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Genesis 41

41
Pharaoh’s Dreams
1Two full years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 2In his dream he saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and begin grazing in the marsh grass. 3Then he saw seven more cows come up behind them from the Nile, but these were scrawny and thin. These cows stood beside the fat cows on the riverbank. 4Then the scrawny, thin cows ate the seven healthy, fat cows! At this point in the dream, Pharaoh woke up.
5But he fell asleep again and had a second dream. This time he saw seven heads of grain, plump and beautiful, growing on a single stalk. 6Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were shriveled and withered by the east wind. 7And these thin heads swallowed up the seven plump, well-formed heads! Then Pharaoh woke up again and realized it was a dream.
8The next morning Pharaoh was very disturbed by the dreams. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. When Pharaoh told them his dreams, not one of them could tell him what they meant.
9Finally, the king’s chief cup-bearer spoke up. “Today I have been reminded of my failure,” he told Pharaoh. 10“Some time ago, you were angry with the chief baker and me, and you imprisoned us in the palace of the captain of the guard. 11One night the chief baker and I each had a dream, and each dream had its own meaning. 12There was a young Hebrew man with us in the prison who was a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he told us what each of our dreams meant. 13And everything happened just as he had predicted. I was restored to my position as cup-bearer, and the chief baker was executed and impaled on a pole.”
14Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was quickly brought from the prison. After he shaved and changed his clothes, he went in and stood before Pharaoh. 15Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.”
16“It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.”
17So Pharaoh told Joseph his dream. “In my dream,” he said, “I was standing on the bank of the Nile River, 18and I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and begin grazing in the marsh grass. 19But then I saw seven sick-looking cows, scrawny and thin, come up after them. I’ve never seen such sorry-looking animals in all the land of Egypt. 20These thin, scrawny cows ate the seven fat cows. 21But afterward you wouldn’t have known it, for they were still as thin and scrawny as before! Then I woke up.
22“In my dream I also saw seven heads of grain, full and beautiful, growing on a single stalk. 23Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were blighted, shriveled, and withered by the east wind. 24And the shriveled heads swallowed the seven healthy heads. I told these dreams to the magicians, but no one could tell me what they mean.”
25Joseph responded, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God is telling Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. 26The seven healthy cows and the seven healthy heads of grain both represent seven years of prosperity. 27The seven thin, scrawny cows that came up later and the seven thin heads of grain, withered by the east wind, represent seven years of famine.
28“This will happen just as I have described it, for God has revealed to Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. 29The next seven years will be a period of great prosperity throughout the land of Egypt. 30But afterward there will be seven years of famine so great that all the prosperity will be forgotten in Egypt. Famine will destroy the land. 31This famine will be so severe that even the memory of the good years will be erased. 32As for having two similar dreams, it means that these events have been decreed by God, and he will soon make them happen.
33“Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt. 34Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. 35Have them gather all the food produced in the good years that are just ahead and bring it to Pharaoh’s storehouses. Store it away, and guard it so there will be food in the cities. 36That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.”
Joseph Made Ruler of Egypt
37Joseph’s suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials. 38So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?” 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. 40You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.”
41Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. 43Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, “Kneel down!” So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. 44And Pharaoh said to him, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.”
45Then Pharaoh gave Joseph a new Egyptian name, Zaphenath-paneah.#41:45a Zaphenath-paneah probably means “God speaks and lives.” He also gave him a wife, whose name was Asenath. She was the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On.#41:45b Greek version reads of Heliopolis; also in 41:50. So Joseph took charge of the entire land of Egypt. 46He was thirty years old when he began serving in the court of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. And when Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence, he inspected the entire land of Egypt.
47As predicted, for seven years the land produced bumper crops. 48During those years, Joseph gathered all the crops grown in Egypt and stored the grain from the surrounding fields in the cities. 49He piled up huge amounts of grain like sand on the seashore. Finally, he stopped keeping records because there was too much to measure.
50During this time, before the first of the famine years, two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. 51Joseph named his older son Manasseh,#41:51 Manasseh sounds like a Hebrew term that means “causing to forget.” for he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.” 52Joseph named his second son Ephraim,#41:52 Ephraim sounds like a Hebrew term that means “fruitful.” for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.”
53At last the seven years of bumper crops throughout the land of Egypt came to an end. 54Then the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had predicted. The famine also struck all the surrounding countries, but throughout Egypt there was plenty of food. 55Eventually, however, the famine spread throughout the land of Egypt as well. And when the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, he told them, “Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you.” 56So with severe famine everywhere, Joseph opened up the storehouses and distributed grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt. 57And people from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe throughout the world.
41
Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams
1Two years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing near the Nile. 2In front of him, seven healthy-looking, fattened cows climbed up out of the Nile and grazed on the reeds. 3Just then, seven other cows, terrible-looking and scrawny, climbed up out of the Nile after them and stood beside them on the bank of the Nile. 4The terrible-looking, scrawny cows devoured the seven healthy-looking, fattened cows. Then Pharaoh woke up. 5He went back to sleep and had a second dream, in which seven ears of grain, full and healthy, grew on a single stalk. 6Just then, seven ears of grain, scrawny and scorched by the east wind, sprouted after them, 7and the scrawny ears swallowed up the full and well-formed ears. Then Pharaoh woke up and realized it was a dream. 8In the morning, he was disturbed and summoned all of Egypt’s religious experts#41.8 Or magicians and all of its advisors. Pharaoh described his dreams#41.8 Sam; MT dream to them, but they couldn’t interpret them for Pharaoh.
