph's idea was good. 38Pharaoh said to his officers, ‘This man has the Spirit of God in him. We will never find anyone else like him.’ 39So Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘God himself has helped you to know all these things. So, there is no one who is as wise and clever as you are. 40I will give you authority in my palace. All my people will do whatever you tell them to do. Only I will be greater than you, because I am the king.’
41Pharaoh also said to Joseph, ‘I give you authority in the whole land of Egypt.’ 42Then Pharaoh took his king's ring from his finger and he put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed Joseph in beautiful clothes made of linen. He put a gold chain round Joseph's neck. 43Pharaoh gave Joseph a chariot to ride in. It showed that Joseph was Pharaoh's most important officer. Only Pharaoh had more authority. As Joseph travelled, his servants shouted to the people, ‘Bend your knees to respect Joseph!’
In this way Pharaoh gave Joseph authority over everything in the land of Egypt. 44Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I rule Egypt as Pharaoh. But nobody who lives anywhere in Egypt will do anything, unless you tell them to.’ 45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. He also gave Asenath to Joseph to be his wife. She was the daughter of Potiphera, who was a priest in Heliopolis. #41:45 Heliopolis was a city where people worshipped the sun-god. The city was also called On. Everyone knew that Joseph had authority in all the land of Egypt.
46Joseph was 30 years old when he began to serve Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Joseph then left Pharaoh's palace and he travelled all over Egypt. 47During the seven good years, lots of food grew in the land. 48Joseph got all the extra food that grew in the seven good years. He stored it in Egypt's cities, near the fields where it had grown. 49In this way, Joseph stored a lot of food. The food grains were as many as the sand by the sea! Joseph stopped counting how much food he had stored because there was too much food to measure.
50Before the years of famine arrived, Joseph became the father of two sons. Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, a priest in Heliopolis, was their mother. 51Joseph called his firstborn son Manasseh. Joseph said, ‘God has made me forget all the trouble that my family has given to me.’ 52Joseph called his second son Ephraim. Joseph said, ‘God has given children to me in the land where I have received pain.’
53The seven good years with plenty of food in Egypt, came to an end. 54The seven years of famine began, in the same way that Joseph had said would happen. There was a famine in all the other countries too. But in Egypt, the people still had food to eat. 55When the Egyptian people became hungry, they cried out to Pharaoh for food. When they did that, Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph. Do whatever he tells you to do.’
56The famine became very bad everywhere. Joseph opened all the places where he had stored the food. He sold grain to the Egyptians because there was a bad famine in all of Egypt. 57People from all the other countries came to Egypt to buy food from Joseph. They came because the famine was very bad all over the world.