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Genesis 41

Pharaoh’s Dreams
1Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, that #Gen. 40:5; Judg. 7:13Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the river. 2Suddenly there came up out of the river seven cows, fine looking and fat; and they fed in the meadow. 3Then behold, seven other cows came up after them out of the river, ugly and gaunt, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the river. 4And the ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven fine looking and fat cows. So Pharaoh awoke. 5He slept and dreamed a second time; and suddenly seven heads of grain came up on one stalk, plump and good. 6Then behold, seven thin heads, blighted by the #Ex. 10:13; Ezek. 17:10east wind, sprang up after them. 7And the seven thin heads devoured the seven plump and full heads. So Pharaoh awoke, and indeed, it was a dream. 8Now it came to pass in the morning #Dan. 2:1, 3; 4:5, 19that his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all #Ex. 7:11, 22; Is. 29:14; Dan. 1:20; 2:2; 4:7the magicians of Egypt and all its #Matt. 2:1wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharaoh.
9Then the #Gen. 40:1, 14, 23chief butler spoke to Pharaoh, saying: “I remember my faults this day. 10When Pharaoh was #Gen. 40:2, 3angry with his servants, #Gen. 39:20and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, both me and the chief baker, 11#Gen. 40:5; Judg. 7:15we each had a dream in one night, he and I. Each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. 12Now there was a young #Gen. 39:14; 43:32Hebrew man with us there, a #Gen. 37:36servant of the captain of the guard. And we told him, and he #Gen. 40:12interpreted our dreams for us; to each man he interpreted according to his own dream. 13And it came to pass, just #Gen. 40:21, 22as he interpreted for us, so it happened. He restored me to my office, and he hanged him.”
14#Ps. 105:20Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they #Dan. 2:25brought him quickly #(1 Sam. 2:8)out of the dungeon; and he shaved, #2 Kin. 25:27–29changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. 15And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. #Gen. 41:8, 12; Dan. 5:16But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.”
16So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, #Dan. 2:30; Acts 3:12; (2 Cor. 3:5)It is not in me; #Gen. 40:8; 41:25, 28, 32; Deut. 29:29; Dan. 2:22, 28, 47God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”
17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph: “Behold, #Gen. 41:1in my dream I stood on the bank of the river. 18Suddenly seven cows came up out of the river, fine looking and fat; and they fed in the meadow. 19Then behold, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and gaunt, such ugliness as I have never seen in all the land of Egypt. 20And the gaunt and ugly cows ate up the first seven, the fat cows. 21When they had eaten them up, no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were just as ugly as at the beginning. So I awoke. 22Also I saw in my dream, and suddenly seven heads came up on one stalk, full and good. 23Then behold, seven heads, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprang up after them. 24And the thin heads devoured the seven good heads. So #Gen. 41:8; Ex. 7:11; Is. 8:19; Dan. 4:7I told this to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me.”
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; #Gen. 41:28, 32; Dan. 2:28, 29, 45; Rev. 4:1God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do: 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads are seven years; the dreams are one. 27And the seven thin and ugly cows which came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty heads blighted by the east wind are #2 Kin. 8:1seven years of famine. 28#(Gen. 41:25, 32; Dan. 2:28)This is the thing which I have spoken to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. 29Indeed #Gen. 41:47seven years of great plenty will come throughout all the land of Egypt; 30but after them seven years of famine will #Gen. 41:54, 56arise, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine #Gen. 47:13; Ps. 105:16will deplete the land. 31So the plenty will not be known in the land because of the famine following, for it will be very severe. 32And the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the #Gen. 41:25, 28; Num. 23:19; Is. 46:10, 11thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.
33“Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, #(Prov. 6:6–8)to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. 35And #Gen. 41:48let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land #Gen. 47:15, 19may not perish during the famine.”
Joseph’s Rise to Power
37So #Ps. 105:19; Acts 7:10the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. 38And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man #Num. 27:18; (Job 32:8; Prov. 2:6); Dan. 4:8, 9, 18; 5:11, 14; 6:3in whom is the Spirit of God?”
39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40#Ps. 105:21; Acts 7:10You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have #Gen. 42:6; Ps. 105:21; Dan. 6:3; Acts 7:10set you over all the land of Egypt.”
42Then Pharaoh #Esth. 3:10took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand; and he #Esth. 8:2, 15clothed him in garments of fine linen #Dan. 5:7, 16, 29and put a gold chain around his neck. 43And he had him ride in the second #Gen. 46:29chariot which he had; #Esth. 6:9and they cried out before him, “Bow the knee!” So he set him #Gen. 42:6over all the land of Egypt. 44Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-Paaneah. And he gave him as a wife #Gen. 46:20Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On. So Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
46Joseph was thirty years old when he #1 Sam. 16:21; 1 Kin. 12:6, 8; Dan. 1:19stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. 47Now in the seven plentiful years the ground brought forth abundantly. 48So he gathered up all the food of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities; he laid up in every city the food of the fields which surrounded them. 49Joseph gathered very much grain, #Gen. 22:17; Judg. 7:12; 1 Sam. 13:5as the sand of the sea, until he stopped counting, for it was immeasurable.
50#Gen. 46:20; 48:5And to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On, bore to him. 51Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my #Ps. 45:10father’s house.” 52And the name of the second he called Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be #Gen. 17:6; 28:3; 49:22fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
53Then the seven years of plenty which were in the land of Egypt ended, 54#Ps. 105:16; Acts 7:11and the seven years of famine began to come, #Gen. 41:30as Joseph had said. The famine was in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Then Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; #John 2:5whatever he says to you, do.” 56The famine was over all the face of the earth, and Joseph opened all the storehouses and #Gen. 42:6sold to the Egyptians. And the famine became severe in the land of Egypt. 57#Ezek. 29:12So all countries came to Joseph in Egypt to #Gen. 27:28, 37; 42:3buy grain, because the famine was severe in all lands.
