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Genesis 41

41
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 ears of corn, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6After them, seven other ears of corn sprouted – thin and scorched by the east wind. 7The thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven healthy, full ears. 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 ears of corn, full and good, growing on a single stalk. 23After them, seven other ears sprouted – withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. 24The thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven good ears. 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 ears of corn are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterwards are seven years, and so are the seven worthless ears of corn 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 round his neck. 43He made 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 travelled 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.
41
Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams
1Two years later Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing beside the Nile, # Gn 41:17-23 2when seven healthy-looking, well-fed cows came up from the Nile and began to graze among the reeds. 3After them, seven other cows, sickly and thin, came up from the Nile and stood beside those cows along the bank of the Nile. 4The sickly, thin cows ate the healthy, well-fed cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. 5He fell asleep and dreamed a second time: Seven heads of grain, plump and ripe, came up on one stalk. 6After them, seven heads of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up. 7The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven plump, ripe ones. Then Pharaoh woke up, and it was only a dream.
8When morning came, he was troubled, # Dn 2:1,3 so he summoned all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. # Ex 7:11,22; Dn 1:20; 2:2 Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.
9Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I remember my faults. 10Pharaoh had been angry with his servants, and he put me and the chief baker in the custody of the captain of the guard. 11He and I had dreams on the same night; each dream had its own meaning. 12Now a young Hebrew, a slave of the captain of the guards, was with us there. We told him our dreams, he interpreted our dreams for us, and each had its own interpretation. 13It turned out just the way he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged.” # Gn 40:1-22
14Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and they quickly brought him from the dungeon. # Ps 105:20 He shaved, changed his clothes, and went to Pharaoh. # Dn 2:25
15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said about you that you can hear a dream and interpret it.” # Dn 5:16
16“I am not able to,” # Dn 2:30 Joseph answered Pharaoh. “It is God who will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” # Or “God will answer Pharaoh with peace of mind .” # Gn 40:8; Dn 2:22,28,47
17So Pharaoh said to Joseph: “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18when seven well-fed, healthy-looking cows came up from the Nile and began to graze among the reeds. 19After them, seven other cows — ugly, very sickly, and thin — came up. I’ve never seen such ugly ones as these in all the land of Egypt. 20Then the thin, ugly cows ate the first seven well-fed cows. 21When they had devoured them, you could not tell that they had devoured them; their appearance was as bad as it had been before. Then I woke up. 22In my dream I had also seen seven heads of grain, plump and ripe, coming up on one stalk. 23After them, seven heads of grain — withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind — sprouted up. 24The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven plump ones. I told this to the magicians, but no one can tell me what it means.” # Is 8:19; Dn 4:7
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God has revealed to Pharaoh what He is about to do. # Dn 2:28-29,45; Rv 4:1 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven ripe heads are seven years. The dreams mean the same thing. 27The seven thin, ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven worthless, scorched heads of grain are seven years of famine. # 2Kg 8:1
28“It is just as I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 29Seven # Lit Look! Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt. 30After them, seven years of famine will take place, and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will devastate the land. # Gn 41:54,56; 47:13; Ps 105:16 31The abundance in the land will not be remembered because of the famine that follows it, for the famine will be very severe. 32Since the dream was given twice to Pharaoh, it means that the matter has been determined by God, and He will carry it out soon.
33“So now, let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh do this: Let him appoint overseers over the land and take a fifth of the harvest of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35Let them gather all the excess food during these good years that are coming. Under Pharaoh’s authority, store the grain in the cities, so they may preserve it as food. 36The food will be a reserve for the land during the seven years of famine that will take place in the land of Egypt. Then the country will not be wiped out by the famine.”
Joseph Exalted
37The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find anyone like this, a man who has God’s spirit # Or the spirit of the gods, or a god’s spirit in him? ” # Jb 32:8; Dn 4:8,9,18; 5:11,14 39So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as intelligent and wise as you are. 40You will be over my house, and all my people will obey your commands. # Lit will kiss your mouth # Ps 105:21; Ac 7:10 Only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “See, I am placing you over all the land of Egypt.” 42Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, clothed him with fine linen garments, and placed a gold chain around his neck. # Est 3:10; 8:2; Dn 5:7,16,29 43He had Joseph ride in his second chariot, and servants called out before him, “Abrek!” # Perhaps an Egyptian word meaning “Attention” or a Hb word meaning “Kneel.” So he placed him over all the land of Egypt. 44Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will be able to raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt without your permission.” 45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah and gave him a wife, Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest at On. # Or Heliopolis And Joseph went throughout # Or Joseph gained authority over the land of Egypt.
Joseph’s Administration
46Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout the land of Egypt.
47During the seven years of abundance the land produced outstanding harvests. 48Joseph gathered all the excess food in the land of Egypt during the seven years and put it in the cities. He put the food in every city from the fields around it. 49So Joseph stored up grain in such abundance — like the sand of the sea — that he stopped measuring it because it was beyond measure.
50Two sons were born to Joseph before the years of famine arrived. # Gn 46:20; 48:5 Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest at On, # Or Heliopolis bore them to him. 51Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, meaning, “God has made me forget all my hardship in my father’s house.” 52And the second son he named Ephraim, meaning, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
53Then the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every country, but throughout the land of Egypt there was food. 55Extreme hunger came to all the land of Egypt, and the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. Pharaoh told all Egypt, “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.” 56Because the famine had spread across the whole country, Joseph opened up all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57Every nation came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, for the famine was severe in every land. # Gn 12:10