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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
1After two full years Pharaoh had a dream. He dreamed he was standing by the Nile River. 2Suddenly, seven nice-looking, well-fed cows came up from the river and began to graze among the reeds. 3Seven other cows came up from the river behind them. These cows were sickly and skinny. They stood behind the first seven cows on the riverbank. 4The cows that were sickly and skinny ate the seven nice-looking, well-fed cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5He fell asleep again and had a second dream. Seven good, healthy heads of grain were growing on a single stalk. 6Seven other heads of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted behind them. 7The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven full, healthy heads. Then Pharaoh woke up. It was only a dream.
8In the morning he was so upset that he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could tell him what they meant.
9Then the chief cupbearer  #41:9 A cupbearer was a trusted royal official who ensured that the king’s drink was not poisoned. spoke to Pharaoh, “I remember a promise I failed to keep. 10Some time ago when Pharaoh was angry with his servants, he confined me and the chief baker to the captain of the guard’s prison. 11We both had dreams the same night. Each dream had its own meaning. 12A young Hebrew, a slave of the captain of the guard, was with us. We told him our dreams, and he told each of us what they meant. 13What he told us happened: Pharaoh restored me to my position, but he hung the baker on a pole.”
14Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and immediately he was brought from the prison. After he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came in front of Pharaoh.
15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can tell me what it means. I heard that when you are told a dream, you can say what it means.”
16Joseph answered Pharaoh, “I can’t, but God can give Pharaoh the answer that he needs.”
17Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile. 18Suddenly, seven nice-looking, well-fed cows came up from the river and began to graze among the reeds. 19Seven other cows came up behind them. These cows were scrawny, very sick, and thin. I’ve never seen such sickly cows in all of Egypt! 20The thin, sickly cows ate up the seven well-fed ones. 21Even though they had eaten them, no one could tell they had eaten them. They looked just as sick as before. Then I woke up.
22“In my second dream I saw seven good, full heads of grain growing on a single stalk. 23Seven other heads of grain, withered, thin, and scorched by the east wind, sprouted behind them. 24The thin heads of grain swallowed the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but no one could tell me what it meant.”
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh had the same dream twice. God has told Pharaoh what he’s going to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years. It’s all the same dream. 27The seven thin, sickly cows that came up behind them are seven years. The seven empty heads of grain scorched by the east wind are also seven years. Seven years of famine are coming.
28“It’s just as I said to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what he’s going to do. 29Seven years are coming when there will be plenty of food in Egypt. 30After them will come seven years of famine. People will forget that there was plenty of food in Egypt, and the famine will ruin the land. 31People won’t remember that there once was plenty of food in the land, because the coming famine will be so severe. 32The reason Pharaoh has had a recurring dream is because the matter has been definitely decided by God, and he will do it very soon.
Joseph Advises Pharaoh
33“Pharaoh should look for a wise and intelligent man and put him in charge of Egypt. 34Make arrangements to appoint supervisors over the land to take a fifth of Egypt’s harvest during the seven good years. 35Have them collect all the food during these good years and store up grain under Pharaoh’s control, to be kept for food in the cities. 36This food will be a reserve supply for our country during the seven years of famine that will happen in Egypt. Then the land will not be ruined by the famine.”
37Pharaoh and all his servants liked the idea. 38So Pharaoh asked his servants, “Can we find anyone like this—a man who has God’s Spirit in him?”
39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Because God has let you know all this, there is no one as wise and intelligent as you. 40You will be in charge of my palace, and all my people will do what you say. I will be more important than you, only because I’m Pharaoh.”
41Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I now put you in charge of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring and put it on Joseph’s finger. He had Joseph dressed in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43He had him ride in the chariot of the second-in-command. Men ran ahead of him and shouted, “Make way!” Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of Egypt.
44He also said to Joseph, “Even though I am Pharaoh, no one anywhere in Egypt will do anything without your permission.” 45Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenathpaneah and gave him Asenath as his wife. She was the daughter of Potiphera, priest from the city of On. Joseph traveled around Egypt.
Joseph Serves Pharaoh
46Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh (the king of Egypt). He left Pharaoh and traveled all around Egypt. 47During the seven good years the land produced large harvests. 48Joseph collected all the food grown in Egypt during those seven years and put this food in the cities. In each city he put the food from the fields around it. 49Joseph stored up grain in huge quantities like the sand on the seashore. He had so much that he finally gave up keeping any records because he couldn’t measure it all.
50Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons by Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest from the city of On. 51Joseph named his firstborn son Manasseh [He Helps Me Forget], because God helped him forget all his troubles and all about his father’s family. 52He named the second son Ephraim [Blessed Twice With Children], because God gave him children in the land where he had suffered.
53The seven years when there was plenty of food in Egypt came to an end. 54Then the seven years of famine began as Joseph had said they would. All the other countries were experiencing famine. Yet, there was food in Egypt. 55When everyone in Egypt began to feel the effects of the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. But Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph! Do what he tells you!”
56When the famine had spread all over the country, Joseph opened all the storehouses  #41:56 Greek, Syriac; Masoretic Text “all that was in them.” and sold grain to the Egyptians. He did this because the famine was severe in Egypt. 57The whole world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, since the famine was so severe all over the world.