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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
1And it happened that after two full years#Literally “two years of days” Pharaoh dreamed, and behold, he was standing by the Nile. 2And behold, seven cows, well built and fat,#Literally “beautiful of appearance and healthy of flesh” were coming up from the Nile, and they grazed among the reeds. 3And behold, seven other cows came up after them from the Nile, ugly and gaunt,#Literally “Poor of appearance and thin of flesh” and they stood beside those#Or “the” cows on the bank of the Nile. 4And the ugly and gaunt#Literally “Poor of appearance and thin of flesh” cows ate the seven well built and fat#Literally “beautiful of appearance and healthy of flesh” cows. Then Pharaoh awoke. 5And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time, and behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were coming out of one stalk. 6And behold, seven thin ears of grain, scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them. 7And the thin ears of grain swallowed up the seven plump and full ears of grain. Then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. 8And it happened that in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called all of the magicians#Or “soothsayer priests” of Egypt, and all its wise men, and Pharaoh told his dream to them. But they had no interpretation#Literally “there was no interpretation with them” for Pharaoh. 9Then the chief of the cupbearers spoke with Pharaoh, saying, “I remember my sins today. 10Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and he put me and the chief baker in the custody of the house of the chief of the guard. 11And we dreamed a dream one night, I and he, each with a dream that had a meaning.#Literally “each according to his dream we dreamed” 12And there with us was a young man, a Hebrew servant of the chief of the guard, and we told him the dream, and he interpreted our dreams for us, each according to his dream he interpreted. 13And it happened just as he interpreted to us, so it was. He#That is, Pharaoh restored me to my office, and him#That is, the chief baker he#That is, Pharaoh hanged.” 14Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they brought him quickly from the prison. And he shaved and changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. 15Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I dreamed a dream, but there is none to interpret it. Now, I have heard concerning you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16Then Joseph answered Pharaoh saying, “It is not in my power;#Literally “besides me” God will answer concerning the well-being of Pharaoh.” 17And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now in my dream, behold, I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18and behold, seven cows, well built and fat,#Literally “beautiful of appearance and healthy of flesh” were coming up from the Nile, and they grazed among the reeds. 19And behold, seven other cows came up after them from the Nile, very ugly and gaunt#Literally “Poor of appearance and thin of flesh”—never have I seen any as them in all the land of Egypt for ugliness. 20And the thin and ugly cows ate the former seven healthy cows. 21But when they went into their bellies#Or “inner parts” it could not be known that they went into their bellies,#Or “inner parts” for their appearance was as ugly as at the beginning. Then I awoke. 22Then I saw in my dream and behold, seven ears of grain were coming out of one stalk, full and good. 23And behold, seven withered ears of grain, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them. 24And the thin ears of grain swallowed up the seven good ears of grain. And I told the magicians,#Or “soothsayer priests” but there was none to explain it to me.” 25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven good cows, they are seven years, and the seven good ears of grain, they are seven years. The dreams are one. 27And the seven thin and ugly cows coming up after them, they are seven years, and the seven empty ears of grain, scorched by the east wind, they are also seven years of famine. 28This is the word that I have spoken to Pharaoh; God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Behold, seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the whole land of Egypt. 30Then seven years of famine will arise after them, and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten. The famine will consume the land. 31Abundance in the land will not be known because of the famine that follows,#Literally “that thus afterwards” for it will be very heavy. 32Now concerning the repetition of the dream twice to Pharaoh, it is because the matter is established by God, and God will do it quickly. 33Now then, let Pharaoh select a man who is discerning and wise, and let him set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint supervisors over the land, and let him take one-fifth from the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance. 35Then let them gather all the food of these coming good years and let them pile up grain under the hand of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. 36Then the food shall be as a deposit for the land for the seven years of the famine that will be in the land of Egypt, that the land will not perish on account of the famine.”
Joseph Rises to Power
37And the plan#Or “word” was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. 38Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this in whom is the spirit of God?” 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all of this known to you there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40You shall be over my house, and to your word#Or “mouth” all my people shall submit. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his finger and put it on the finger of Joseph. And he clothed him with garments of fine linen, and he put a chain of gold around his neck. 43And he had him ride in his second chariot. And they cried out before him, “Kneel!” And Pharaoh set him over all the land of Egypt. 44Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your consent no one will lift his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.” 45And Pharaoh called the name of Joseph Zaphenath-paneah and gave him Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, as a wife. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt. 46Now Joseph was thirty years old#Literally “a son of thirty years” when he stood before Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and traveled through the whole land of Egypt. 47And the land produced a plenty in the seven years of abundance. 48And he gathered all the food of the seven years which occurred in the land of Egypt. And he stored the food in the cities. The food of the field that surrounded each city he stored in its midst. 49And Joseph piled up grain like the sand of the sea in great abundance until he stopped counting it, for it could not be counted.#Literally “there was no number” 50Before the years of famine came, Asenath, daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore two sons to him. 51And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh, for he said, “God has caused me to forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” 52And the name of the second he called Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortune.” 53And the seven years of abundance which were in the land of Egypt came to an end. 54And the seven years of famine began to come as Joseph had said. And there was famine in all of the countries, but in the land of Egypt there was food. 55And when all the land of Egypt was hungry the people cried out to Pharaoh for food. And Pharaoh said to all the land of Egypt, “Go to Joseph; what he says to you, you must do.” 56And the famine was over the whole land, and Joseph opened all the storehouses#Hebrew “that which was in them” and sold food to the Egyptians. And the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57And every land came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, for the famine was severe in every land.