Joseph interprets the king's dreams
1Two years later the king#41.1 the king: See the note at 12.15. of Egypt dreamed he was standing beside the River Nile. 2Suddenly, seven fat, healthy cows came up from the river and started eating grass along the bank. 3Then seven ugly, skinny cows came up out of the river and 4ate the fat, healthy cows. When this happened, the king woke up.
5The king went back to sleep and had another dream. This time seven full heads of grain were growing on a single stalk. 6Later, seven other heads of grain appeared, but they were thin and scorched by the east wind. 7The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven full heads. Again the king woke up, and it had only been a dream.
8The next morning the king was upset. So he called in his magicians and wise men and told them what he had dreamed. None of them could tell him what the dreams meant.#Dn 2.2.
9The king's personal servant said:
Now I remember what I was supposed to do. 10When you were angry with me and your chief cook, you threw us both in jail in the house of the captain of the guard. 11One night we both had dreams, and each dream had a different meaning. 12A young Hebrew, who was a servant of the captain of the guard, was there with us at the time. When we told him our dreams, he explained what each of them meant, 13and everything happened just as he said it would. I got my job back, and the cook was put to death.
14The king sent for Joseph, who was quickly brought out of jail. He shaved, changed his clothes, and went to the king.
15The king said to him, “I had a dream, yet no one can explain what it means. I am told that you can interpret dreams.”
16“Your Majesty,” Joseph answered, “I can't do it myself, but God can give a good meaning to your dreams.”
17The king told Joseph:
I dreamed I was standing on the bank of the River Nile. 18I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river, and they began feeding on the grass. 19Next, seven skinny, bony cows came up out of the river. I have never seen such terrible looking cows anywhere in Egypt. 20The skinny cows ate the fat ones. 21But you couldn't tell it, because these skinny cows were just as skinny as they were before. Straight away, I woke up.
22I also dreamed that I saw seven heads of grain growing on one stalk. The heads were full and ripe. 23Then seven other heads of grain came up. They were thin and scorched by a wind from the desert. 24These heads of grain swallowed the full ones. I told my dreams to the magicians, but none of them could tell me the meaning of the dreams.
25Joseph replied:
Your Majesty, both of your dreams mean the same thing, and in them God has shown what he is going to do. 26The seven good cows stand for seven years, and so do the seven good heads of grain. 27The seven skinny, ugly cows that came up later also stand for seven years, as do the seven bad heads of grain that were scorched by the east wind. The dreams mean there will be seven years when there won't be enough grain.
28It is just as I said—God has shown what he intends to do. 29For seven years Egypt will have more than enough grain, 30but that will be followed by seven years when there won't be enough. The good years of plenty will be forgotten, and everywhere in Egypt people will be starving. 31The famine will be so bad that no one will remember that once there had been plenty. 32God has given you two dreams to let you know that he has definitely decided to do this and that he will do it soon.
33Your Majesty, you should find someone who is wise and will know what to do, so that you can put him in charge of all Egypt. 34Then appoint some other officials to collect one-fifth of every crop harvested in Egypt during the seven years when there is plenty. 35Give them the power to collect the grain during those good years and to store it in your cities. 36It can be stored until it is needed during the seven years when there won't be enough grain in Egypt. This will keep the country from being destroyed because of the lack of food.
Joseph is made governor over Egypt
37The king#41.37 The king: See the note at 12.15. and his officials liked this plan. 38So the king said to them, “No one could possibly handle this better than Joseph, since the Spirit of God is with him.”
39The king told Joseph, “God is the one who has shown you these things. No one else is as wise as you are or knows as much as you do. 40I'm putting you in charge of my palace, and everybody will have to obey you. No one will be over you except me.#Ac 7.10. 41You are now governor of all Egypt!”
42Then the king took off his royal ring and put it on Joseph's finger. He gave him fine clothes to wear and placed a gold chain around his neck.#Dn 5.29. 43He also let him ride in the chariot next to his own, and people shouted, “Make way for Joseph!” So Joseph was governor of Egypt.
44The king told Joseph, “Although I'm king, no one in Egypt is to do anything without your permission.” 45He gave Joseph the Egyptian name Zaphenath Paneah. And he let him marry Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, a priest in the city of Heliopolis.#41.45 Heliopolis: The Hebrew text has “On”, which is better known by its Greek name “Heliopolis”. Joseph travelled all over Egypt.
46Joseph was thirty when the king made him governor, and he went everywhere for the king. 47For seven years there were big harvests of grain. 48Joseph collected and stored up the extra grain in the cities of Egypt near the fields where it was harvested. 49In fact, there was so much grain that they stopped keeping record, because it was like counting the grains of sand along the beach.
50Joseph and his wife had two sons before the famine began. 51Their first son was named Manasseh, which means, “God has let me forget all my troubles and my family back home.” 52His second son was named Ephraim, which means “God has made me a success#41.52 God has made me a success: Or “God has given me children.” in the land where I suffered.”#41.52 Ephraim…suffered: In Hebrew “Ephraim” actually means either “fertile land” or “pasture land”.
53Egypt's seven years of plenty came to an end, 54and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was not enough food in other countries, but all over Egypt there was plenty.#Ac 7.11. 55When the famine finally struck Egypt, the people asked the king for food, but he said, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you to do.”#Jn 2.5.
56The famine became bad everywhere in Egypt, so Joseph opened the storehouses and sold the grain to the Egyptians. 57People from all over the world came to Egypt, because the famine was severe in their countries.