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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.
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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.