9Then the chief wine steward spoke to Pharaoh: “Today I’ve just remembered my mistake. 10Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker under arrest with the commander of the royal guard. 11We both dreamed one night, he and I, and each of our dreams had its own interpretation. 12A young Hebrew man, a servant of the commander of the royal guard, was with us. We described our dreams to him, and he interpreted our dreams for us, giving us an interpretation for each dream. 13His interpretations came true exactly: Pharaoh restored me to my position but hanged him.”
14So Pharaoh summoned Joseph, and they quickly brought him from the dungeon. He shaved, changed clothes, and appeared before Pharaoh. 15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, but no one could interpret it. Then I heard that when you hear a dream, you can interpret it.”
16Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It’s not me. God will give Pharaoh a favorable response.”
17So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile. 18In front of me, seven fattened, stout cows climbed up out of the Nile and grazed on the reeds. 19Just then, seven other cows, weak and frail and thin, climbed up after them. I’ve never seen such awful cows in all the land of Egypt. 20Then the thin, frail cows devoured the first seven, fattened cows. 21But after they swallowed them whole, no one would have known it. They looked just as bad as they had before. Then I woke up. 22I went to sleep again#41.22 LXX, Syr, Vulg; MT lacks I went to sleep again. and saw in my dream seven full and healthy ears of grain growing on one stalk. 23Just then, seven hard and thin ears of grain, scorched by the east wind, sprouted after them, 24and the thin ears swallowed up the healthy ears. I told the religious experts,#41.24 Or magicians but they couldn’t explain it to me.”
25Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh has actually had one dream. God has announced to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven healthy cows are seven years, and the seven healthy ears of grain are seven years. It’s actually one dream. 27The seven thin and frail cows, climbing up after them, are seven years. The seven thin ears of grain, scorched by the east wind, are seven years of famine. 28It’s just as I told Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Seven years of great abundance are now coming throughout the entire land of Egypt. 30After them, seven years of famine will appear, and all of the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will devastate the land. 31No one will remember the abundance in the land because the famine that follows will be so very severe. 32The dream occurred to Pharaoh twice because God has determined to do it, and God will make it happen soon.
Joseph’s rise to power
33“Now Pharaoh should find an intelligent, wise man and give him authority over the land of Egypt. 34Then Pharaoh should appoint administrators over the land and take one-fifth of all the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35During the good years that are coming, they should collect all such food and store the grain under Pharaoh’s control, protecting the food in the cities. 36This food will be reserved for the seven years of famine to follow in the land of Egypt so that the land won’t be ravaged by the famine.”
37This advice seemed wise to Pharaoh and all his servants, 38and Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man with more God-given gifts#41.38 Or like this one, in whom is the spirit of God than this one?” 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, no one is as intelligent and wise as you are. 40You will be in charge of my kingdom,#41.40 Or house and all my people will obey#41.40 LXX; Heb uncertain, perhaps submit themselves to your command your command. Only as the enthroned king will I be greater than you.” 41Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Know this: I’ve given you authority over the entire land of Egypt.” 42Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, he dressed him in linen clothes, and he put a gold necklace around his neck. 43He put Joseph on the chariot of his second-in-command, and everyone in front of him cried out, “Attention!”#41.43 An Egyptian loanword similar to the Heb word kneel So Pharaoh installed him over the entire land of Egypt. 44Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh; no one will do anything or go anywhere in all the land of Egypt without your permission.” 45Pharaoh renamed Joseph, Zaphenath-paneah, and married him to Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera the priest of Heliopolis.#41.45 Heb On
Then Joseph assumed control of the land of Egypt. 46Joseph was 30 years old when he began to serve Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, when he left Pharaoh’s court and traveled through the entire land of Egypt. 47During the seven years of abundance, the land produced plentifully. 48He collected all of the food during the seven years of abundance#41.48 LXX; MT lacks of abundance. in the land of Egypt, and stored the food in cities. In each city, he stored the food from the fields surrounding it. 49Joseph amassed grain like the sand of the sea. There was so much that he stopped trying to measure it because it was beyond measuring. 50Before the years of famine arrived, Asenath the daughter of Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis,#41.50 Heb On gave birth to two sons for Joseph. 51Joseph named the oldest son Manasseh,#41.51 Or making forget “because,” he said, “God has helped me forget all of my troubles and everyone in my father’s household.” 52He named the second Ephraim,#41.52 Sounds like has given me children “because,” he said, “God has given me children in the land where I’ve been treated harshly.”
53The 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. The famine struck every country, but the entire land of Egypt had bread. 55When the famine ravaged the entire land of Egypt and the people pleaded to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh said to all of the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. Do whatever he tells you.” 56The famine covered every part of the land, and Joseph opened all of the granaries#41.56 LXX, Syr; MT what was in them and sold grain to the Egyptians. In the land of Egypt, the famine became more and more severe. 57Every country came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because in every country the famine had also become more severe.